Supreme Court Rejects Federal Preemption - Wyeth v. Levine

The U.S. Supreme Court on March 4, 2009 issued what will be one of the most important decisions of this term. In Wyeth v. Levine, the court wrote in a 6 to 3 opinion a sweeping and powerful rejection of Wyeth's argument, that plaintiff's right to sue was barred by the concept of federal preemption.

Plaintiff's arm had to be amputated when the drug Phenergan was injected into her vein by the IV-Push method. A jury found in her favor, finding that Wyeth failed to adequately warn of the risks of this method. Wyeth argued that it was immune from suit and the jury's finding must be overturned.

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Two lots of Duragesic pain patches were recalled on December 31, 2008 by the Pri-Cara division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which is a unit of Johnson & Johnson. The reason given was that cuts in the product might allow direct exposure to the fentanyl gel, which is a very powerful opioid. That exposure can cause a potentially fatal overdose.

There is a long history of recalls and of Public Health Advisories from the FDA regarding fentanyl pain patches. Millions of pain patches have been recalled. Manufacturers include Alza, Sandoz, Janssen, Mylan, Watson and Actavis. Actavis patches also involve the names of Corium International and Abrika Pharmaceuticals. The FDA has received hundreds of reports of fatalities associated with fentanyl patch use. Millions of dollars in jury verdicts have been awarded.

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Carbon Monoxide - Advances in Medical Knowledge

The danger of carbon monoxide has been recognized in terms of its hypoxic effect for some time. This happens because carbon monoxide binds with the red blood cells or hemoglobin at a rate 240 times greater than does oxygen. This displaces oxygen in the transport to the organs of the body that are so dependent upon the constant replenishment of oxygen supply. The brain and the heart are the two largest consumers of oxygen in the body. It is now becoming recognized that carbon monoxide also causes a cascade of inflammatory effects that damage the brain and heart even after the carbon monoxide or carboxy hemoglobin levels have declined.

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Big Trucks and Busses Continue to Account for Too Many Serious Highway Accidents

Much of American commerce is carried by big trucks on our highways, but far too many major accidents occur involving negligence or even reckless indifference by truckers and trucking companies. Truckers are governed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations which contain many requirements from checking the safety equipment on trucks before a truck leaves the yard, to hours of operation, to loading safety.

Now a new United States safety study which was obtained by the Associated Press has found that many drivers are violating the rules by driving while sick. This is sometimes done with the complicity of medical doctors who approve long term conditions such as those that cause periodic black outs, or with the consent of the trucking company that allows a sick driver to go out on the road.

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Marc Weingarten Elected to a Litigation Counsel of America Fellowship

Marc P. Weingarten, a Partner in Locks Law has been elected to a fellowship in the Litigation Counsel of America (LCA). LCA is a trial lawyer honorary society composed of less than one half of one percent of all American lawyers. Fellowship in the LCA is based upon effectiveness and accomplishment in litigation, both at the trial and appellate levels, and superior ethical reputation.

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Marc Weingarten Reappointed to the International Relations Committee of the American Association for Justice

Marc P. Weingarten, a Locks Law Partner, has been reappointed to the International Relations Committee of the American Association for Justice (AAJ). The purpose of this committee is to review and strengthen the relationship between AAJ and trial lawyer organizations of other countries. In addition to being appointed to this committee, Marc is the education coordinator for the International Practice Section of AAJ. In that role, he has arranged for lawyers from England, Holland, Canada, California, and Ohio to make an educational presentation at this year's annual convention of AAJ, to be held in Philadelphia in July. In addition, Marc will be speaking at that program as well, and his topic of presentation will be international litigation concerning Vioxx.

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Multi-Million Dollar Settlement in an Auto Fire and Explosion Case

Steve Knowlton recently achieved a multi-million dollar settlement for our client who was severely burned after an automobile accident in which the car she was driving was struck from behind and exploded. The case was brought in 1998 against a major auto manufacturer alleging that the post collision fuel fed fire (PCFFF) was the result of a defectively designed fuel system. Expert analysis of the wreckage of the car revealed that the gas tank was driven into the drive shaft of the vehicle causing it to split and spill gas, resulting in a fire that claimed the lives of three other passengers and caused severe burns to our client, the driver. After nearly eight years of litigation, the review of over 3 million pages of documents, some of which revealed that the manufacturer clearly knew of the risk of this exact automotive defect, and the review of tens of thousands of hours of crash test videos, the auto manufacturer agreed to settle the case---requiring complete confidentiality.

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Marc Weingarten Presents - "Strategy of Direct and Cross-Examination of Expert Witnesses"

Marc P. Weingarten, a Partner in the Philadelphia and New York offices recently made a presentation to a joint meeting of the Kentucky Justice Association (formerly known as the Kentucky Academy of Trial Attorneys) and the Kentucky Defense Counsel. Marc made his presentation, which was entitled "Strategy of Direct and Cross-Examination of Expert Witnesses" on May 16, 2008 in Louisville, Kentucky and it will be presented again on May 30, 2008 in Lexington, Kentucky. Marc's presentation was part of a day-long seminar to teach lawyers how to try cases. The seminar was called "Trial Strategies and Techniques From Both Sides of the Bar. The concept of this program was unique in that it is one of the few education courses for trial lawyers which is sponsored by both the plaintiff bar as well as the defense bar. Marc used a PowerPoint presentation which was prepared by Philadelphia paralegal Leah Min which included numerous slides as well as a video clip from the movie "My Cousin Vinnie" to demonstrate advanced techniques of direct and cross-examination of expert witnesses.

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