Americans are taking more prescription drugs than ever, with 55 percent of people regularly taking a prescription medicine, according to a 2017 Consumer Reports survey. Out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States, many are conditions that may arise because of faulty medicine patients take. Sometimes, the prescriptions drugs and over-the-counter medicines that are supposed to help people are the ones that actually hurt them.
Because pharmaceutical companies are businesses, they don’t always have consumers’ interests at the forefront. Unsafe drugs may be rushed to market. A lack of testing may put users at risk. Even medicines with known dangerous side effects may still be distributed, all so that drug companies make a profit.
If you or a loved one has experienced serious physical injury or even died because of a dangerous prescription drug or over-the-counter medicine, here is what to be aware of with pharmaceutical litigation.
What Is Pharmaceutical Litigation?
Pharmaceutical litigation involves pursuing a claim against a drug manufacturer that has harmed an innocent victim. Often, there is more than one party involved in these types of claims, and there may be up to thousands of people who may have experienced injuries and serious illnesses because of a type of medicine.
Sometimes, serious injuries or illnesses from medicine can occur long after the medicine was taken. These types of lawsuits require investigation, medical expertise and an advocate who will make sure the credible experts needed are contacted and can provide testimony on behalf of a client.
Examples of Pharmaceutical Litigation
There are several types of pharmaceutical litigation the Birmingham pharmaceutical lawyer team at Pittman, Dutton & Hellums is currently involved with. Here are a couple examples.
Mylan EpiPen Auto-Injector Lawsuit
The Mylan EpiPen and EpiPen, Jr., are auto-injector devices used in emergency treatments for life-threatening allergic reactions, like anaphylaxis. Hundreds of complaints have been brought forward claiming the devices have failed to activate properly, resulting in severe injuries and, in some cases, patient deaths.
Despite complaints, the manufacturer, Meridian Medical Technologies, Inc., is accused of failing to conduct a timely investigation of the cause of the faulty products. Only after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration began an investigation did Meridian recall the products.
Tasigna Cancer Medication Lawsuit
A leukemia drug called Tasigna (also known as nilotinib) has been linked to coronary artery disease, serious vascular side effects and patient death. Its use has also been associated with life-threatening kidney issues, limb amputation and heart problems.
Tasigna’s manufacturer, Novartis International AG, is currently facing lawsuits by patients claiming despite knowing these risks, Novartis failed to conduct adequate medical studies.
These are just two current pharmaceutical lawsuits in progress. Reasons why a pharmaceutical lawsuit may be filed include:
- The pharmaceutical manufacturer was negligent in testing
- The pharmaceutical manufacturer knew risks of a product but released it anyway, or without adequate warnings
- The pharmaceutical manufacturer ignored patient or medical provider complaints about a product and failed to investigate issues
- The pharmaceutical manufacturer knowingly used harmful and toxic ingredients without full disclosure to providers and patients
- The conditions in which a pharmaceutical drug was manufactured were unsafe and put the drug’s purity at risk
When there is evidence that a pharmaceutical manufacturer was negligent and put patients in danger for injuries or death, a claim can help secure compensation for victims and protect other patients.
What Are Warning Signs of Pharmaceutical Negligence?
With any pharmaceutical drug a patient takes, the patient should discuss all risk factors thoroughly with their medical provider, especially when the patient is taking other kinds of prescription drugs or has a noteworthy medical history. Upon correctly taking medication, some warning signs of pharmaceutical negligence include:
- The patient has developed health issues such as organ injuries, liver damage or respiratory problems
- The patient took the prescribed or over-the-counter medicine exactly as directed yet developed a serious condition
- The medical issue that developed was not part of the warning on the prescribed or over-the-counter medicine
Patients who have experienced complications from medicine should contact their physician immediately to get a recommendation about whether or not to continue use of the drug. The physician can help to prescribe a replacement to keep the patient safe.
The patient should also contact a pharmaceutical lawyer. Drug companies unfortunately do not always put the patients’ health and safety before their own profit. Some companies that are facing multiple lawsuits or that want the cases to go away quickly will offer a settlement that is far too low compared to the suffering of the victim or victims.
A pharmaceutical attorney will be able to fight big pharmaceutical companies and help victims obtain compensation for damages. Most pharmaceutical lawyers, like the Pittman, Dutton & Hellums team, will offer a free no-obligation consultation. Please contact us if we can help you.
Perhaps in no other litigation response letter have the words, “We wish you the best, but consider yourselves blocked” been written – until now. Bumble, a dating app with swiping features pioneered by Tinder, cheekily responded to a March 2018 patent infringement lawsuit filed by Match Group, Tinder’s parent company, using terminology commonly seen in the dating world. The letter is posted on Bumble’s website, amid discussion that Match’s failed attempts to buy Bumble is what sparked the lawsuit.
Match claims Bumble stole its intellectual property, the patent for which was filed in 2013 and granted in 2017. Two weeks after Match filed suit against Bumble, Bumble filed a separate lawsuit against Match for improper obtainment of trade secrets. The lawsuit asks for a cool $400 million from Match. Here are the details and the implications for both companies.
Intimidation by Lawsuit?
In Bumble’s lawsuit, the company alleges Match only filed a lawsuit after learning several other companies were also interested in purchasing Bumble. As well, during the acquisition discussions with Bumble, Bumble alleges Match fraudulently requested trade secret information in order to push the talks along. In February this year, Tinder introduced a feature similar to Bumble, giving women the option to choose whether or not they want to be the ones to initiate a conversation on the dating app.
The new lawsuit also mentions that Match’s initial lawsuit may have hurt Bumble’s chances of being acquired by other companies. Given that Bumble CEO and founder Whitney Wolfe Herd was an early employee of Tinder and previously sued former Tinder CMO Justin Mateen for sexual harassment and sexual discrimination, the new lawsuits are bound to get complicated.
As you can see from both lawsuits, there are several commercial litigation factors at play here.
Patent infringement is when a party other than the patent creator uses a patent to create an invention without permission from the patent holder.
Damage to Business Reputation
Falsely accusing a business of something can inhibit the company’s ability to attract investors and new clients and retain customers.
Technology disputes relate to intellectual property and the creation of technology, which is often patented. The ownership and use of certain types of technology may be called into question.
Improper Access to and Potential Use of Confidential Information
Confidential information includes trade secrets concerning operations, design and processes, which may be unlawfully used by another company that gains access to them.
With allegations on both sides that intellectual property was stolen from the other party and then used for each app, the lawsuits that have been filed here have many intricacies to address.
The Role of a Commercial Litigation Attorney
In complex cases like these, any business that believes it is a victim of intellectual property theft, patent infringement or any other type of business offense should consult with a commercial litigation attorney. Not only is the money that is sought in a lawsuit at stake, but so are the business reputation, retention of its customers and attraction of new clients.
Ways a commercial litigation attorney will work to help cases like the lawsuits between Bumble and Tinder include:
Investigating business dealings
Interviewing current and former employees
Recording depositions concerning business dealings
Reviewing documents and writing briefs
Businesses may work with in-house counsel or consult with business attorneys regularly to protect their business operations. Because there are so many people involved in commercial litigation cases and so much information to be considered, a commercial litigation team that can interview the right people and most compellingly present business dealings is vital.
How Will These Cases Affect Online Dating?
Despite high-profile lawsuits like these, online dating isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Pew Research Center reports at least 15 percent of Americans use dating apps, and IBIS World reports the dating services industry was valued at $3 billion in December 2017. In May 2018, Facebook announced its foray into dating services, with plans to release a dating feature that is tied to Facebook profiles.
While new dating apps are constantly popping up, these lawsuits are a reminder of the importance of intellectual property protection, the filing of patents for technology features, and the legality of using certain features in apps. Any business that has a former employee go to a competitor or found a competing company should also be aware of certain risks.
Regardless of what industry your business is in, connecting with a Birmingham commercial litigation attorney can keep you protected should your business face a lawsuit that could negatively affect its company.
If you’ve been in a serious accident where you experienced a personal injury, like a car crash or a slip and fall accident, you may be wondering about whether or not to contact an attorney. The good news is, with many personal injury lawyers, you can explain what happened and get a free consultation with no obligation to work with the attorney. This allows you to get to know many lawyers before deciding on the one you want to work with.
In general, the following are signs that you may be entitled to compensation for your case – in some cases, much more than an insurance company is willing to offer you.
- The other party’s negligence caused your injury
- The injury was serious enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room, hospital or multiple doctor’s visits
- The injury resulted in expensive medical bills, time missed off work or a permanent disability
- There is evidence and/or testimony that can demonstrate the fault of another party
If just one of these situations is present, you may have a personal injury case on your hands. What you may not know is that the statute of limitations in Alabama and in states throughout the country mandates the time period in which a victim can file a personal injury claim. Here’s what you should know.
What Is the Statute of Limitations in Alabama?
The statute of limitations in Alabama is a law that stipulates that victims of personal injury or the loved ones of victims who have died due to negligence have a specific amount of time in which to file a claim. The statute of limitations is in place so that offending parties do not have a legal issue that they may have to deal with for the rest of their lives, and so that victims start the legal process to gain compensation in a timely manner.
In Alabama, the statute of limitations for personal injury is two years. This is according to Alabama Code Section 6-2-38, which also states that commencement of actions must be brought within two years for negligence causing death, as well as actions of libel, slander, recovery of wages and property damage.
This means, if more than two years have passed since the date of an accident causing an injury, you will not be able to file a claim for damages for your injury. There are some cases, such as those involving medical malpractice that result in injuries long after the damaging actions were done, where a plaintiff may seek to extend the statute of limitations in accordance with the time the injury was discovered.
Benefits of Calling a Lawyer Quickly After an Accident
In addition to taking advantage of a free, no-obligation consultation, there are many advantages to contacting a Birmingham personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after a serious accident. These include:
A Lawyer Can Help with an Inaccurate Police Report
If the police report of your accident is inaccurate, including if it puts you at fault for the accident when you were solely the victim, contacting an attorney means you can get a headstart on rectifying the falsehoods.
An Attorney Can Protect Your Rights with Insurance Companies
The offending party’s insurance company will likely contact you quickly after the accident, and may pressure you into saying something you don’t want to or shouldn’t. A lawyer can prepare you for this. Also, often insurance companies will settle for far less than the victim deserves, or not offer a settlement at all. When you have significant medical bills or are missing time off work because of an injury, getting a case started with a lawyer can help you get compensated more quickly.
Working with a Lawyer Prepares You for Dealing with the Other Party
Depending on the other party that caused the accident, you may be facing a business with a full team of lawyers, or even a government entity with the funds to fight you. Victims can be pressured into giving away information or providing inaccurate information that helps the other party, or be bullied into taking a low settlement. Knowing what your case is worth increases your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.
When you can work with a personal injury lawyer that works on a contingency basis, like the team at Pittman, Dutton & Hellums, you have the peace of mind that the attorney is working in your best interests, since they don’t get paid unless you do. If you’ve been in a serious accident and experienced an injury, don’t delay. Contact the personal injury team at Pittman, Dutton & Hellums today for a free consultation.
If you work outside, sun exposure puts you at risk for skin cancer. Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells, which can negatively affect the functioning of other body parts.
In the United States, more people are diagnosed with skin cancer than all other forms of cancer combined, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. One in five Americans will get skin cancer by the age of 70. The diagnosis of nonmelanoma skin cancers has increased 77 percent between 1994 and 2014.
For those who work outside, working under the sun and its ultraviolet (UV) rays poses a threat. How much responsibility do employers have to keep workers safe from skin cancer? Here’s a look at skin factor risk factors and how to stay protected at work.
How Skin Cancer Develops
Most skin cancer is a result of UV radiation from sunlight or from lights in tanning beds. Because skin cancer can develop on body parts that are not exposed to UV light, as well, there may be other factors that increase skin cancer risk, such as toxic substance exposure.
There are varying types of skin cancer. Nonmelanoma skin cancer, such as basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma, occurs in cells in the skin other than melanocytes, which are the pigment-producing cells. This type of cancer is not likely to spread, is usually easily removed, and is simple to cure when detected early.
Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, causing the most fatalities. It occurs in the melanocytes, which produce melanin, or skin color. Melanoma typically begins as a mole and may spread deep into skin, affecting lymphatic vessels.
Symptoms of skin cancer include:
- Pearly or waxy bumps
- Flesh-colored or brown-colored scar-like lesions
- Firm, red nodules
- Flat lesions with a scaly, crusted surface
- Moles that change in color, size or feel, or that bleed
- Dark lesions on extremities or on mucous membranes
The earlier any type of cancer is detected by watching out for these warning signs, the quicker it can be treated and potentially removed.
Skin Cancer Risks at Work
Any exposure to the sun can put you in danger. Prolonged work hours outside require extra care. According to the National Cancer Institute, workers who work outside should protect themselves against skin cancer by:
- Avoiding sun exposure as much as possible between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Wearing long sleeves, long pants and an all-encompassing hat
- Using broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15
- Wearing sunglasses that filter UV
It is in employers’ best interests to keep workers safe. Developing skin cancer can mean time missed off work, lack of energy or sickness before detection, and in some states, workers’ compensation. It is also an employer’s legal responsibility to keep employees safe, per what is outlined in the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act. Employers should protect employees who work in the sun from skin cancer risks by:
- Limiting work hours between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as much as possible
- Providing workers with breaks in which to reapply sunscreen, at least every couple hours
- Adjusting sunscreen breaks according to the environment, since elements such as snow, altitude and glass may increase UV exposure
Employers can go above and beyond in helping workers stay safe from skin cancer risks by providing free sunscreen, uniforms that offer ample body coverage, and UV-blocking sunglasses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends that employers teach outdoor employees about UV radiation risks and the signs of overexposure.
Can an Employee Sue from Getting Skin Cancer at Work?
Each state has varying workers’ compensation laws in place to protect workers who are harmed on the job. In cases where a disease develops over time and is not a one-time accident, like skin cancer, obtaining workers’ compensation will vary from state to state. In cases where workers’ compensation does not cover skin cancer, suing for negligence is a possibility.
Some examples that might strengthen a case for negligence after developing skin cancer and working outside may include:
- An employer denies outdoor workers breaks
- An employer provides little shading
- Workers who express the need to apply or reapply sunscreen are denied by their employer
Neglecting basis employee rights and making employees work in unsafe environments may cause life-threatening illnesses like skin cancer. Consulting with a lawyer in cases like these may benefit victims.
Talking with a Birmingham workers’ compensation attorney is the best first step if you develop skin cancer and work an outside job. Your health deserves to be protected at work, and if you believe an employer has been negligent and contributed to your cancer, you may be entitled to compensation. Call (866) 722-0250 or contact Pittman, Dutton & Hellums online for a free consultation.