Category: Class Action Suits

Class action suits enable you to join with other injured victims of negligence in order to create a stronger claim in your favour. There are a number of benefits associated with class action suits, although the time it takes to resolve you claim may be extended as other people join your action and their cases are assessed. The most common class action suits are those concerning recalled faulty products and drugs which produce side-effects, but it is worth asking your solicitor before commencing any personal injury claim for compensation if there is a class action suit already in progress which may be beneficial for you to join. You can find out more about class action suits by speaking directly with a solicitor on our freephone Solicitors Advice Bureau.

Compensation Payment to Donegal Widow Under ‘Lost at Sea’ Scheme

A Donegal widow, Winifred Byrne, who had secured the Ombudsman’s support for State compensation over exclusion from a Government scheme has finally been sent a cheque for €245,570 in Lost at Sea compensation.

Bruckless resident Ms Byrne has been awarded an ex-gratia payment from Minister for Marine Michael Creed, after a 14-year dispute when she was left out og the “Lost at Sea scheme” to support families who died while working at sea.

Ms Byrne’s lost her husband Francis and her 16-year-old son Jimmy, when they were lost along with three other crewmen after their fishing boat Skifjord perished in 1981.

In 2001, then marine minister Frank Fahey initiated a limited scheme to encourage families who had lost vessels between 1980 and 1989 to stay in fishing, by awarding compensatory “tonnage” .

Despite there being 67 applications through the scheme, only six were selected and 75% of the funds paid were to constituents of the then Minister for the Marine Mr Frank Fahey.

As the scheme had not been widely advertised the Byrne family submitted a complaint in 2004 after their late application had been turned own. Ombudsman Ms Emily O’Reilly found in their favour in December 2009, stating the scheme had been improperly operated. Despite the report being presented to the Oireachtas committee on agriculture in 2010.

Danny Byrne said that his mother had received the payment, and paid tribute to Minister for the Marine Mr Michael Creed, and to former Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins who had championed the family’s cause over the years.

Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, “I want to extend my congratulations to the Byrne family for the sheer determination and perseverance they exhibited in seeing through their campaign against successive Irish Governments on the Lost at Sea scheme.  I am delighted that they have now finally received the compensation that was legislatively owed to them and hope that this will close what I am sure has been a difficult, and at times frustrating, case.

“The Byrnes, who tragically lost two members of their family, three crew members and their entire livelihood had been fighting against their exclusion from the scheme for over 3 decades.”

Sanofi Acknowledges Valproate Birth Defect Claims

The drug manufacturer Sanofi has issued a statement acknowledging the valproate birth defect claims being made against the company in a French class action.

The drug responsible for prompting the valproate birth defects claims is Depakine – an anti-epilepsy drug that has been available in Ireland since 1983 under the trade name Epilim. Epilim contains an active ingredient – sodium valproate – that stabilises electrical activity in the brain and has therefore also been prescribed for bipolar disorder, migraine and other chronic pain conditions.

When taken by pregnant mothers, the risk exists that the sodium valproate will be absorbed as valproic acid in the bloodstream and affect the health of their unborn child. In Ireland, children born after being exposed to valproic acid can suffer from spina bifida, autism and a range of congenital and development issues under the umbrella term “foetal valproate syndrome”.

The risks were first identified in France in the 1980s – where Depakine had been prescribed since 1967 – but no formal announcement was made to the medical profession by Sanofi until 2006. Even then, few medical professionals were aware of the side effects until France´s social affairs inspectorate – IGAS – investigated valproate birth defect claims in the Rhone-Alpes region last year.

IGAS´ research revealed that around 450 babies in the region had been born with congenital defects between 2006 and 2014 after being exposed to valproic acid. The report called for a warning to be printed on the outside of each box of Epilim advising pregnant women not to take the drug, and also promoted a much deeper study of the risks by France’s National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM).

The results of that study were recently released following an investigation into the health of 8,701 children, born to women known to have taken Depakine while pregnant between 2007 and 2014. The results revealed that up to 4,100 children had been born with “severe malformations” and many hundreds more had died in the womb or been delivered stillborn.

Following the release of the study, Sanofi issued a statement in which the company said: “We are aware of the painful situation confronting the families of children showing difficulties that may have a link with the anti-epileptic treatment of their mother during pregnancy.” However, the statement has not satisfied parents of the children affected by the side effects of Epilim, and they have started a class action of valproate birth defect claims to recover compensation for their children.

In Ireland, Epilim is still sold without a warning in large type on the front of the packet, and it is not known how many children have been born with birth defects due to being exposed to valproic acid. If a member of your family has been affected by this tragic situation, and you would like to know more about valproate birth defect claims, you should speak with a solicitor at the first possible opportunity.

Court Case for Faulty DePuy ASR Hip Replacements Delayed Once Again

The Ohio multidistrict litigation court case for the faulty DePuy ASR hip replacements has been delayed once again and is now rescheduled to start on September 24th.

U.S. District Judge David A. Katz rescheduled the start of the first court case for the faulty DePuy ASR hip replacements to September 24th to allow both parties additional time for discovery and the consideration of other legal matters after the substitution of Ann McCracken in place of the original plaintiff, Faye Dorney-Madgitz.

The reason for the substitution is still unclear and McCracken -v- DePuy was originally scheduled to be the second of the ‘bellwether’ court cases to be heard in a series of Federal cases which will determine how juries will perceive the relative strengths and weaknesses of each case. It is not yet known whether Dorney-Madgitz -v- DePuy is still intender to be heard as a bellwether case, or when that might be.

Ann McCracken made her DePuy injury compensation claim in March 2011; alleging that she suffered a dislocated hip due to metallosis from the DePuy implant damaging the soft tissues around her hip. Ann received her DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip replacement system in August 2009, but had to undergo revision surgery in January 2011 after her hip dislocated.

The 57-year-old single mother from Rochester in New York claims that when her orthopaedic surgeon removed her DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Hip Replacement System he saw evidence of metallosis which had killed healthy tissue around the implant.

Ann had to undergo further surgery in October 2011 to insert a device restricting the movement of her hip, which has decreased her mobility still further and which will result in her present hip replacement system wearing out quicker than normal – resulting in more operations in the future.

Ann´s case is also to be decided without the DePuy hip replacement recall of August 2010 being referred to in court, after Judge Katz ruled that Ann´s injury “began with the initial implementation” and agreed that, to mention the recall during the court case for the faulty DePuy ASR hip replacements, might deter other companies from voluntarily withdrawing potentially harmful medical devices in the future.

The relative strengths and weaknesses of the plaintiffs´ claims and DePuy Orthopaedic´s defence will be evaluated during the first court cases of the multidistrict litigation, to see if an acceptable yardstick can be determined for the settlement of the other 7,800 claims attached to this court case for the faulty DePuy ASR hip replacements.

If no yardstick can be established – or negative verdicts are delivered by the jurors – the outstanding claims will be referred back to the U.S. District Courts in which they were originally filed, and each will have to be heard individually. This would also be the case in Ireland, where plaintiffs who have served notice of cases against Johnson & Johnson, DePuy Orthopaedics and the Health Service Executive may have to pursue legal action to resolve each court case for the faulty DePuy ASR hip replacements.

Tassimo Recall Likely to Lead to Burns Injury Compensation Claims

Claims for compensation for burns are likely to follow the recall of the Tassimo coffee maker in the United States and Canada, after the makers acknowledged that at least 160 cases of burn injuries and scalding were attributable to a design fault.

More than 1.7 million Tassimo coffee machines have been taken from store shelves in North America after the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that the machine´s T-disc – the plastic pot containing the coffee – could explode and shower bystanders with scalding water. Thirty-seven occurences of second-degree burns have been reported to the CPSC, including the case of a two-year-old girl who was hospitalised after suffering burns to her face.

The Tassimo coffee makers, which are still for in the UK, have been marketed worldwide since 2008, and the Tassimo coffee maker recall has been extended to include 4 million Gevalia, Maxwell House and Nabob espresso T-discs still believed to be in circulation in American grocery stores. The recalled discs are for sale in packets of eight and sixteen and, like the Tassimo coffee making machines, are still available in stores in the UK.

Compensation claims for Tassimo burns are likely to be made against BSH Home Appliances Corporation – the makers of the Tassimo coffee makers – who are located in Irvine, California. Burn injury compensation for a burn from a Tassimo coffee maker should also account for any permanent scarring resulting from a Tassimo coffee maker burn and – especially when a child has been scalded by a Tassimo coffee maker – consideration should be made for any ongoing psychological injury.

Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) Compensation Likely in the UK

Thousands of breast implant recall compensation claims could come from women worried about the Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) recall in the UK.

When the recall was first revealed in March 2010, the advice provided at the time by the French medical device regulatory authority AFSSAPS was for women who were concerned over their PIP breast implants to undergo an ultrasound scan to check for suspected ruptures of the implant sac.

Subsequently it was revealed that the recalled breast implants, which have a higher incidence of rupturing than is usual, also contained an unauthorised silicone gel which could cause an inflammatory reactions in certain women. Now health officials in France are informing all women who have received PIP recalled breast implants to have them removed.

Though the UK´s medicines watch dog – the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency – insists there is no risk of cancer from this lower grade silicone gel, one woman in France is known to have died due to anaplastic large cell lymphoma and many women in the UK have suffered unusual and painful symptoms once the silicone gel has secreted into their lymph nodes.

With the maker of the recalled breast implants having gone out of business since the recall, breast implant recall compensation claims are being directed against the clinics and surgeries which originally performed the breast implant operation – not only for the physical ailments caused by the ruptured implants, but for the emotional distress of suffered by the affected women who may not yet be aware of how badly their health has been affected.

DePuy Compensation For “Poster Girl” For Faulty Hip System

A retired gymnast, who promoted the DePuy ASR Hip Replacement System prior to the product´s worldwide recall last year, is making a personal injury compensation claim against the product´s manufacturers Johnson & Johnson following difficulties with her own DePuy hip replacement system.

Penny Brown (51) of Bath, Wiltshire, had a hip replacement procdure in 2004 to relieve her from the constant pain of osteoarthritis. At the time of the procedure, the DePuy ASR hip replacement system transformed her life to such a degree that she agreed to become the “face” of DePuy and promote their hip replacement systems throughout the UK.

Between 2004 and 2008, Penny was DePuy´s “patient brand” and her image was used throughout the world. Penny also gave interviews about the advantages of the DePuy ASR hip replacement system and counselled patients about to have implant surgery. However, in 2009, Penny started to notice a groin pain which was diagnosed as being caused by the hip replacement system and, as the wear and tear increased, felt a clunking sensation whenever she walked anywhere.

In May this year, Penny was advised that she would need further surgery which would mean the removal of the DePuy ASR hip replacement system and a replacement system installed.  She underwent her additional operation last month, and has been bed-bound and unable to work ever since. “My life has been devastated” Penny told her local newspaper, “I not only feel let down personally but also feel guilty that I might have encouraged others to have the ASR implanted.”

Hotel Bedbug Bite Compensation of 3,200 Pounds Awarded to Sisters

Two sisters, whose stay in London was ruined by the bites they received from bedbugs present in the bedding at their hotel, have each been awarded 1,600 pounds in compensation in an out-of-court settlement.

Melanie Carmen (59) from Whitstable, Kent, and Joy McDonagh (51) from Sidcup, Kent, stayed three nights in London at the Airways Hotel in Victoria in February 2010 to celebrate Joy´s 50th birthday. However, after their first night in the hotel, both were covered in bites from an infestation of bedbugs.

They reported the issue to hotel staff and requested that they were moved to another room. However, there were also bedbugs in the change of room and, after two further nights of poor sleep, the women had a total of 138 bites between them.

After seeking legal guidance, Melanie and Joy sued the Airways Hotel for personal injury compensation and without accepting liability, the hotel settled out of court – paying each 1,600 pounds to cover the women´s medical expenses and loss of earnings as they were unable to immediately return to work after their visit to London.