September 2, 2006
She wants her $2M back; 9/11 widow whose lawyer won her award of $6.7M now says his one-third fee was greedy and excessive
Article yesterday in New York's Newsday -- She wants her $2M back; 9/11 widow whose lawyer won her award of $6.7M now says his one-third fee was greedy and excessive, by Alfonso A. Castillo:
After losing her husband in the World Trade Center attacks, Laura Balemian turned
to a Huntington lawyer to help her assure financial security for her children.
The lawyer, Thomas Troiano, 62, helped her get that security with an award of
$6.7 million. But in the end, Troiano collected the highest legal fee of any attorney
representing a 9/11 family trying to collect from a federal compensation fund, officials
say. In fact, at $2.2 million, he received more than most of 7,300 victims' families
Now, years after agreeing to pay the fee, Balemian wants her money back.
Exxon Asked to Pay $92M for Lingering Problems From 1989 Alaska Spill
Article on law.com -- Exxon Asked to Pay $92M for Lingering Problems From 1989 Alaska Spill, by Jeanette J. Lee:
State and federal authorities on Thursday demanded $92 million from ExxonMobil Corp.
to clean up oil that has lingered in Prince William Sound and the Gulf of Alaska since
gushing from the Exxon Valdez tanker in 1989.
A $900 million settlement in 1991 included a "reopener" provision that allows a request
for up to $100 million more in cleanup money, as long as government officials prove that
wildlife or its habitat were still suffering spill-related setbacks that were unforeseen when
the settlement was signed.
Elgin debates ban on smoking: Health, wealth, bars, casino are discussed
Article in today's Chicago Tribune -- Elgin debates ban on smoking: Health, wealth, bars, casino are discussed, by Amanda Marrazzo:
Elgin officials said this week that they are considering an ordinance that would restrict
smoking in restaurants, bars, bowling alleys and VFW halls.
Among the opposition to the idea at Wednesday's special City Council meeting were
restaurant owners and employees, and casino officials.
Elgin's current ordinance prohibits smoking in a few public places, such as municipal
buildings, movie theaters and schools. Opponents said a ban would hurt all who make a
living in the bar and restaurant business
Cigarette makers request stay on new RICO ruling
Article in today's Chicago Tribune -- Cigarette makers request stay on new RICO ruling, from Bloomberg News: " Altria Group Inc.'s Philip Morris USA and other U.S. cigarette makers asked a federal judge to delay enforcing an Aug. 17 racketeering decision that the companies claim would cost them hundreds of millions of dollars."
Study Finds Silver Fillings Not Harmful
Article in today's Washington Post -- Study Finds Silver Fillings Not Harmful, by Andrew Bridges:
Silver fillings used to patch cavities aren't dangerous even though they expose dental
patients to the toxic metal mercury, federal health researchers said Friday.
The Food and Drug Administration reviewed 34 recent research studies and found "no
significant new information" that would change its determination that mercury-based
fillings don't harm patients, except in rare cases where they have allergic reactions.
September 1, 2006
Search Terms Mean Savings in E-Discovery
Article in today's Legal Intelligencer -- Search Terms Mean Savings in E-Discovery, by Kamal Kamara:
With the impending changes in the federal rules related to electronic discovery,
opposing parties will be required to discuss any and all discovery issues involving
electronically stored information (ESI).
In this context, discussions will likely focus on what information will be examined
(e-mail, electronic documents, Web mail, instant messages), where this information
is stored (computer hard drives, "ghost images," backup servers), whether it is reasonable
or unduly burdensome to access and review all potentially relevant information, and
how the information will be produced.
In matters where examination of all requested e-discovery would be unduly burdensome,
and make no doubt the producing party will put forth the argument, it is becoming
common practice to employ the use of search terms to decrease the costs of ESI access
Pollution in the Water, Lawsuits in the Air: With Damage to Ecosystem Jeopardizing Tourist Industry, Oklahoma Fights Back
Article in the Washington Post -- Pollution in the Water, Lawsuits in the Air: With Damage to Ecosystem Jeopardizing Tourist Industry, Oklahoma Fights Back, by Juliet Eilperin:
Every time the rain comes down, muddy water laden with phosphorus,
other contaminants flows into the Illinois River from chicken farms nearby and just
across the border in Arkansas.
inflow of nutrients has begun to change the river and the reservoir it
Ferry Lake. At times the water is clogged with fish-killing algae, occasionally emitting
a foul odor that affects the drinking water and undercuts the area's attraction as a tourist
August 31, 2006
Texas Juror Took Loans From Plaintiff in Vioxx Case
Article today on law.com -- Texas Juror Took Loans From Plaintiff in Vioxx Case, by Lynn Brezosky:
Attorneys for Merck & Co. want to see bank and cell phone
records that could
show the extent of a juror's financial relationship with a plaintiff who won a
$32 million verdict against the drug company in the death of a 71-year-old man
who took Vioxx.
Jose Manuel Rios, a $22,000-a-year school janitor who served
on the panel that
found Merck liable for Leonel Garza's fatal heart attack after taking the painkiller
Vioxx, testified in a post-trial deposition to borrowing up to $10,000 interest free
from Garza's widow, Felicia, the plaintiff in the lawsuit against Merck. He said the
loans included $2,500 that was paid off just weeks before he was selected as a juror
in the case.
3 towns prodded to bar smoking: Lake County hosts forum to push ban
Article in today's Chicago Tribune -- 3 towns prodded to bar smoking: Lake County hosts forum to push ban, by Dave Wischnowsky:
With eight Lake County communities
already banning smoking in public places,
health officials worked Tuesday to persuade North Chicago, Highwood and Green
Oaks to consider similar ordinances over bacon and eggs in Vernon Hills.
The event, co-hosted by the Lake County Health Department and the American
Heart Association, was the first of three breakfast forums scheduled as part of a
goal to make Lake County smoke-free by the end of 2007.
NYC Issues 9/11 Medical Guidelines
Article in today's Washington Post -- NYC Issues 9/11 Medical Guidelines, by Devlin Barrett:
New York City health officials issued long-awaited guidelines Thursday to help
doctors detect and treat 9/11-related illnesses _ medical advice considered crucial
for hundreds of ground zero workers now scattered across the United States.
The New York City Health Department had previously offered instructions for treating
post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and mental illness resulting from Sept. 11
experiences. But health experts, advocates and politicians complained the city had shelved
instructions on how to treat the physical ailments of Sept. 11.
Look Who's Left Standing: Legal Penalties in Frauds Are Seldom Paid by Legal Advisers
Article in today's Washington Post -- Look Who's Left Standing: Legal Penalties in Frauds Are Seldom Paid by Legal Advisers, by Carrie Johnson:
Four years after regulators launched a task force to stamp out business corruption,
numerous chief executives are on their way to prison, two of the nation's biggest
accounting firms are defunct or on probation, and investment banks have shelled
out billions of dollars in settlements.
But lawyers serving fraud-ridden companies have emerged relatively unscathed.
Ban on Sale of Skin Lighteners Proposed
Article in today's New York Times -- Ban on Sale of Skin Lighteners Proposed, by the Associated Press: "The Food and Drug Administration proposed a ban on over-the-counter sales of skin-lightening products, saying possible health risks cannot justify their being sold without a prescription."
Tests Reveal Fake Drugs from Canada
Article in today's Los Angeles Times -- Tests Reveal Fake Drugs from Canada, from the Associated Press:
Testing revealed fake versions of Lipitor and other widely used
ordered through websites linked to a Canadian pharmacy, the Food and Drug Administration
who bought drugs through the 10 websites should not use the medications
because they may not be safe, the FDA said. The sites include RxNorth.com,
Canadiandrugstore.com and Rxbyfax.com.
Merck Wins New Trial on Vioxx Award
Article in today's Los Angeles Times -- Merck Wins New Trial on Vioxx Award, from Reuters:
A judge Wednesday threw out a $50-million jury award against Merck & Co.,
calling it excessive for a former FBI agent who had suffered a heart attack while
using the drug maker's Vioxx painkiller, and ordered a new trial on damages.
In a written ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Eldon Fallon found that the jury's
findings on Merck's liability were reasonable, but that the $50-million compensatory
damage assessment was not.
August 30, 2006
U.S. Report: More Nicotine in Cigarettes
Article in today's Washington Post -- U.S. Report: More Nicotine in Cigarettes, by Steve LeBlanc:
The level of nicotine that smokers typically consume per cigarette has risen
about 10 percent in the past six years, making it harder to quit and easier to get
hooked, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Massachusetts Department
The study shows a steady climb in the amount of nicotine delivered to the lungs of
smokers regardless of brand, with overall nicotine yields increasing by about 10 percent.
Judge Calls for New Trial in Vioxx Case
Article in today's New York Times -- Judge Calls for New Trial in Vioxx Case, by the Associated Press:
The $50 million compensatory damage award in a federal Vioxx case this month was ''grossly
excessive,'' and a new trial must be held to decide damages for a retired FBI agent who suffered a
heart attack after taking the painkiller, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
''No reasonable jury could have found'' that Gerald Barnett was entitled to $50 million in
compensatory damages from Vioxx maker Merck & Co. because of the heart attack he suffered in
2002, U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon ruled.
The new trial is limited to the question of damages.
Schering to Pay $435 Million
Schering-Plough Corp. agreed to pay $435 million in connection with a federal investigation into Schering's marketing of drugs for unapproved uses and overcharging Medicaid for various drugs, according to an article in today's L.A. Times. Federal investigators found evidence Schering marketed drugs for off-label uses not approved by the FDA. For example, Schering pleaded guilty to making false statements in connection with Temodar, which generated $588 million in sales last year. According to U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, Temodar had been FDA-approved only for treatment of anaplastic astrocytoma, a brain tumor, in patients who had not responded well to other treatments, but Schering marketed the drug for other brain cancers, even though such treatments were not FDA-approved. Based on their own expertise, doctors may independently prescribe medications for off-label purposes.
August 29, 2006
Welcome to the Mass Tort Litigation Blog!
Welcome to the Mass Tort Litigation blog, a member of the Law Professor Blogs network. This blog will endeavor to serve as a far-reaching reference for mass tort litigation resources from the web, and also provide timely updates on developments in mass tort litigation. Aimed primarily at law professors, the blog will also provide information of interest to practicing lawyers, judges, and policmakers involved with, or interested in, mass tort litigation. I hope you will routinely return to the site to remain informed about the expansive field of mass tort litigation.