Learn How to Build Your Mass Tort Practice through Available Co-Counsel Opportunities
Wed, Oct 6, 2021 · 2:00 PM
ABOUT THIS WEBINAR
This co-presented webinar will highlight how Cory Watson is helping its clients navigate recoveries for injuries related to Philips CPAP, Talcum Powder, Benzene Sunscreen Cancer, Hernia Mesh, Zantac, and Xelijanz.
The webinar will discuss:
- Tort Introduction
- The Litigation and Phase of the Tort
- Co-Counsel Opportunity and Case Settlement Value
CPAP: Philips CPAP/BiPAP Respirator Litigation
On June 30th, 2021, the U.S. FDA issued an alert to the public that the Philips Respironics BiPAP and CPAP ventilators have been recalled due to potential health risks. The recall is due to a special material that is used in making these machines called PE-PUR foam (polyester-based polyurethane that is used inside the machine around the motor to dampen the sound coming from the device. This PE-PUR foam can either off-gas or break down into particles that the user may ingest or inhale and cause serious harm. PE-PUR off-gassing can result in toxic and carcinogenic chemicals which the user ultimately breathes in.
The science surrounding the exposure is still developing. At this time, our firm is accepting cases where the potential client has at least 6 months of exposure from using one of the recalled devices and has a wide range of injuries including:
• Cancer: Leukemia, Breast, Lymphatic, Liver, Nasal, NHL, Lung, Brain, Multiple Myeloma, Prostate, Bladder, Testicular, Stomach, Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma, Blood, Kidney, Spleen
• Non-Cancer: Asthma, Pulmonary Edema, Pulmonary Fibrosis, Other Lung Disease, Hyper or Hypothryoid Disease, Liver Disease/Damage, Kidney Disease/Damage
This litigation is in the very early stages. There is a JPML consolidation hearing on September 30th at which the panel will hear arguments from the parties on whether to coordinate the lawsuits, and if so, which federal district and judge should handle the cases for pretrial discovery. State court litigation options are being explored. With over two million affected recalled machines and such a wide range of injuries, this litigation is looking like a big one.
Talcum Powder The talcum powder litigation has been ongoing for years. There are two primary injuries: ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. The latest count of ovarian cancer talcum powder lawsuits in the MDL is 34,490, which makes it the second largest MDL in the country today.
The American Cancer Society estimates that over 21,000 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer in 2021, so there are still ample opportunities for new cases, although that will not always be the case. Johnson & Johnson stopped selling its talc based Baby Powder in the United States in May of 2020. While the latency period for onset of ovarian cancer after talcum exposure could be as long as twenty years, the withdrawal of the product from the market will put an eventual bookend on the litigation.
The primary current concern is the threat of bankruptcy. Johnson & Johnson is said to be considering using Texas's “divisive merger” law, which allows a company to split into at least two entities. For J&J, that could create a new entity housing talc liabilities that would then file for bankruptcy to halt litigation. The maneuver is known among legal experts as a Texas two-step bankruptcy, a strategy other companies facing asbestos litigation have used in recent years with relative success.
Benzene is a known human carcinogen, and there is no safe level of benzene exposure. In May 2021, an independent laboratory tested hundreds of sunscreen lotions and sprays and detected high levels of benzene (>3x the FDA limit) in several well-known brands, including Neutrogena, CVS Health, and Aveeno. Because of this testing, on July 14, 2021, J&J recalled most of its Neutrogena and Aveeno spray sunscreens from U.S. stores. We are looking for individuals diagnosed with mostly blood/bone marrow disorders including many types of leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma after regular use of one of these sunscreens known to contain benzene.
We are not aware of any filed personal injury cases yet, just a consumer class action case so far. We already have several cases for long-time users of Neutrogena or Aveeno spray products that have now been diagnosed with a blood or bone marrow cancer, so we’re actively evaluating filing options right now and intend to be heavily involved in pushing these cases forward. If successful, case values should be relatively high because these types of cancers are particularly devastating and often carry a poor prognosis.
Xeljanz is a JAK inhibitor sold by Pfizer that is approved to treat various autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. Xeljanz first came on the market in November 2012, and unlike most drugs that treat these diseases, Xeljanz is an oral therapy rather than an injection or infusion. Xeljanz brought in $1.7 billion in US sales in 2020 and is expected to have an even higher total in 2021, but recent results from a post-marketing safety study have shown that JAK inhibitors are far less safe than the prior class of drugs used to treat these conditions. The FDA has now required a black box warning for blood clots, major adverse cardiovascular events, and cancer for Xeljanz and two other similar drugs.
This is also an emerging mass tort given that the black box warning was just updated on September 1. Since Xeljanz is made by Pfizer, state court litigation could be a possibility in New York or more likely a federal court push. Case values will likely be more variable here, with cancer cases or ones with a more serious cardiovascular issue or death getting higher amounts than someone who had a blood clot that resolved without extensive treatment.
Wed, Oct 6, 2021 · 2:00 PM
Eastern Time (US & Canada)
Jon Conlin is a Principal with Cory Watson, based in Birmingham, AL. A Birmingham native with deep Alabama roots, Mr. Conlin earned a bachelor’s degree from Samford University before earning a JD from the University of Alabama School of Law. A...
Stephen Hunt, Jr. is a Principal with Cory Watson, based in Birmingham, AL. Stephen earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and his J.D. from Cumberland School of Law. Since he started practicing law, Stephen has...