Friday, April 11, 2014

Tort Liability for Diabetes Drug Actos

This week a federal jury decided that drug companies Takeda Pharmaceutical and Eli Lilly should pay $9 billion dollars in punitive damages for hiding the significant risk of cancer to patients taking Actos.  Actos is sometimes prescribed to help control diabetes and the jury found that Takeda knew the drug had serious side effects including heart failure and bladder cancer. The drug has been a huge income producer for Takeda with sales of $397 billion. 

For more information check out this story in the Wall Street Journal.  Actos Tort Liability

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

General Motors and Personal Injury Lawsuits

The CEO of General Motors, Mary Barra, has been testifying before a House Subcommittee regarding GM's ignition switch recall.  Members of Congress are interested to find out why it took GM so long to initiate a recall of affected vehicles.

The years of the vehicles in question were initially designated as 2005 to 2007.  However, GM later expanded the recall to include a much wider range of vehicles, models and years.  In certain circumstances, including a roll-over accident, the key may turn the vehicle ignition out of the "run" position.  In this instance, the air bags of the car may not deploy causing personal injury or death.  

Although vehicle recalls occur frequently, this particular recall is interesting because of GM's delayed reaction time when identifying the issue and reporting it to the federal government.  Also, GM emerged from bankruptcy in July of 2009.  GM is legally immune to product liability lawsuits before this time. 

GM is now under pressure from Congress to pay for many of the claims it may hold immunity to.  Underlying immunity is also being challenged in a number of personal injury lawsuits.  Also, the Justice Department is investigating whether GM committed bankruptcy fraud by not disclosing the vehicle defects when it went through bankruptcy.

For more information take a look at the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee website.  U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee