Monthly Archives: July 2007

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against United Healthcare

I filed a class action lawsuit against United Healthcare for misrepresentation and fraudulent marketing in violation of The Florida Medicare Supplement Act. United Healthcare has been enrolling Medicare recipients into their own HMO and PPO plans without their consent or their knowledge that this effectively disenrolls them from Medicare. The representative in the class action lawsuit has no insurance as a result of these fraudulent acts and faces more than $30,000 in unpaid medical bills. United Healthcare has been unresponsive to her requests to be disenrolled from their plan and is no longer able to receive the Medicare benefits for which she worked all her life.

Maker of Oxycontin Fined For Misleading Public About Addiction Risks

U.S. District Judge James Jones levied the fine on Purdue Pharma L.P., its top lawyer and former president and former chief medical officer for misleading the public about the addictive characteristics of the popular pain medication Oxcontin. Oxcyontin was designed to be swallowed whole but if it is crushed it can produce a heroin-like high. According to a story published in the Boston Globe, ” From 1996 to 2001, the number of oxycodone-related deaths nationwide increased fivefold while the annual number of OxyContin prescriptions increased nearly 20-fold, according to a report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.”

LA Priest Abuse Settlement and the Public Trust

The $660 million payout to victims of priest sexual abuse in Los Angeles this past week appears at first glance a victory for children’s advocates. However, accountability and public trust have not been served by the settlement. Cardinal Mahony, in avoiding a public trial, never had to disclose his own bad behavior and complicity in the abuse of hundreds of young children. In spite of the fact that priest personnel documents have been ordered to be released as part of the settlement, it will take some time for them to be released and we may never the full extent of the Los Angeles debacle if the church decided to pick and choose which documents are released. In our justice system, accountability and the public trust are two pillars by which large institutions or corporations must answer to the public. If these two pillars are weakened the public suffers as a result.

Los Angeles Archdiocese Settles Priest Abuse Cases for $660 Million

On the eve of a public trial in which Roger Cardinal Mahony would have been forced to testify about his knowlege and actions concerning sexually abusive priests, the Archdiocese of Los Angelese settled lawsuits with 508 plaintiffs. The trial would have forced Mahony into an untenable position for a prince of the Catholic Church. Either he would have had to reveal years of cover ups and transfers of sexually abusive priests or perjured himself to protect an institution battered by years of sexual scandal and criminal behavior. While the settlement is a victory for the courageous survivors of priest sex abuse, the Archdiocese avoided a publicly humiliating trial. I’m happy to see that as part of the settlement agreement, the Archdiocese will have to release to the public the priest personnel files. Hopefully, this will include files from the church’s secret archive or sub secreto files. In 2005, the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon was ordered to release these same files but released their version of the files after a great deal of redaction and sanitizing. These “summaries of information” were basically so purged that one could no longer glean a glimmer of truth from them.

Boston Scientific Agrees to Settle Guidant Claims for $195 million

Two weeks prior to the first federal trial, Boston Scientific Corporation has announced a $195 million settlement with approximately 4,000 claimants regarding its faulty Guidant heart defibrillator, the Ventak Prizm 2 Model 1861. Our firm represents a number of clients who will participate in the settlement. Guidant came under scrutiny after it failed to disclose a problem with faulty insulation in its most popular heart defibrillator. Making matters worse, it did not disclose the problem for nearly three years. At least seven patients have died as a result of the flawed defibrillator. The NY Times published an article revealing the flaw in the heart device. However, Guidant failed to fix the issue. Rather, they shipped thousands of older potentially flawed units exposing more patients to risk, according to an article published today in the NY Times. Boston Scientific has been under increasing pressure to settle the claims since Judge Donovan W. Frank ruled that Guidant could be liable for punitive damages as a result of its behavior.

Zyprexa: Another Dangerous Drug That Was Over Marketed

Eli Lilly has been the target of 29,000 lawsuits because of a controversial drug that the company failed to disclose dangerous side effects. In addition to the individual claims, at least eight states have sued the company on behalf of their Medicaid health programs for the indigent, alleging Lilly concealed risks and marketed the drug for unapproved uses.
Studies have shown that Zyprexa and other, similar medications known as atypical antipsychotics are associated with weight gain and an increased risk of diabetes. These studies prompted the FDA to require Lilly and other drugmakers to warn doctors of the risks in September 2003 and again in March 2004.
Zyprexa (olanzapine), manufactured by Eli Lilly, is the brand name of a drug used to treat schizophrenia, acute, mixed, or manic episodes of bipolar disorder. It was approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996. Studies have shown that Zyprexa has a dangerous side effect ie. an increase in the occurrence of diabetes mellitus type II associated with usage. This has proven to be fatal in a number of patients. Zyprexa side effects include diabetes, pancreatitis, hyperglycemia, ketoacidosis, extreme weight gain, diabetic coma, Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, and death.
• Zyprexa has been prescribed to over 6 million people world wide.
• Since Zyprexa’s approval by the FDA in 1996, there have been 300 cases of diabetes and 23 deaths.
Zyprexa Side Effects
• Fever
• Stiff muscles
• Confusion
• Sweating
• Fast or irregular heartbeats
• Spasmodic muscular movements
• Sudden headache
• Problems with vision, speech or balance
• Increase thirst, frequent urination, excessive hunger or weakness
• Unusual thoughts or behavior
• Hallucinations
• Suicidal thoughts or thoughts about hurting yourself