Investigating Fraud: The Most Important Case in Florida

It reads like a John Grisham novel, only it is true.  As a Board-Certified Civil Trial Lawyer in Miami who sues Carnival cruise lines, I have read thousands of appellate case decisions and opinions–and I have never seen one quite like the case of E.I. DuPont De Nemours & Company, Inc., vs. Claire J. Sidran, et al one of the most important fraud court cases. The case was filed in 1992, when I was just a first-year lawyer, on behalf of a family-owned nursery in South Florida against DuPont, claiming that it made a defective plant fungicide called Benlate. The lawyers for the nursery are a father-and-son team, who took on DuPont in what can only be described as a crusade. I have only once met the father, Ed Ratiner, but his son Bobby was my University of Miami School of Law classmate, and we share a very close mutual friend; however, I have never met Bobby.  A lengthy and detailed appellate opinion was released this week from Florida’s 3rd District Court of Appeal recounting the odyssey of this case—stemming from its initial filing in 1992 through several trials, verdicts for and against the plaintiffs, appeals, and hearings that included the production of over 5 million pages of documents, depositions, and Florida bar grievances filed against both Bobby Ratiner and the lawyer from DuPont. Dangerous and Defective Product Case At some point in the last 22 years the case devolved from a Florida dangerous-and-defective product case into one of a purported fraud upon the court for DuPont’s failure to produce documents in addition to the 5 million pages already...

Protecting People from Dangerous Drugs

When it comes to potentially dangerous drugs–like testosterone replacement therapies—or cars, or even a light bulb, manufacturers always know more about the product’s risks than its consumer does. The law in our country that protects us from makers of those products–who put their profit ahead of the safety of people–is commonly referred to as strict liability. STRICT LIABILITY LAW The law of strict liability dates back hundreds of years, when people were found to be legally responsible for the damages they caused by conducting certain “inherently dangerous activities,” like transporting dynamite or keeping a tiger in their apartment. In those situations, to win their cases the plaintiffs or injured parties do not have to prove that the defendant was careless, but merely the extent of their injuries. That is a significantly easier case for a plaintiff. As the law has evolved, it has become one of the few remaining protections of the injured when a dangerous or defective product is sold that hurts or kills people. GM RECALLS 1.6 MILLION CARS The most compelling and recent example of how the strict liability law can be used to protect the injured is the delayed recall by General Motors of nearly 2 million vehicles that have faulty ignition systems and have been linked to a dozen deaths. The defect that prompted the recall is a faulty ignition switch that can suddenly turn off a car, leaving it difficult to steer and disabling its air bags. The cause has been traced to not having enough resistance in the ignition switch to counter the weight of heavy keys and key chains. This is also an important...

It is Time for Hip Implant Warranties

Thousands of Americans who have been implanted with defective artificial hips have little legal protection, other than the hope that a potential law suit or class action case against the manufacturer will provide some form of compensation.  The benefits of winning, balanced against the cost, time, and legal hurdles that injured consumers and their lawyers face in these types of cases fall squarely on the side of the enormously powerful and well-funded manufacturers. Para leer en español haga clic aquí. Corporate giants who manufacture pharmaceuticals and medical devices–like Johnson and Johnson (DePuy’s ASR XL Acetabular System and Pinnacle), Stryker (Rejuvenate and ABG II), Biomet (M2a Magnum), Smith & Nephew, Wright Medical Technology, Inc., and Zimmer Holdings Inc.–are all facing a mountain of lawsuits from people across the country who have suffered from recalled or defective hip implants. Most of these companies have successfully bypassed FDA approval though the fast track 510(k) clearance process and have never had to prove their devices are safe and effective. The FDA’s fast track 510(k) clearance process allows new devices to be placed on the market provided they are substantially equivalent to an existing device already being sold. Since most new artificial hips are “similar enough” to models already on the market, many of the recalled hips have never actually been approved by the FDA. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cc_Fr-zEn4Q Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants: Hip Implant Warranties are Needed In the last ten years, metal-on-metal artificial hip devices have been implanted in nearly 750,000 Americans.  These devices were promoted by DePuy and others as an improvement over traditional ceramic and plastic hip implants because they were supposed to last longer.  Instead, metal-on-metal hips were...

Biomet Hip Implants Update: Investigational Device Exemption

Leslie Caccia and his wife Allison are the lead plaintiffs in a multi-district lawsuit currently pending in the Federal Court in the Northern District of Indiana as part of a massive lawsuit against artificial hip implant maker, Biomet. The couple claims that Mr. Caccia’s Biomet M2A-Magnum artificial hip implant is defective because it failed prematurely, and he has developed metal poisoning. Mr. Caccia underwent several revision surgeries after his Biomet ReCap Femoral Resurfacing System and M2A-Magnum metal-on-metal hip replacement system prematurely failed. Our Biomet hip implant lawyers are currently investigating claims on behalf of victims across Florida and the United States who have undergone implant surgery with a Biomet M2A Magnum or other device. For a free legal consultation regarding your potential Biomet claim, please email me, Spencer Aronfeld, or call our office today at 1-866-597-4529. Para leer en español haga clic aquí. What is the Biomet M2A-Magnum Hip? Much like the Stryker Rejuvenate hip implant, the Biomet M2A-Magnum is also a metal-on-metal artificial hip replacement system. Patients implanted with it have also experienced premature hip failure and developed metallosis, or metal poisoning, due to microscopic debris being released into the body’s soft tissues as a result of the components grinding against each other. This can occur during normal daily activity such as walking, standing, or sitting. The Biomet M2A Magnum is a metal-on-metal artificial hip replacement system, a design which is associated with premature hip failure, according to some experts. To date, unlike Stryker, Biomet had not issued a warning or recall regarding its hip implants. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cc_Fr-zEn4Q Biomet Lawsuit Update Last month, Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr.–the federal judge...

Surgery Malpractice Lawyers Investigate Robotic Surgery Cases

Leer este artículo en Español. The future is now for patients undergoing surgeries performed by robots. Robotic surgery has been around since 1998–when a German patient at the Leipzig Heart Center underwent minimally invasive surgery performed by a robot. http://youtu.be/kdXb2mfK5wU In robotic surgery, the robot’s movements are controlled remotely by a human surgeon who sits at a console that features a magnified 3D high-definition view of the surgical site. According to the promoters of da Vinci, a robotic surgical system made by the American company Intuitive Surgical, the benefits for patients with robotic surgery include feeling less pain, experiencing shorter recovery time, and–depending on the operation–less blood loss, because apparently a robotic arm is more precise, has greater range of motion and, unlike a human hand, does not tremble. So far, Intuitive Surgical has sold more than 2,500 surgery robots to hospitals all over the world and enjoyed revenues in excess of $2 billion last year alone. Since going public just 13 years ago at $9 a share, Intuitive’s stock price has soared above $500 a share, making its current market value over $20 billion. MINIMALLY INVASIVE SURGERY (MIS) Minimally Invasive Surgeries performed by da Vinci robots are those where a small incision is used, rather than a larger zipper-like opening. So far, more than 1.5 million MIS operations using the da Vinci robot have been performed, ranging from abdominal general surgery and gynecology procedures to thoracic and lung operations. ROBOTIC SURGERY DANGERS In May, Intuitive issued an “urgent medical device notification” to doctors, hospitals, and the FDA that it had “identified a potential issue” with one of the...

Recalled Vaginal Mesh Cases

The country’s first trial against a manufacturer of a vaginal mesh ended during the second day of testimony when Federal Judge Joseph Goodwin declared a mistrial. The trial being heard in Charleston, West Virginia came to a grinding halt when the plaintiff’s expert, Lennox Hoyte, M.D., testified about that the defendant, CR Bard, Inc., had withdrawn the device from the market last year, in direct contradiction to the court’s ruling to exclude that fact from the jury. The case was one of four bellwether cases set for trial at that time. The four case are . . . Cisson, et al. v. C. R. Bard, Inc. 2:11-cv-00195 Queen, et al. v. C. R. Bard, Inc. 2:11-cv-00012 Rizzo, et al. v. C. R. Bard, Inc. 2:10-cv-01224 Jones v. C. R. Bard, Inc. 2:11-cv-00114 ARVE Error: no video ID set EFFECTS OF A MISTRIAL I have, sadly, experienced several times the heartbreak of a having a judge declare a mistrial. It can be very difficult and expensive for the plaintiff’s lawyers, who have blocked off enormous time and spent much money to prepare for trial. A trial of this magnitude, I imagine, took months if not years for the lawyers to prepare. At that point in the trial, a jury had already been selected, and opening arguments had been made. The defense had already heard the specific questions and how they case was themed by the plaintiffs and could go back and re-tune the defense for the next trial. It is as if after the first ten minutes of the Super Bowl, the referees had declared a “do over.” Another problem...
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