Monthly Archives: July 2012

Vaginal Mesh Lawsuit Update-Protective Order Guidelines Issued

In the federal consolidated vaginal mesh lawsuits, a Stipulated Protective Order has been issued after a status conference call with Joseph R. Goodwin, who is overseeing the pelvic mesh litigation currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
The Protective Order will govern the confidentiality of vaginal mesh documents obtained during the discovery and post-discovery phases of the mesh lawsuits.
The consolidated lawsuits, known as an MDL (multidistrict litigation) involves multiple vaginal mesh manufacturers including C.R. Bard, American Medical Systems, Boston Scientific, and Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

Archdiocese of Los Angeles Sex Abuse Documents to be Made Public

After five years of wrangling after the historic priest abuse lawsuit settlement in Los Angeles, the public may finally be able to view the documents behind the priest abuse scandal. On July 18, a California appeals court denied the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ petition to have access to the documents restricted.
The battle over the church’s sex abuse documents occurs every time a courageous survivor comes forward and we file a sex abuse lawsuit on their behalf. In one case, we had numerous hearings over the issue of whether these documents should be made part of the court record and hence, public documents. In each instance, the church’s lawyers argue that the right to privacy trumps the right of public disclosure. Yet, the issue at hand isn’t primarily about privacy. It’s about public safety. The more light is shed on secretive, criminal behavior the more the public is able to understand how Catholic priests, Boy Scout leaders, and other pastors have been allowed to continue to molest children. As a sex abuse lawyer, this is the crux of the issue and should be a great concern to every parent as well as the public at large.

Another Stryker Hip Recall

This month Stryker, an industry leader in providing hip implant medical devices, has voluntarily recalled another hip device because of issues associated with it once it has been implanted in patients. According to the recall notice posted by the FDA, the recall was issued because of fretting and corrosion at the modular neck junction of the hip implant device. Here’s an excerpt of what the FDA post said: “Stryker Orthopaedics’ decision to voluntarily remove Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck stems and terminate global distribution of these products comes after continued post-market surveillance. The post-market surveillance data may be predictive of a trend. “Following this action, we will work with the medical community to better understand this matter as we continue to evaluate the data,” said Simpson.
Stryker has notified healthcare professionals and regulatory bodies of this voluntary recall. Patients who received a Rejuvenate Modular or ABG II modular-neck stem are encouraged to contact their surgeon. Patients uncertain if they have one of these products implanted should contact their surgeon or consult their medical records.”
This is not the first time Stryker Corporation has experienced serious failures with its hip devices. Previous issues involved the Stryker Trident PSL and Hemispherical Acetahip-implant-settlmentbular Cups.

Prosecutors Side with SNAP in Records Release Case

Missouri prosecutors have agreed with the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP)in the matter of a court order that would force the survivors’ advocate group to release confidential records containing the names and abuse stories of victims. In submitting their legal briefs to the court, the prosecutors argue that “disclosing records would violate abuse victims’ privacy rights and discourage others from coming forward. They also contend SNAP operates as a rape crisis center under Missouri law and its employees cannot provide confidential information.”
The demand for SNAP records has been widely criticized by these prosecutors, victims’ advocates, and the press due to their lack of relevancy and as a violation of privacy rights of those who’ve been the victims of a crime.

Archdiocese of Philadelphia Response To Priest Sentencing

The official statement from the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia concerning yesterday’s sentencing of former Vicar for Clergy Monsignor William Lynn to six years in prison demonstrates their insular and obtuse mind set.
Sometimes, it’s better to say nothing at all than risk further criticism and derision. I suspect the Archdiocesan statement will bring more scorn and criticism. It concludes it’s one page statement by noting that “Fair-minded people will question the severity of the heavy, three to six year sentence imposed on Msgr. Lynn today. We hope that when this punishment is objectively reviewed, it will be adjusted. We pray for Msgr. Lynn and his family at this difficult time.”
What about the survivors? Why does the Archdiocese always make it about themselves when the real concern should always remain with those who’ve been abused?

Philadelphia Monsignor Sentenced to Up to Six Years in Prison for Sex Abuse Role

Lynn.jpgMonsignor William Lynn, the former lieutenant in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been sentenced to up to six years in prison for allowing a priest to continue to have contact with children. The criminal sentencing is unprecedented in the United States for a Catholic priest who himself did not abuse children but allowed others to continue to sexually abuse children in his position as Vicar for Clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia conviction and sentencing comes a few months prior to another criminal trial involving a Catholic bishop. In September, a Kansas City jury will hear testimony regarding allegations similar to those for which Monsignor Lynn was convicted. This time, the defendant is a sitting bishop, Most Rev. Robert Finn. Besides the criminal trial, Bishop Finn faces numerous civil sexual abuse lawsuits for cases involving Fr. Shawn Ratigan and other Kansas City-St. Joseph priests who’ve been accused of sexually molesting children.

Penn State Sanctions-Deterrent or Wrist Slap?

This morning NCAA officials announced what some media outlets are calling an “unprecedented” list of sanctions against Penn State for its role in the cover-up relating to former coach Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of minors. There’s little doubt that the sanctions hit the renowned football program where it hurts-$60 million in fines, a four year ban from bowl games, the loss of 20 scholarships for four years, and five years probation. While the NCAA could have gone further by shutting down the program altogether, in effect it did just that for the foreseeable future. It not only stripped Joe Paterno’s wins from 1998-2011, it made it virtually impossible for the new coach to attract football talent to the school. That will cost the entire Penn State community much-needed revenue and a huge loss of prestige.
But, what does it do for those who’ve been victimized by Sandusky and the institution? It doesn’t rebuild lost innocence or trust. It doesn’t undo the emotional and psychic scars left by the heinous acts. In reality, that’s the real tragedy of sexual abuse. No amount of money or punishment for the perpetrators will undo the damage inflicted. I often tell my client survivors this. In a sense, justice in these cases is beyond our reach. The horror inflicted is too great. The only true justice is to stop sexual abuse of minors before it starts. Once it occurs, it’s really too late.

Failed Metal on Metal Hip Implants Cause Long-Term Health Damage

There’s much news and lawsuits relating to the faulty metal-on-metal hip replacement devices. However, not much media attention has been focused on the long-term health consequences to a patient who’s had to have revision surgery to have the metal-on-metal hip implant explanted. Perhaps, it’s common to think that once the failed hip device is removed, the medical issues will also disappear. This, unfortunately, is not often the case. Besides metallosis, a dangerous condition in which the blood flow is poisoned by the metal fragments that flow into the bloodstream as a result of the metal-on-metal parts constantly rubbing together, new research has shown that failed hip replacement implants can cause long-term damage to the bone and tissue surrounding the hip joint. This makes revision surgery that more complex and makes any eventual recovery with decent mobility that much more difficult and lengthy.
According to one media report, “This is a serious problem in the USA,” said Mathias Bostrom, an orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. “Some implants have a worse record than others, but almost all the metal-on-metal implants have issues.”
The FDA has also warned that its not just the surrounding tissue and joint that is affected by the failed metal-on-metal hip implant. Damage to the body occurs, Bostrom said, when the implant pieces move against each other and metal debris breaks off, lodging in nearby soft tissue and bone and entering the blood. Inflammation and tissue death can occur around the joint, and problems affecting the heart and nervous system, although rare, can develop from toxins entering the blood, the FDA said.
The relative popularity of these metal-on-metal hips led medical device manufacturers to manufacture their own metal-on-metal hip devices. Medical devices companies including Smith & Nephew, Zimmer Holdings, Wright Medical and Biomet Inc, and DePuy, whose parent company is Johnson & Johnson have all manufactured the metal-on-metal hips and are under FDA scrutiny.

Johnson & Johnson Takes Hard Line of Pinnacle Hip Failures

A recent article published by Reuters notes that medical device company Johnson & Johnson, the parent company of DePuy, is taking a hard line in dealing with allegations concerning its DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement failures. DePuy, the manufacturer of both the ASR XL and the Pinnacle, is embroiled in approximately 3,000 hip replacement lawsuits concerning the ASR XL but is disputing complaints about the Pinnacle hip. According to Reuters, “Legal experts say J&J is taking a harder line defending itself against Pinnacle metal-on-metal claims, hiring a top product liability defense firm and refusing to recognize patient complaints or pay for replacing the hip devices – known as revision surgery. It maintains the device performs better than other all-metal hip implants.
Paul Voorhorst, director of biostatistics and data management at DePuy, told an FDA advisory panel last month that the Pinnacle metal-on-metal device “is performing consistent with or better than other metal-on-metal products.”
Of course, Voorhorst’s testimony doesn’t square with the numerous Pinnacle hip patients who are returning to their surgeons with nearly identical complaints as those concerning the ASR XL. In fact, the FDA has determined that all metal-on-metal hip implants should be scrutinized and progress report programs submitted to the federal agency for review.
Reuters interviewed one such hip patient. “Harriett Bowen, 64, from Salisbury, Maryland, received the Pinnacle all-metal hip in 2008. She soon developed the same symptoms as Grisham: pain, limited mobility and elevated levels of cobalt and chromium in her blood. In July 2011, Bowen’s left hip fractured at the implant site, requiring more surgery.
Bowen’s doctor determined she had a cobalt and chromium count of 7 micrograms per liter (mcg/L), a level flagged by UK health authorities as worrying. “He said, ‘Look, we’ve got to get this thing out of you.’ It nearly scared me to death.”
Unlike Grisham, she has received no compensation for the repair from J&J. Bowen is suing J&J.

Doctors: More than 10% of DePuy Pinnacle Hips Will Fail in 2-3 Years

Orthopedic specialists who are monitoring the DePuy Pinnacle hip as well as all the other metal-on-metal hip replacements that have come under scrutiny since the FDA warning last year, are predicting that more than 10% of DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip replacements will fail in the next 2-3 years. This is more bad news for the beleaguered orthodopedic division of Johnson & Johnson which as already lost $3 billion as a result of its recall of the DePuy ASR XL hip device.
According to Reuters, “We’re simply seeing the tip of the iceberg with metal-on-metal failures,” Dr Mary O’Connor, an orthopedic surgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, said of the entire class of metal-on-metal devices. O’Connor said she does not use metal-on-metal hip implants because she has been concerned about metal poisoning for years.”
While many orthopedic surgeons have discontinued use of the metal-on-metal hip implants due to the FDA scrutiny and data demonstrating higher than acceptable failure rates, the popularity of the metal-on-metal devices prior to the recent revelation of design problems means that many people are now suffering the side effects of these failed hip implants. Hip replacement patients have complained about pain, swelling, a loss of mobility, and with some, a dislocation of the hip prothesis.