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Articles Posted in Products Liability

IKEA has issued a recall of 3 million more window blinds after a child was nearly strangled to death. IKEA has previously issued a recall for approximately 1 million blinds. This recall includes all Roman and roll-up blinds sold at IKEA from 1998 through June 2009.

The problem with window blinds is that children are choking on the blinds themselves when they are in reach. Certainly, it is quite hard to imagine how kids do this – it takes a series of “if-then” actions on the part of the child. But there are a lot of kids in this country and a lot of window blinds which mathematically leads to outcomes that were unexpected.

The ultimate solution to this problem – automatic window blinds – are cost-prohibitive for the average consumer.

I found this link from the Daily Record’s blog to a rare Daily Double about spotting a prospective hold out juror; it was both funny and educational. Of course, it would have been a lot more educational if Maryland had a voir dire process that allowed you to actually learn something about the jurors besides their name, rank and serial number.

An article that John Bratt and I wrote has been accepted for publication in December in Trial, the flagship publication for the American Association of Justice. The article is about mediations in catastrophic personal injury cases. We finished what I hope is the final draft today.

John Cord’s Drug Recall Lawyer Blog reports that Plaintiffs in 23 Yasmin/Yaz birth control lawsuits filed a motion with the Judicial Panel on Multi-district Litigation requesting consolidation and/or coordination of 32 and counting federal Yasmin/Yaz lawsuits.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is getting heat because before she was elected to Congress in 2006, she spent much of her career as a lawyer working at a mega New York law firm representing the world’s largest cigarette company, Philip Morris. She apparently spends a good bit of time between 1995 to 1999 helping Philip Morris fight the Justice Department’s efforts to get the tobacco company to produce damaging research and other internal documents regarding its knowledge about the health risks of tobacco products.

My first reaction is that you shouldn’t judge people for the clients they represent. I defended drug companies during that same period and while I’m not proud of this, I’m not ashamed either. I’m sure Martin O’Malley is not ashamed of defending criminals. But Dorothy Samuels has a different take on it in the New York Times that I think deserves airing:

Professor Stephen Gillers of New York University Law School, one of the country’s leading legal ethics experts, distinguishes between publicly criticizing lawyers because of the people they represent, which he says he would not do, and how they carry out the representation.

We added on the Miller & Zois website the internal list that our lawyers keep of arbitrators and mediators in Maryland who we believe mediate or arbitrate personal injury cases.

As we make clear, this is not a list of our recommended mediators or arbitrators, just a collection of those that are doing the work. We refer to the list if arbitrating or mediating a case so it occurred to me that others might want to have the same option, be it another personal injury lawyer or even an insurance company.

The Maryland Daily Record reports that the Maryland Court of Appeals will hear a challenge to Maryland’s statutory cap on non-economic damages involving a lead paint case in Baltimore City.

I think it is interesting the Maryland high court granted cert in this case. I’m not optimistic. But boy would the landscape flip here if the Maryland Court of Appeals agrees these caps are unjust under Maryland’s Constitution.

Journal of the American Medical Association reports on a study suggesting that doctors may want to prescribe stroke victims antidepressants right away. Researchers in Iowa gave low doses of the SSRI antidepressant Lexapro to stroke patients. The patients on the drug were 4.5 times less likely to develop depression than patients given a placebo.

If this study is replicated, the results are astonishing given the rather limited efficacy of SSRIs generally. Similar findings may lead to the use of the much-maligned SSRI antidepressants despite the criticism of recent years. Almost a quarter of a million Americans develop depression within two years after having a stroke. As is often the case, depression affects outcome: stroke patients with depression recover less quickly and are more likely to die.

SSRIs, such as Prozac, Lexapro, Cipralex, Esertia, and Zoloft, have a lot of troubling side effects. While it took almost a decade for the labeling to reflect the risks, SSRIs cause an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and actions. The New England Journal of Medicine and other medical journals have also reported that some SSRI antidepressants are linked to an increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) in children whose mothers used SSRIs after the 20th week of gestation. SSRIs have also been linked to heart, cranial, lung, and abdominal defects. If all of that is not enough, extreme reactions have also been reported in patients when they stop taking some SSRIs.

This post was originally written in 2008.  We do not know of any active Chantix suicide lawsuits that are pending in 2019.  Ultimately, Pfizer paid almost $300 million to settle thousands of lawsuits alleging adverse neuropsychiatric effects from Chantix.  The average settlement value of the Chantix lawsuits was not high.  But some suicide cases were seven-figure settlements.

In 2016, there was a study done that was published in Lancet that concluded that Chantix did not cause suicidal ideations or actions.  Some defense lawyers have argued this is an example of litigation that should not have settled because the science was unclear.  But others have pushed back, arguing that the Lancet study (called the EAGLES study) was scientifically unsound.

This is a complex issue. I suspect Chantix has saved lives.  I don’t think there was ever a good argument to take the product off the market. (Cf. I may have suggested the possibility below in 2008.)  But if there is a concern about the drug, should the manufacturer provide the facts surrounding that concern so doctors and patients can decide for themselves?