Law360 reports on product liability cases to watch in the year 2018, highlighting cases of national interest with potential impact on millions of Americans. The review includes cases in which Lieff Cabraser plays a prominent role, and Law360 spoke directly with Lieff Cabraser’s Lexi Hazam.

In re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation

Prescription opioid drugs are estimated to kill upwards of 100 Americans per day — over 36,000 Americans per year. At least 115 lawsuits have been filed by local governments over the opioid epidemic, and such suits are being gathered in multidistrict litigation. The suits allege that makers of opioid pain medication oversold the drugs’ benefits, while vastly downplaying their risks, concluding that opioid manufacturing and distributing companies systematically and repeatedly disregarded the health and safety of their customers and the public. The collective litigation includes public entities, pension funds, and individual claims.

“This is probably the largest litigation we’ve seen in many years,” stated Lieff Cabraser partner Lexi J. Hazam, who represents plaintiffs in the litigation. “The opioid litigation has prompted comparisons to the tobacco litigation of the 1990s, but the costs of the opioid crisis go beyond the health care costs incurred by the epidemic.”

The case is In re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, case number 1:17-md-2804, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Learn more about the Prescription Opioid Drugs Manufacturing, Marketing, Distribution and Sales Practice Litigation.

In re: DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation

From 2002 to 2012, DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson (J&J), manufactured metal-on-metal hip implants sold under the brand name Pinnacle hip with a metal liner (called the Ultamet metal liner). In far too many patients, the metal-on-metal version of the Pinnacle hip implant has failed.

Patients in more than 8,000 cases against J&J and DePuy have alleged that the companies failed to provide the public with adequate warning of the risks involved with the Pinnacle hip implant products. The Pinnacle devices were marketed “as high stability, low-wear implants for use with a polyethylene or metal liner” but the metal liner creased an unacceptable risk of serious injuries.

After a verdict of $502 million in a bellwether injury trial for five plaintiffs, J&J has remanded for a new trial, arguing that the awarded damages were excessive.

“They’re likely to issue a decision this coming year, and it will undoubtedly shape how that MDL proceeds hereafter,” Hazam noted.

The MDL is In re: DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, case number 3:11-md-02244, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Learn more about the DePuy Pinnacle Hip Injury Lawsuits.

Read the full Law360 article here (subscription required).

National Defective Products & Product Liability Lawyers at Lieff Cabraser

Each year, thousands of products are recalled due to inferior performance, poor quality, faulty designs, and other defects. When manufacturers fail to take responsibility for products that do not perform as promised or advertised, consumers must either repair the product at their own expense or buy a new one. Fortunately, there are multiple remedies under the law for consumers to hold manufacturers accountable.

Lieff Cabraser has successfully litigated and settled hundreds of class action lawsuits in federal and state courts, including dozens of cases requiring manufacturers to remedy a defect, extend warranties, and refund to consumers the cost of repairing the defective product. Working with co-counsel, we have achieved judgments and settlements that have recovered more than $4.7 billion in cash in these cases, as well as other valuable relief, such as product fixes and extended warranties.

Learn more about Lieff Cabraser’s Defective Products practice.

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