Defective Pharmaceuticals & Medical Devices – Examples of our Results

Defective ASR Hip — $8.3 Million Verdict

Our medical product liability team obtained the only jury verdict to date in favor of a patient in a DePuy ASR case. Working with lawyers from two Southern California firms, our medical device lawyers conducted a six-week trial in Los Angeles resulting in this multimillion-dollar jury award.

The patient was a 65-year-old Vietnam veteran who had four years of problems and symptoms with the hip. DePuy claimed that his hip problems were due to surgical error by his doctor and an underlying infection introduced through a chemotherapy port for an unrelated cancer.

Defective Surgical Tool – $5.1 Million Settlement

Our catastrophic injury team obtained a settlement in the amount of $5.1 million on behalf of a 54-year-old woman who suffered major complications after undergoing treatment for esophageal reflux disease. During the procedure, a newly designed surgical instrument malfunctioned. After the surgery, our client developed massive sepsis, heterotrophic ossification and paralysis. As a result of the sepsis, she also suffered major organ failure and coma and was left in chronic pain.

She ultimately lost normal function in her ankles, knees, hips, shoulders and elbows. Although it was claimed that the device complied with all Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, our attorneys demonstrated that the design of the surgical tool was defective. The recovery included compensation for medical bills, past and future, as well as lost wages and damages for pain and suffering.

Dangerous Diabetes Drug – $2.5 Million Settlement

Our pharmaceutical injury lawyers recovered $2.5 million on behalf of a 63-year-old Sacramento woman who was prescribed a diabetes drug that resulted in liver failure and the need for a liver transplant. The drug had been approved by the FDA, but was later recalled. The drug maker initially claimed that the drug was safe. However, our attorneys were able to demonstrate that the manufacturer knew about problems with impaired liver function, but never adequately warned doctors or the public about this side effect and limited any mention of possible liver damage to the "fine print" on its package insert.

Because of the manufacturer's failure to tell prescribing doctors about the problem, our client's physicians were unaware that her liver failure was due to the drug, delaying an accurate diagnosis for almost six months, by which time her condition had become life–threatening.

Defective Breast Implants — Multiple Settlements

Our product liability group represented a class of women whose silicone breast implants failed, leaking silicone and causing connective tissue diseases, autoimmune disorders and lupus. The total amount of each client's settlement differed depending upon her age, the nature and extent of her disability, whether she required surgery, the amount of her medical expenses, whether she was left with cosmetic disfigurement, and whether it was likely she would require future medical care.

Our drug liability lawyers demonstrated that the makers of silicone breast implants (including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dow Corning, McGhan Medical and Surgi-Tech) knew or should have known that the plastic implant capsules were likely to break down and leak silicone gel and that free silicone would move within the body with the potential of causing great harm.

Vioxx — Heart Attack Settlements

Our product liability team settled cases involving Vioxx, an osteoarthritis drug intended to relieve pain and suffering, but which, in fact, caused great harm by virtue of the drug's propensity to cause heart valve injury, heart attacks and strokes.

Defective Urology Surgery Scalpel — $1.4 Million Dollar Settlement

We negotiated a $1,409,999 settlement on behalf of a 41-year-old plaintiff who underwent a urethrotomy to dissect scar tissue. During the procedure, the tip of the surgical instrument fractured. The surgeon used a surgical grasper to retrieve the piece of the fractured blade. He then attached a second blade and attempted to cut through the scar tissue once again, only to have the second blade fracture as well.

This time, the fracture fragment immigrated behind the pubic symphysis, making an open procedure and wide exploration necessary to remove the broken piece. The retrieval surgery lasted more than five hours. The plaintiff suffered significant blood loss intraoperatively. His kidney function deteriorated and he required dialysis following surgery. He remained in the hospital for three weeks. The surgical wounds behind the scrotum and abdomen took months to heal, requiring the plaintiff to miss work for almost one year.

Dangerous Nutritional Supplement – $2 Million Settlement

Walkup successfully resolved claims against a store and product distributor for more than $2 million on behalf of a man who purchased over-the-counter body-building supplements that destroyed his liver. The injured plaintiff wanted to join the armed forces, but was 10 pounds below the weight threshold for his height. He spoke to a clerk at the retailer who sold him a stack of five body-building supplements.

The plaintiff took the pills as the clerk instructed, gained weight and passed the physical. However, he became violently ill the night before his ship date. ER doctors determined he had no liver function and he was rushed for an emergency liver transplant. A toxicologist determined that the supplements contained misbranded and illegal drugs that were responsible for the liver damage.

Vaginal Mesh – Multiple Confidential Settlements

Walkup Melodia attorneys tried the first vaginal mesh case in California in 2008. Since that time, the number of claims brought by injured women against pelvic mesh makers nationwide has skyrocketed. We have resolved claims against mesh manufactures for women living in California, Oregon and Washington. Our medical product liability team has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of women injured by these inadequately tested and defectively designed urinary incontinence devices.

L-Tryptophan — Multiple Settlements From $100,000 To More Than $1 Million

Our product liability team represented 23 injured consumers who had taken the over-the-counter supplement L–Tryptophan. They developed a wide variety of problems, including elevated blood pressure, stroke and heart disease.

Defective Knee Prosthesis — Multiple Settlements

Our medical device lawyers represented 13 residents of a single town who all experienced knee prosthesis failure. The national corporation that made the knee joints attempted to defend the claim on the basis that they were not defective and that the cluster of failures was unrelated to any problem with design or material handling.

Our attorneys hired experts to prove that the raw materials used in the joints had not been correctly sterilized and, as a result, the components were prone to deterioration and failure and would require premature replacement. Our clients recovered the cost of the unnecessary surgeries and follow-up care and general damages for pain and suffering. The settlement amount for each client varied depending upon the nature and extent of the disability, the age of the injured client, the amount of out-of-pocket expenses, and the extent and nature of probable future medical care.

Defective Heart Stent — Confidential Settlement

Our attorneys represented the surviving wife and children of a man who died after undergoing heart catheterization using a recently introduced stent. The stent (which is currently under investigation by the FDA) caused a massive blood clot, which in turn resulted in a fatal myocardial infarction.

Our medical device team was able to find experts in the field who demonstrated that the manufacturer's premarket investigation and testing were inadequate and that the instructions given to operating surgeons regarding the use of blood thinning medications in association with the device were not strong enough to adequately educate prescribing physicians.