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Johnson & Johnson will pay for $4.69 billion talc verdict one way or the other

Last July, Johnson & Johnson was hit with a staggering $4.69 billion verdict – one of the largest jury awards in the country – over claims that its Johnson’s Baby Powder and other talcum powder products contain asbestos – a known carcinogen – and contributed to the ovarian cancer diagnoses of 22 women. The news sent the company’s stock into its biggest annual share loss in a decade. But the company may never pay a dime of that verdict. The consumer health care giant is appealing the massive verdict. Its chances of seeing the award slashed or even stricken completely ... Read More

Monsanto tries to skirt bellwether trials in Roundup MDL

A scant six weeks before the first bellwether case goes to trial alleging Monsanto failed to warn consumers that its weed killer Roundup contains an ingredient that has been linked to cancer, the company told the California federal judge overseeing the multidistrict litigation (MDL) that consumers’ failure to warn claims are preempted by federal insecticide law. Citing the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, attorneys for Monsanto filed a motion for summary judgement claiming that the company cannot change its labeling or the formulation of its weed killer without approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Monsanto’s attorneys further argued ... Read More

U.S. Attorney General Nominee Vows to Uphold False Claims Act

Stepping back from previous criticism of the False Claims Act, William Barr, Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. Attorney General, pledged he would stand by the law that authorizes whistleblowers to sue on behalf of the U.S. government and American taxpayers. Mr. Barr, who served as the attorney general in President George H.W. Bush’s administration from 1991 to 1993, once described the False Claims Act as an “abomination” and displayed an appetite to challenge the law, which he viewed as unconstitutional. In 1989, Mr. Barr wrote that the whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act replaced the Judicial Department’s prosecutorial discretion ... Read More

First Roundup trial in MDL will be split into two phases

The first three bellwether trials in a multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California blaming an ingredient in the weed killer Roundup for causing cancer will be split into two phases. The first phase of the trials will focus on whether the ingredient glyphosate caused the plaintiffs’ cancer and, if so, the second phase will proceed to determine Bayer’s liability. The order was handed down by U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, granting a request by Bayer to separate the issues in the case of Edwin Hardeman. The order will apply to Hardeman’s bellwether trial, ... Read More

PG&E Could Be Tried for Murder for Wildfires, Attorney General Says

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), California’s largest utility, may be charged and tried for murder or manslaughter if investigators find it operated its equipment in a “reckless” manner that sparked the deadly wildfires that swept through the state in 2017 and 2018, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra told a federal judge. The Attorney General’s statement about the besieged utility, which faces monumental lawsuits and fines stretching back to the 2010 San Bruno gas explosions that killed eight people and injured several others, was submitted to a federal judge in a legal brief last month. According to The Sacramento Bee, Attorney General ... Read More

Wells Fargo Pays $575 Million To Settle Customer-Fraud Allegations

Wells Fargo will pay $575 million to resolve claims in all 50 states and the District of Columbia alleging the San Francisco-based bank violated consumer protection laws by opening millions of fake bank accounts for its customers. The bank also agreed to measures that will give its customers an extra level of protection by creating a customer restitution program, an announcement of the Dec. 28 agreement explained. Any Wells Fargo customers who haven’t been reimbursed through the restitution programs already in place at the bank can turn to a bank escalation team for relief. The settlement resolves claims that Wells Fargo ... Read More

Woman blames J&J talcum powder for her ovarian cancer diagnosis

Krystal Kim’s ovarian cancer was found by chance, during a minor surgery. She had no symptoms like bloating or pain. “That’s why it’s known as the silent killer,” she told The Philadelphia Tribune.  She underwent six rounds of chemotherapy before going into remission. When the cancer returned, she had a hysterectomy and had parts of her colon and intestines removed. That’s when she randomly took a quiz on social media asking if she had ovarian cancer and had she ever used talcum powder on her genitals for personal hygiene. She said yes to both. Then she was contacted by attorneys who ... Read More

Florida Vascular Surgeon Settles False Claims Allegations for $2.2 Million

A Florida vascular surgeon has agreed to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit brought by a whistleblower who claimed the doctor and his practice billed Medicare and other federal health care programs for vein ablation procedures that “contained false diagnoses and symptoms.” Dr. Irfran Siddiqui, owner of the Heart and Vascular Institute of Florida, will pay the U.S. $2.2 million to resolve the whistleblower lawsuit, the U.S. Attorney’ Office for the Middle District of Florida announced. According to the complaint, Dr. Siddiqui and his Davenport-based practice submitted false claims to Medicare and TRICARE from Jan. 2, 2011, to June 30, ... Read More

VW Supplier Pleads Guilty, Pays $35 Million Fine for Diesel Emissions Cheat

Volkswagen (VW) supplier IAV GmbH has pleaded guilty to a federal felony charge and agreed to pay a $35 million criminal fine for its role in developing the defeat devices for VW diesel engines that cheated U.S. emissions standards. Federal prosecutors said that Berlin, Germany-based IAV GmbH agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and VW’s U.S. customers by misleading them about whether certain VW and Audi diesel vehicles complied with federal emissions standards. IAV GmbH and its co-conspirators knew the vehicles did not meet U.S. emissions standards and worked with VW and ... Read More

On-the-job injury leaves New Jersey man disabled

A 36-year-old former steel worker disabled after sustaining serious injuries while on the job at a construction site in New Jersey will receive $5.3 million. The settlement agreement comes just one month before the case was scheduled to go to trial, according to the New Jersey Law Journal. Richard Collier filed his lawsuit in Middlesex County Superior Court in New Jersey against Airport Road Construction Management, its subsidiary Airport Road Construction, and Monmouth Equipment Sales. The case was managed by Superior Court Judge Vincent LeBlon. Collier was employed by subcontractor 360 Steel Erectors, which was hired along with several other ... Read More