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Virginia 190 articles

Verdict in whistleblower guardrail case could be breakthrough for False Claims Act suit

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Just because the U.S. government fails to intervene in a False Claims Act case doesn’t mean the lawsuit can’t prevail in court, a fact demonstrated by the $175-million verdict a Texas federal jury handed down this week in a whistleblower case against the nation’s leading guardrail manufacturer. According to the Wall Street Journal, the verdict in whistleblower Josh Harman’s case against Trinity Industries Inc. should serve as a “False Claims Act wake-up call” to companies that contract with or in other ways do business with federal agencies and programs, signaling that even false claims lawsuits without the government’s backing can ... Read More

Texas guardrail maker loses whistleblower case, jury orders company to pay $175 million

guard-rail - KCPQ-TV image

A Texas guardrail manufacturer accused by a whistleblower of defrauding the federal government has been ordered to pay $175 million by a federal jury. Dallas-based Trinity industries for years has manufactured guardrail systems for the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), which uses them on highways in most every state. In 2012, whistleblower Josh Harman, a Virginia guardrail installer and safety advocate, sued Trinity under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, accusing the company of secretly changing the design of its government-approved ET-Plus guardrail system. According to Mr. Harman, the redesigned ET-Plus guardrails cost less for Trinity to produce ... Read More

Jury awards $73 million to plaintiff in transvaginal mesh lawsuit

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A woman injured by transvaginal mesh intended to treat urinary incontinence has received the largest jury award of any plaintiff to date in a transvaginal mesh lawsuit. Boston Scientific was ordered by a West Virginia jury to pay plaintiff Martha Salazar $73 million for injuries she received from the company’s bladder sling device. Salazar, 42, claims she was a healthy woman with a full-time job when she underwent surgery to repair a condition causing urinary incontinence. But she says the transvaginal mesh that was implanted in her – the Obtryx mesh – was defective, causing severe chronic pain. The $73 million ... Read More

Whistleblower case against guardrail manufacturer to be re-tried this week

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A whistleblower who claims a leading guardrail manufacturer secretly changed the design of its guardrail systems, making them extremely dangerous and in some cases deadly, will have his case heard again this week after the first trial ended in a mistrial. Joshua Harmon, a safety advocate from Virginia, is suing Trinity Industries Inc. under the qui tam provisions of the federal False Claims Act, which allow private individuals to sue on behalf of the U.S. government. Mr. Harmon alleges that Trinity secretly changed the design of its widely used ET guardrail system to save money, shortening the end terminals. But ... Read More

Takeda to pay $2 million in latest Actos bladder cancer trial

Actos (pioglitazone) Type 2 diabetes medication

A Philadelphia jury deliberated more than five hours before ordering Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., was ordered to pay more than $2 million to a woman who claimed the company’s type 2 diabetes drug Actos caused her to develop bladder cancer. The verdict is the latest of thousands involving Actos bladder cancer claims to go to trial. Plaintiff Frances Wisniewski argued that Japan-based Takeda knew of the bladder cancer risks associated with Actos but failed to adequately warn doctors or patients of the risk. Wisniewski is the seventh Actos user to go to trial. A previous case resulted in a $9 billion ... Read More

Companies involved in West Virginia chemical spill that contaminated drinking water face numerous lawsuits

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In January of 2014, 300,000 West Virginia residents were left without water for more than a week due to a chemical spill in the Elk River, just upstream from the Kanawha County municipal water intake in Charleston, W. Va. At 6 p.m. on the day of the spill, the Office of the Governor of West Virginia issued a “Do Not Use” order on the residents’ tap water. The spill originated from Freedom Industries, a Charleston-based manufacturer of specialty chemicals used in the mining, steel, and cements industries. Soon after the spill was discovered, a pungent odor permeated the cities near the river. ... Read More

Another transvaginal mesh trial is underway in West Virginia

bladder sling

Another trial is underway in Charleston, W.Va., alleging defectively designed transvaginal mesh products caused serious injuries. The federal lawsuit was filed by Jo Huskey and her husband Allen against Ethicon Inc. and Johnson & Johnson. Transvaginal mesh, also referred to as vaginal mesh or bladder sling, is a type of surgical mesh used to treat pelvic floor disorders including pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. It is inserted through the vagina to hold up organs that have prolapsed out of place, putting pressure in the pelvic cavity and causing symptoms such as pain, discomfort and incontinence. The mesh has ... Read More

“The UPS Store” in 24 states hit by a data breach

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A computer virus may have targeted 51 “The UPS Store” locations in 24 different states, resulting in the exposure of credit and debit card information of consumers all over the nation. According to UPS spokeswoman Chelsea Lee, the compromised information includes names, card numbers as well as postal and email addresses from at least 100,000 transactions taking place between Jan. 20 and Aug. 11 of this year. UPS is unaware of any fraudulent activity having occurred due to the attack, Lee said. A bulletin from the Department of Homeland Security brought the suspected malware to the attention of U.S. retailers, ... Read More

Judge allows suit to move forward against cleanup companies for improper chemical dumping following West Virginia spill

drinking water

Two West Virginia waste management companies charged with cleanup of a chemical spill that polluted the Elk River lost their bid to have an environmental lawsuit filed against them in a West Virginia federal court thrown out. The City of Hurricane, W.V., and the Putnam County Commission filed the lawsuit in May, alleging that Waste Management Inc. and Disposal Service Inc. improperly disposed to toxic chemicals it collected from the January 9 spill caused by a Freedom Industries coal-cleaning plant. The plaintiffs accuse the two companies of dumping propylene glycol phenyl ether, dipropylene glycol phenyl ether, and crude MCHM containing ... Read More

Federal court holds Chinese drywall companies in contempt for ignoring U.S. litigation

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China’s state-owned drywall manufacturers have abandoned litigation in the U.S. involving thousands of American homeowners who sued the companies over allegedly toxic and corrosive drywall they claim has damaged their homes and their health. In addition to not responding to the multidistrict litigation (MDL) in a Louisiana federal court, Taishan Gypsum Co. Ltd. and other gypsum manufacturers owned by the Chinese government’s Assets Supervision and Administration Commission ignored a $2.7 million default judgment against them in 2010. U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon held Taishan in civil and criminal contempt on July 17 for its refusal to appear in court to ... Read More