PFAS litigationMost of you reading this are aware that PFAS belong to a family of compounds that are widely used in products, such as fire fighting foam, stain repellant coatings, and nonstick surfaces. Attorney Clay Hodges has written about PFAS in Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) on this blog site. Please check out those previous blog posts if you are looking for more specific information regarding AFFF. There have been recent developments in the litigation surrounding PFAS, which this article will dive into, as well as provide background information about the chemicals themselves.

What are PFAS?

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances are a group of man-made chemicals that have been used in various industrial and consumer products since the 1940s. Known as ‘forever chemicals,’ they take an extended amount of time to break down in the environment, and in the human body. There are thousands of different PFAS: Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) are two of the most widely used PFAS, and are the subject of recent EPA regulation, which will be discussed later in this article.

Kratom capsules with kratom powder and green leaves on wooden table backgroundKratom (mitragyna speciosa) is a tropical leaf native to Southeast Asia. While the plant is indigenous to Asia, the use, and abuse, of the plant has become much more common in the United States over the last decade. Today, you can easily purchase products made from kratom leaf online as well as in brick-and-mortar stores. The substance is manufactured into various vehicles of consumption including concentrated powder capsules, chewable tablets and gummies, and liquids. The leaves can also be crushed and smoked, and also brewed into herbal tea. 

Common Uses of Kratom

In low doses, the leaf has been known to produce a stimulant effect, with users reporting increased physical energy and alertness. When taken in higher doses, the opposite occurs: the substance produces sedative effects. Kratom is used to self-treat physical pain, coughing, and diarrhea. It is commonly used to aid in treating psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression. The substance is also used to aid individuals with opioid withdrawal, and opioid use disorder.

CPAP SettlementIt appears as if Philips’ legal problems concerning their CPAP and BiPAP machines in the United States may be coming to an end. Late last year, there was a tentative settlement concerning the plaintiffs’ economic loss claims. Then just recently, a court not only approved the economic loss settlement proposal, but Philips just agreed to pay $1.1 billion to settle the personal injury and medical monitoring claims. Let’s take a closer look at this CPAP settlement and what plaintiffs and future claimants can expect.

Economic Loss Settlement

In October 2023, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (District Court) issued an order preliminarily approving a settlement concerning the economic loss claims. These are claims that relate to the financial losses connected to the purchase of the affected machines. In April 2024, the District Court granted final approval of that settlement.

Camp Lejeune Admin Claim Deadline is August 10, 2024Today I will discuss the Camp Lejeune toxic water litigation, and if there is one fact that I can leave you with in this post, it is this: the deadline for bringing an administrative claim is August 10, 2024.

The Camp Lejeune legislation that was passed about two years ago is rather extraordinary, and what it has done is allowed people who were injured years and sometimes decades ago to bring a current viable claim against the federal government for serious illness and injury suffered as a result of toxic water in and around the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base, but if you have a claim and do not file an administrative claim with the US Navy by August 10, 2024, then you will be out of luck, and you will have no recourse to compensation.

Now the good news is filing the administrative claim, which starts the ball rolling to identify to the federal government that you want to bring a claim, filing that administrative claim is somewhat straightforward. I do not believe individuals should represent themselves in this matter. I believe you need an attorney who’s familiar with this litigation to handle that process for you, but the good news is the administrative claims process is not nearly as complex as actually filing a lawsuit, which you certainly will have to do in the months after you file an administrative claim, so write down the date, put it on a Post-it note, or tape it to your refrigerator; and you need to contact an attorney immediately if you believe you or someone you loved, even a deceased parent, or even a grandparent, may have been harmed by exposure to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune.

Surgeon reviews Synovo hip X-rayArtificial hips offer many patients the opportunity to live active and full lives, but sometimes they don’t always work as intended. Thankfully, these are relatively rare situations. Unfortunately, if it’s your artificial hip that fails, there’s not much comfort in knowing the artificial hips in most other patients work as designed. Because an artificial hip failure can be such a serious problem, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) takes steps to ensure artificial hip medical devices receive adequate review and scrutiny before being approved for use in patients. One such step is to confirm that if a company modifies an already approved product, those changes also receive appropriate FDA approval and oversight. Apparently, Synovo Production, Inc. (Synovo) failed to obtain these necessary FDA approvals after making changes to one of Synovo’s hip replacement products. Let’s take a look at what products are affected and what action the FDA has taken.

Affected Medical Devices

Synovo makes the Total Hip System (also known as the Total Hip Replacement System and the Preserve and Endotec BP), which the FDA cleared for medical use. However, the FDA claims that Synovo has made significant modifications to the following three components of this system: Femoral Resurfacing Cup, Acetabular Fixation Cup and Acetabular Bearing. Some of these components are also stand-alone products.

Camp Lejeune water studyThe Camp Lejeune “Elective Option” has been open for a while now and allows eligible individuals affected by contaminated water from Camp Lejeune to seek monetary compensation for their injuries. The goal of this administrative process is to make it faster and easier to receive monetary compensation and avoid going to court.

A potential problem with the Elective Option is that it’s only available to those with officially recognized medical conditions. Another issue is that it has predetermined monetary payouts for certain injuries. This means it can result in certain people receiving less compensation than if they sued in court.

However, the window for filing suit will close soon. Most individuals have until August 2024 to start the administrative claims process. Luckily, a new scientific study was released that may make it easier for those harmed by Camp Lejeune contaminated water to obtain damages for their injuries.

Stryker LFIT v40 disassociationFor a while now, Stryker has had issues with some of its hip replacement artificial implants. One troublesome type in particular has been the LFIT V40 series. Specifically, in some of these Stryker hips corrosion forms where the femoral head connects with the femoral stem. This would often lead to taper lock failure, or a compromised joint that would loosen and cause metallosis.

This issue helped lead to a recall in 2016 and an expanded recall in 2018. One of the reasons for the 2018 recall was a higher-than-expected number of reports of the femoral head disassociating (disconnecting) from the femoral stem.

What Is Artificial Hip Disassociation?

Signs Your Artificial Hip May Be Failing
Not all artificial hips fail. Many total hip replacement surgeries are successful. Unfortunately, artificial hips, particularly “metal-on-metal” hips, have “failed” at a rate much higher than previous artificial hip systems, whose components typically consisted of a combination of metals, plastics, and ceramics. The metal-on-metal design placed a metal ball or head directly into a metal acetabular cup. By using a metal cup and a metal ball, these artificial hips forced metal to rub against metal with the full weight and pressure of the human body. As long as the metals held up, all would be well. But it turned out that this intense pressure and movement often caused the metals to grind and deteriorate, and too often releasing metal particles into the surrounding tissue and into the bloodstream. In other artificial hip failures, such as with the Stryker LFIT v40,  femoral heads can malfunction due to a failure in the taper lock. The taper lock is the part of the hip prosthesis that connects the femoral head to the stem. This can cause the neck on the femoral stem to grind down (sometimes referred to as “penciling”) and can even lead to a full disassociation (more on that below).

In still other artificial hip failures, the plastic liner (between the cup and ball) deteriorates and causes the total artificial hip system to fail. Polyethylene liners are very important in an artificial hip because over the years, it will serve as a buffer between the metal cup and also the metal femoral head or ball, so it can protect against excessive grinding of the hip components. But the studies have shown that Exactech hip plastic liners have been breaking down and showing signs of premature wear.

Please note that with any hip replacement surgery, there will be a period of rehabilitation. Even with great surgery results, the patient will suffer some soreness, stiffness, and a period to regain strength, mobility, and comfort. From the hundreds of people I have spoken with over the years who have undergone hip replacement surgery, even successful hip replacements do not turn you into a completely pain-free eighteen year old athlete.

FDA CPAP Recall
I’ve written extensively about problems with some Philips CPAP and BiPAP machines, including alleged injuries, affected machines, recalls, and potential litigation. That litigation is ramping up, but a new concern has arisen over the FDA’s inadequate and delayed recall process.

Specifically, governmental safeguards designed to protect the public from faulty or dangerous medical devices may not be working properly. Using the Philips recall situation as a prime example, let’s examine what going on with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and why there might be room for improvement in how it handles potentially dangerous medical devices.

The FDA’s Role in Keeping Consumers and Patients Safe

Ozempic label changesI recently wrote about the start of what may become a wave of lawsuits against the maker of Ozempic due to certain side effects from that medication. In particular, several users claim that Ozempic and related drugs caused their gastroparesis, or the slowing (or stopping) of food from the stomach to the small intestine. The primary argument is that the Ozempic label did not contain adequate warnings concerning potential side effects.

After this litigation began, Novo Nordisk (the maker of Ozempic) updated the Ozempic’s label. Could this have been in response to the existing litigation or fear of future litigation? We don’t know, but let’s take a look this recent product label change, including how it relates to earlier changes and the labels for similar drugs.

An Overview of Ozempic and Related Medications

Client Reviews
★★★★★
I was involved in a case for the faulty hip replacements. Clay Hodges represented me. I can't say enough about how much he has helped me. Clay was able to win multiple settlements on my behalf with most of them being the maximum amount able to be awarded. Matt J.
★★★★★
Clay, thank you sir for making a disheartening experience at least palatable, you and your staff were honest, caring and understanding through the entire process of my wife’s hip replacements, while monetary settlements never make the pain and suffering end, it sometimes is the only way people can fight back to right a wrong. J. V.
★★★★★
We are absolutely pleased with how Clay Hodges handled my husband’s hip replacement claim. He always kept us informed of the progress. And, his work resulted in a settlement which we are extremely pleased. Thank you, Clay! Carol L. & Norm L.
Contact Information