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Sen. Leahy to Push for Supreme Court Generic Drug Decision Reversal

Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy plans to introduce new legislation that will reverse a 2011 decision by the Supreme Court that protects generic drug manufacturers from some tort laws. Three years ago a woman sued a brand drug manufacturer for failing to warn, while last year a woman who was hurt by the generic version of the same drug, and harmed in nearly the same way, was unable to sue for failure to warn simply because the drug was a generic. The Supreme Court found that because generic manufacturers are required by federal law to use the same label as the brand name equivalent, they are protected from tort law, even if they know the label fails to warn.

According to Senator Leahy, “The Mensing decision creates a troubling inconsistency in the law with respect to prescription drugs. If a consumer takes the brand-name version of drug, she can sue the manufacturer for inadequate warnings. If the pharmacy happens to give her the generic version, she will not be compensated for her injuries. The result is a two-track system that penalizes consumers of generic drugs—even though many consumers have no control over which drug they take, because state law and their health insurance plan require them to take generics if they are available. I will introduce legislation to address this contradiction so that consumers are fully protected from harm and receive adequate warnings.” More Sen. Leahy to Push for Supreme Court Generic Drug Decision Reversal

Panel to Consider Zoloft Consolidation

Approximately 95 federally filed Zoloft birth defect lawsuits are being considered for consolidation by the U.S. Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation. The lawsuits were filed in sixteen federal district courts across the country against Pfizer, alleging the company failed to warn physicians and consumers about the increased risks of birth defects when Zoloft is taken by pregnant women.

According to the complaints, taking Zoloft during pregnancy can cause serious and potentially life threatening injuries to babies, including heart, lung, abdominal, and cranial defects and malformations, spina bifida, and persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborns (PPHN), as well as other defects and injuries. More Panel to Consider Zoloft Consolidation

NJ NuvaRing Bellwethers Set

New Jersey state court Judge Brian Martinotti expects nine NuvaRing bellwether trials to be ready to be heard on February 4, 2013. Judge Martinotti is overseeing approximately 125 cases in the Bergen County Superior Court of New Jersey.

Federal Judge Rodney Sippel is overseeing approximately 820 federally filed NuvaRing lawsuits consolidated in multidistrict litigation in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Judge Sippel has not yet set a date for the trials to begin. More NJ NuvaRing Bellwethers Set

QB Mark Rypien Files Lawsuit against NFL over Concussions

Former Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien and 125 other former players have filed a mass-tort lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the NFL over “repeated traumatic injuries” sustained during their careers.

According to the lawsuit, the NFL was aware of the risks of repeat traumatic injuries, but failed to disclose the information, and continued to mislead players regarding concussion injuries, which has caused permanent brain damage or neurological disorders, the Washington Times reports. More QB Mark Rypien Files Lawsuit against NFL over Concussions

Fracking Fluid Secrecy Prompts Environmentalist Lawsuit

Environmental groups Wyoming Outdoor Council, Earthworks, Powder River Basin Resource Council, and OMB Watch has filed a lawsuit against the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission alleging the commission denied requests to allow the public to review ingredients in hydraulic fracturing fluids used in the state. Wyoming has an open records law that requires oil and gas companies to divulge the components in their fracking fluids to state officials. The law does not require public disclosure of trade secrets, which, the groups say, is how the ingredients have been kept out of public eye.

Earthjustice attorney Laura Beaton said, “The law requires that a company provide detailed support for its claim. Unfortunately, the commission has approved almost every trade secret request it has received regardless of how unsupported or overly broad these trade secret requests are,” The Ranger reported. More Fracking Fluid Secrecy Prompts Environmentalist Lawsuit

Whistleblower Lawsuit Accuses Takeda of Hiding Actos Bladder Cancer Link

Former Takeda safety consultant Dr. Helen Ge filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Takeda alleging the company failed to report bladder cancer and Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) events to the FDA for Actos, a type 2 diabetes drug. U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor has ordered the whistleblower case unsealed.

According to the lawsuit, Ge was met with resistance when she attempted to report bladder cancer as related to Actos, and was terminated from Takeda when she complained about the under-reporting of CHF events in relation to Actos. More Whistleblower Lawsuit Accuses Takeda of Hiding Actos Bladder Cancer Link

Biomet Settles Criminal and Civil Allegations for $22.7 million

The Justice Department and the Security and Exchange Commission has announced that medical device manufacturer Biomet Inc. will settle investigations into allegations that for over eight years, the company bribed government doctors in China, Brazil, and Argentina to win business.

According to the terms of the settlement, Biomet will pay criminal penalties of $17.3 million; however, the company will not undergo criminal prosecution as long it implements strict controls to prevent bribery. The company must also hire an expert who will monitor its activities for 18 months. Biomet will resolve SEC civil charges by paying $5.4 million in restitution. More Biomet Settles Criminal and Civil Allegations for $22.7 million

High Court Refuses to Hear Tobacco Appeal

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co will not be able to appeal a 2009 verdict in which Mathilde Martin was awarded $3.3 million in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages for the death of her husband from lung cancer due to smoking Reynolds’ Lucky Strike cigarettes.

Reynolds appealed the verdict arguing that the company’s constitutional rights under due process had been violated and that the ruling could impact the thousands of cases against tobacco companies pending in Florida courts. More High Court Refuses to Hear Tobacco Appeal

Wal-Mart Subcontractor Sued over Overtime Wages

Employees of Schneider Logistics Transloading & Distribution Inc., have filed a class action lawsuit against the company alleging it routinely failed to pay overtime to its workers.

According to the lawsuit, Schneider, which has warehouses across the country, required employees at three Mira Loma warehouses to give up their right to overtime wages. In a deal signed in 2008, employees were to work a 40-hour week through four 10-hour days. However, the lawsuit says the company did not follow the deal, instead assigning hours that ranged from 20-hours to 100-hours a week. More Wal-Mart Subcontractor Sued over Overtime Wages

Whistleblower Lawsuit Filed Against MetLife and Prudential for Failing to Pay Benefits

A whistleblower lawsuit filed last year on behalf of the state of Minnesota accuses the two life insurance companies of failing to pay the policies of 600 deceased policyholders from Minnesota.

The lawsuit accuses Prudential Financial Inc., and MetLife Inc., of violating the Minnesota False Claims Act, and seeks over $230 million in damages. The lawsuit is one of several filed by Total Asset Recovery Services on behalf of various states. An attorney for the private investigation company said the insurance fraud “committed on the states is in the billions of dollars,” and described the number of victims of the fraud as “mindboggling.” More Whistleblower Lawsuit Filed Against MetLife and Prudential for Failing to Pay Benefits