product liability

Big Day for Merck, Sad Day for Consumers

Well, no surprise here, but appellate courts in Texas and New Jersey overturned two jury verdicts against drug giant Merck in cases over its drug Vioxx.

Regarding the Texas court, Plaintiff’s lawyer Mark Lanier said, “It’s a sad day that they can write a 10-page opinion and wipe out a widow’s verdict with a new judicial activism that reinterprets the evidence to support corporate executives.” He also pointed out that all three judges on the appellate panel who tossed out his verdict took campaign contributions from law firms defending Merck.

Say what you will about the civil justice system, but it’s scary how far the appeals courts will go these days to overturn jury verdicts. Conservatives always rally against “judicial activism,” yet the GOP-controlled appeals courts in Texas have become the worst practitioners of this.

Mark Lanier is an incredible trial lawyer. Something tells me he’s not through with Merck just yet.

Girl Whose Disembowelment Led To Pool Legislation Dies

OMAHA, Neb. — A 6-year-old girl who underwent a rare transplant surgery after her intestines were sucked out in a swimming pool has died in an Omaha hospital.

Abigail Taylor’s family said she died Thursday evening. Bob Bennett is an attorney for the Taylor family. He said Abigail’s parents were with her when she died at Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

NMC’s Paul Baltes confirmed to KETV NewsWatch 7 that Abigail died at the hospital, where she has been under care since the operation. Baltes was not sure whether an autopsy or exact cause of death would be released to the public.

Abigail was injured when she sat on a pool drain, and its powerful suction ripped out part of her intestinal tract on June 29. She underwent transplant surgery in December at the Nebraska hospital to receive a new small bowel, liver and pancreas.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported in November that Taylor’s family filed suit against the pool manufacturer and the Minneapolis Golf Club.

“The suit blamed both the club, located in St. Louis Park, Minn, and Sta-Rite Industries, a pool equipment manufacturer owned by a Golden Valley company, for the accident, in which 21 feet of Abigail Taylor’s small intestine were sucked out when she landed on an uncovered suction outlet in the kiddie pool in June,” the paper reported.

In December, President George W. Bush signed The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act of 2007, according to SafeKids.net. The legislation provides incentives for states to adopt comprehensive pool safety laws that will protect children from life-threatening injuries and deaths from potentially dangerous pool and spa drains.

Dennis Quaid and Wife Sue Drug Maker

Actor Dennis Quaid and his wife sued the makers of heparin Tuesday after their newborn twins were inadvertently given massive doses of the blood thinner at a hospital. The product liability lawsuit, filed in Chicago, seeks more than $50,000 in damages. It claims that Baxter Healthcare Corp., based in Deerfield, Ill., was negligent in packaging different doses of the product in similar vials with blue backgrounds. The lawsuit also says the company should have recalled the large-dosage vials after overdoses killed three children at an Indianapolis hospital last year.

The Quaids’ children, Thomas Boone and Zoe Grace, and a third patient were at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Nov. 18 when they were mistakenly given vials of heparin that were 1,000 times stronger than the usual dosage.

Cedars-Sinai said Tuesday the mistake occurred when two pharmacy technicians failed to verify the vials’ concentration before placing them in the pediatrics unit where the lower-concentration heparin is kept. The nurses who administered the drug also failed to check the dosage, the hospital said in a news release.

Another child disembowled by a pool drain

MINNEAPOLIS – The family of a 6-year-old girl who lost part of her intestinal tract after sitting on an open drain in a wading pool is suing the pool manufacturer and the country club where the accident happened.

Abigail Taylor faces a small intestine transplant that will keep her hospitalized for six months, said family attorney Robert Bennett. Her lifetime medical expenses could total $30 million and the country club carries only $6 million in liability insurance, he said.

This poor child’s intestines were sucked out of her rectum by an uncovered pool drain, a danger known within the industry for years (Sen. John Edwards, in his previous life as a trial lawyer, handled a similar case in North Carolina some time ago). To the “tort deformers” out there, I say look that little girl and her parents in their eyes and tell them her case is frivolous.