Investigating Johnson and Johnson’s Medication Invokana (Canagliflozin)

Johnson and Johnson’s medication known as Invokana (canagliflozin) is currently being investigated by class-action lawyers from around the country in light of recently released reports indicating that people who are taking this drug are at increased risk for developing serious medical conditions, such as kidney failure, heart attacks, and strokes. Blood sugar is supposed to be metabolized in the kidneys and provides the body with fuel. Invokana, marketed to people with Type 2 Diabetes, is purportedly designed to inhibit glucose excretion through urine by preventing the body from metabolizing sugar, while actually delivering unmetabolized, unfiltered sugar directly to the kidneys. Invokana is the only Type 2 Diabetes drug that does this.  As a result, the medication has been found to actually increase glucose while simultaneously decreasing ketones.  As of today, these drugs have not been approved for use by Type 1 Diabetics. Diabetics are required to check their blood-sugar levels frequently.  One of the problems with this medication is that it can affect blood-sugar data.  Type 1 Diabetics commonly experience ketoacidosis.  An increase in occurrences in ketoacidosis among Type 2 Diabetics who rarely have had a problem with increased acid levels in their systems is now being reported FDA WARNS OF INVOKANA RISKS In May 2015, the FDA released an advisory opinion warning that these Type 2 Diabetes medicines– known as sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, like Invokana–can cause a variety of serious medical conditions, such as diabetic ketoacidosis.  Ketoacidosis is a chemical imbalance in the body, which can result in major organ failure, diabetic comas, and death.   In September 2015, the FDA reported an increased risk of fractures associated...

Hundreds of Fraud Claims Already Filed Against Volkswagen

Hundreds of lawsuits have already been filed in courts around the country against Volkswagen, the world’s largest automaker, for what many lawyers consider to be the largest corporate fraud in history. What do we know so far?  “Clean Diesel” was a marketing scam rigged to capitalize on a computer programming software known as a “defeat device” that altered the emissions data these cars actually produced on the road in real-world conditions, as opposed to in the laboratories. The fraud was discovered by accident when a West Virginia University scientist tested some Volkswagen cars and found that the emissions were out of compliance because of software manipulation.  At first VW denied this, claiming that WVU’s tests were flawed. The actual emissions numbers violated the Clean Air Act.  Millions of consumers had purchased VW diesel vehicles they believed to be “green,” or a least greener than traditional gasoline engines.  The Clean Air Act specifically prohibits any manufacturer from installing any device that lowers the actual emissions of a vehicle being tested by the EPA–as compared to what the vehicle actually creates when being driven on the road. Before any vehicle can be sold in the United States, it must meet strict governmental standards and be certified by the EPA.  Diesel engines use a different mix of fuel than gasoline engines.  If a diesel engine does not get enough oxygen to combust the fuel, it will emit various pollutants, such as nitrogen oxide.  Ironically, higher mpg diesels were found to produce the most pollutants. One reason that VW may have been motivated to rig the data would be greed, in terms of...

How Can I Sue Volkswagen For Fraud?

Our Miami consumer fraud lawyers are currently investigating claims against Volkswagen, the world’s largest automaker, following the revelation that it has participated in one of the biggest scandals in United States automotive history. For decades Volkswagen has purposely marketed its cars as green and environmentally friendly to lure buyers into purchasing its diesel-engine models.  Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) learned that senior VW executives knowingly hacked their cars’ emission data to deceive both U.S. regulators and the public about just how much pollution their diesel engines actually create. Last week VW Chairman Martin Winterkorn was forced to resign, and now VW faces EPA fines that could reach $18 billion; class actions, other civil lawsuits, and certainly U.S. criminal investigations will follow. The EPA has threatened to withhold approval for the company’s 2016 Volkswagen and Audi diesel models, according to a letter sent by the EPA to Johnson and VW’s attorney. The letter detailed some of the timetable for the EPA’s actions. The cars in question are Volkswagen models with “clean-diesel” engines starting in 2008 with the 2009-model Jetta TDI.  Ironically in 2008 the Jetta was named “Green Car of the Year” at the LA Auto Show.  One of the biggest selling points was geared to California consumers, who are subject to strict pollution laws because of the abundance of smog and cancer-related soot. As a result, Jetta buyers received an income tax credit of $1,300. VW’s fraud was revealed by a group of researchers at a West Virginia University lab that placed emission-monitoring equipment on a rented 2012 Jetta and a 2013 Passat.  Over seven weeks in...

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. 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 found...
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