Chinese Drywall Class Action Lawsuit

Our law firm is participating in a massive Chinese Drywall class action lawsuit against Knauf and other Chinese Drywall manufacturers. The class action lawsuit was filed yesterday in New Orleans in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, where all pending federal cases have been consolidated in a multidistrict litigation.
The class action lawsuit names Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Co., Ltd. as one of 600 other defendants in the case. An interesting side note to the filing-New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton was named a lead plaintiff in the case. The first trial should begin in January 2010.
Thus far, the Consumer Products Safety Commission has received over 2,000 complaints from 32 states. The culprit in the Chinese Drywall is hydrogen sulfide which is emitted from the putrid drywall. That’s the element that’s causing the corrosion and damage to the majority of the homes.

Drug Safety Not Improved Post Vioxx

Congressional investigators are looking into why the FDA has not implemented the new guidelines for drug safety after the Vioxx debacle of 2004. After Vioxx was removed from the market drug industry safety experts called for changes in the manner in which drugs are evaluated and monitored. The guidelines called for a more active role for those who monitor the side effects of the drug. Instead, the scientists who initially approved a drug for market are still in charge of the monitoring of the drug post market.
Some Congressional leaders like Senator Charles Grassley have been openly critical of the slow progress. “No more time should be wasted at the FDA in establishing independence for its post-market surveillance,” Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement.
In spite of clear recommendations from drug safety experts, the FDA has failed to make the change.

Zicam Maker Says FDA Should Reverse Warning

Matrixx Initiatives, the manufacturer of the homeopathic Zicam Cold Remedy nasal spray, has asked the FDA to reverse its ruling in June of this year concerning the adverse affects of the product. Matrixx claims that the Zicam nasal spray gels are effective and safe in spite of at least 130 FDA reports of users suffering from anosmia (loss of the sense of smell). The FDA has so far rejected the request noting that the company had received an additional 800 reports of a loss of smell after using the product. These adverse events were never reported to the FDA, as required by law.
Zicam lawsuits are mounting. In October, U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated the Zicam lawsuits for pretrial proceedings in the District of Arizona. The consolidated lawsuits have similar fact patterns including that zinc gluconate, the active ingredient in the Zicam nasal sprays, is toxic to the nasal tissues and can lead to a permanent loss of the sense of smell.

Zicam Lawsuits

A University of Washington study published by PLoS ONE in October has noted that Zicam users may suffer a loss of the sense of smell.
“Our results demonstrate that Zicam use could irreversibly damage mouse and human nasal tissue and may lead to significant smell dysfunction,” the research group concluded.
Since the homeopathic cold remedy was introduced to the marketplace in 1999, the FDA has received 130 reports of anosmia (loss of smell). The loss of the sense of smell could lead to other health risks associated with a loss of the sense of smell.

Antidepressant Norpramin Receives Warnings for Heart Problems

French drug make Sanofi Avenis is warning healthcare professionals and patients about risks associated with its antidepressant Norpramin and heart problems. Patients who have a history of cardiac problems including cardio dysrhythmias and cardiac conduction disturbances should be cautious about prescribing or taking the antidepressant drug Norpramin.
The warning letter issued by Sanofi Aventis cautions healthcare providers about the risks associated with their antidepression drug. Excerpts of the letter include:
Under WARNINGS General, the addition of patients who have a family history of sudden death, cardiac dysrhythmias, or cardiac conduction disturbances; also the addition of a note that seizures precede cardiac dysrhythmias and death in some patients.
o This section was revised to read, “Overdose of desipramine has resulted in a higher death rate compared to overdoses of other tricyclic antidepressants.”
o Under Manifestations of Overdosage, addition of: “Early changes in the QRS complex include a widening of the terminal 40 msec with a rightward axis in the frontal plane, recognized by the presence of a terminal S wave in Lead 1 and AVL and an R wave in AVR.”
o Under Management, Gastrointestinal Decontamination, revised to read: “Activated charcoal should be administered to patients who present early after an overdose.”
o Under Management, Cardiovascular, revised to read: “A maximal limb-lead QRS duration widening to greater than 100 msec is a significant indicator of toxicity, specifically for the risk of seizures and, eventually, cardiac dysrhythmias. Serum alkalinization with intravenous sodium bicarbonate and hyperventilation (as needed) should be instituted in patients manifesting significant toxicity such as QRS widening. Dysrhythmias despite adequate alkalemia may respond to overdrive pacing, beta-agonist infusions, and magnesium therapy.”
o Under Management, CNS, “phenytoin” was replaced with “propofol” and the following was deleted: “Physostigmine is not recommended except to treat life-threatening symptoms that have been unresponsive to other therapies, and then only in consultation with a poison control center.”
 Under DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, Usual Adult Dose, deletion of: “Plasma
desipramine measurement would constitute the optimal guide to dosage monitoring.”
Any adverse effects connected to the use of Norpramin should be reported to the Food and Drug Administration.

Diocese of Bridgeport Releases Abuse Documents

The Diocese of Bridgeport has complied with a court order demanding the release of church documents detailing the sexual abuse by priests. The court order came after years of legal wrangling between the Diocese and survivors of sexual abuse who fought to make the secret documents public.
The church documents reveal years of church officials transferring abusive priests from one parish to another as well as the mindset of Bridgeport bishops, particularly retired Cardinal Edward Egan. Egan, bishop of Bridgeport from 1988 to 2000, was deposed as part of 23 lawsuits against the Diocese of Bridgeport. As the Bishop of Bridgeport, Egan has been criticized for failing to act when confronted with allegations of priest abuse. At times, he has staunchly defended the innocence of the priests accused.
As the documents were released earlier this week, the Diocese of Bridgeport officials claimed that it was “old news” and that past mistakes have been corrected.

Chinese Drywall Problem May Include American Drywall

The Chinese drywall debacle may not be limited to drywall manufactured and imported from China, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. According to CPSC officials, some homeowners are complaining of a rotten-egg, sulfurous smell that’s corroding electrical wiring in their homes just like the Chinese drywall. But this time the drywall comes from American manufacturers like National Gypsum and Georgia-Pacific Corporation.
The majority of the problem still stems from drywall that’s been imported from China. Of the 2,100 reported complaints, only 25 complaints confirmed that the suspect drywall was manufactured in the United States. However, this could be the tip of the iceberg for complaints arising from US made drywall. As homeowners rush to have their homes inspected for the Chinese drywall, some may find that the contaminated drywall was made and distributed in the US.

Vioxx Trials Showed Health Risk Years Before

Vioxx, the once popular arthritis drug pulled from the market in 2004, had health risks associated with it at least 4 years prior to its market withdrawal, according to findings published by the Archives of Internal Medicine. This new findings became known after lawsuits were filed against Vioxx manufacturer Merck. Vioxx has been associated with increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
The authors of the newly published study noted that the public should have access to such clinical trials in order to make better decisions about their health. “Physicians and the public deserve to be in a position to make informed choices about risk and benefits (of pharmaceutical products),” the authors said.

Chinese Drywall Linked to Corrosion in Homes

A federal agency has confirmed what we’ve suspected for months-some Chinese drywall causes corrosion of electronic devices and appliances in homes. The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced their findings yesterday as residents affected by the contaminated Chinese drywall scrambled to find solutions to the problem in their homes. CPSC is also investigation reports of health issues related to the Chinese drywall. No definitive determinations have been made at this time.
Some homeowners are considering Chinese drywall lawsuits. At this point, only one manufacturer, Knauf, has agreed to accept service in the litigation. However, the Knauf Chinese drywall lawsuit deadline is pending, December 2, 2009.
CPSC tested 51 homes in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Virginia for contaminated Chinese drywall. So far, the federal agency has logged 2,091 Chinese drywall complaints from 32 states. More than 1,400 complaints were lodged by Florida residents.
At least one elected official has voiced skepticism over CPSC’s findings. Florida US Senator Bill Nelson has been highly critical with the agency’s slow response to the problem. “I’m still disappointed the government is taking too long to establish whether there’s a link between drywall, corrosion and health problems,” he said.

New Bishop Named to Antigonish Diocese

The Canadian diocese rocked by the former bishop’s child porn arrest has received a new bishop. The announcement was made in Rome yesterday just a few short months after former Bishop Raymond Lahey was arrested and charged with multiple counts of possession of child pornography.
The new bishop, Brian Dunn, is the former auxiliary bishop of Saul Ste. Marie. Dunn noted that one of the tasks he faces as the new bishop concerns priest sex abuse.
“The issue of sexual abuse is a huge issue. People are really hurt. I’ll try my best to be with them and help them through it as best I can.”