Texas County Files Opioid Lawsuit

Posted in Fraud, Medical Malpractice, Negligence, Products Liability at 3:39 pm by kevin

America has an opioid problem. The epidemic has resulted in addictions, deaths caused by drug overdose, and economic burden that totals $78.5 billion. Although drug makers have been sued by cities, states, and other agencies, the lawsuit filed by Dallas-based litigation firm Simon Greenstone Panetier & Bartlett in behalf of Upshur County is the first in Texas to hold drug makers responsible for the epidemic.

The lawsuit claims that deceptive practices by drug makers have created a marketplace that is both lucrative and illicit where pharmacy record falsification, prescription forging, and doctor shopping is a common occurrence. It also claims that an increase in heroin use is linked to the widespread use of opioids as addicted users turn to the other due to the unavailability of prescription drugs. The epidemic has also driven resident’s healthcare costs up.

Many residents of Upshur County have also cited opioid addiction as one of the reasons they sought treatment for substance abuse.

Opioid use doesn’t just affect the lives of those who use it, but their family as well. In Upshur County, parental drug addiction has caused a rise in children being placed in child protection agencies.

Dean Fowler, an Upshur County judge, said that the lawsuit’s goal was “to recoup the cost of the opioid epidemic.” The money used to treat opioid addicts come out of taxpayers’ pockets, and that the “cost to the public is very high.”

Jeffrey B. Simon, a Dallas attorney, says in the lawsuit that the epidemic “did not occur by chance.”

The lawsuit names more than 20 defendants, including Abbot Laboratories, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Inc., and Purdue Pharma Inc. These companies manufacture brand-name drugs, such as Avinza (no longer sold in the market), Opana, OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan, Roxicodone, and Vicodin. Generic varieties such as hydrocodone and oxymorphone are being made as well. Some of these defendants also manufacture, market, distribute, and sell prescription opioids, such as fentanyl, Duragesic, Fentora, Ultracet, and Ultram.

The more than 20 defendants named in the lawsuit are all accused of using altering the view of doctors on opioids in the late 1990s and early 2000s through a “well-funded deceptive marketing scheme.” Drug makers use sales representatives and physicians – their “key opinion leaders”– to promote highly addictive opioids through souvenirs and toys that include, among others, bags, coffee cups, notepads, pens, and stuffed plush toys – all these bearing the name of the opioid brand.

The lawsuit also states that drug makers utilized “front groups” to help key opinion leaders negatively tinge continuing medical education programs, medical conferences and seminars, scientific articles, and treatment guidelines – sources that doctors and patients turn to for guidance.

After individual and coordinated efforts, the defendants also convinced doctors that opioids were “required in the compassionate treatment of chronic pain” rather than inform them of it being addictive and unsafe for long-term use.

The lawsuit claims that drug makers even upped their advertising costs compared to the previous decade. One advertisement showed how a writer used opioids to cure osteoarthritis but neglected to mention its risks.

A co-counsel of Simon, Jack Walker of the Martin Walker law firm, plans to file a similar lawsuit in the counties they represent.



Woman Wins 50 Shades of Grey Lawsuit

Posted in Fraud at 2:44 pm by kevin

An Arlington, TX woman has won a fraud lawsuit including royalties estimated between $10 – $20 million regarding the blockbuster book “50 Shades of Grey.”

According to the Star-Telegram, “The jury deliberated for about 10 hours over three days before determining on Thursday that Pedroza was defrauded by Amanda Hayward, her Australian partner in an e-publishing business that originally released what would become a New York Times bestseller.

“State District Judge Susan McCoy will determine how much Pedroza eventually gets after an accounting of the financial records connected to book sales is completed. Records on the royalties have been sealed, but earlier estimates were that her share could be $10 million to $20 million.”



Funeral Home Sued Over Missing Organs

Posted in Fraud at 4:14 pm by kevin

A funeral home in Valdosta, Georgia is being sued for negligence and fraud over the missing organs of Kendrick Johnson. Johnson was found dead in his high school gym about a year ago and a second autopsy pointed to blunt force trauma as the cause, conflicting will the original findings of the death being an accident.

According to CNN, “The lawsuit revolves around what the owner and employees of Harrington Funeral Home in Valdosta, Georgia, knew about the state of the young man’s body.

“Johnson’s parents were shocked to learn in June, when they ordered a second autopsy, that the young man’s organs were missing and had been replaced with newspaper …

“…In the lawsuit, filed January 31 and amended Wednesday, the family alleges that not only did the funeral home mishandle the organs, it disposed of them to thwart an investigation into Johnson’s cause of death.”



JP Morgan Sued by Madoff Victims

Posted in Fraud at 2:31 pm by kevin

Former customers turned victims of Ponzi scheme engineer Bernie Madoff are suing financial institution JP Morgan Chase and Company for $19 billion. The claimants are stating that JP Morgan turned a blind eye to the massive fraud scheme.

According to Reuters, “JPMorgan was Madoff’s bank for two decades. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, claims the bank was ‘thoroughly complicit’ in concealing Madoff’s fraud … The class action lawsuit asserts that even a cursory examination of the finances of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC would have revealed that the money was not used to follow an investment strategy but simply flowed between Madoff and his customers.”

JP Morgan Chase meanwhile deny responsibility simply stating that no one at the financial firm knew what Madoff was up to and therefore could not reasonably take action against the fraudster.