State of Arizona Sues General Motors After Recalls

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The Arizona Attorney General has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the state of Arizona against General Motors, claiming that the automaker has defrauded the state’s consumers out of $3 billion.

The complaint alleges that GM intentionally misled Arizonans through its advertising, website, and public statements.

A group of 48 state attorneys general has been pursuing a multistate investigation into GM for its handling of ignition switch defects. Thomas C. Horne, Arizona’s Attorney General, broke from this group and filed the lawsuit on behalf of Arizona alone.

In addition to allegations that GM mishandled its ignition switch recall, the complaint also states that GM manufactured millions of vehicles that were not safe, and lists multiple defects which have plagued GM cars.

Arizona’s consumer penalty statute allows for $10,000 penalties for each violation, which means that the automaker could be liable for up to $3 billion. The complaint is not seeking restitution for vehicle owners, however. The complaint only seeks civil penalties which would be paid to the state. Consumers must pursue their own remedies through either GM’s settlement fund or through multidistrict litigation pending in New York.

If you have been injured by a defective GM vehicle, you have several legal options. Contact the products liability attorneys at Phillips Law Group by calling 1-800-706-3000 and learn how to protect your rights.

To read the text of the Arizona Attorney General’s complaint, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/11/20/business/21ArizonaGMlawsuit.html

Confidential Settlements Hide Information from Takata Victims

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Takata Corp. has settled several lawsuits regarding its defective air bags prior to the claims revealing any damaging information in court.

Takata entered into at least five confidential settlements, and is in mediation with others. The claims regarding Takata’s defective air bags have generally been resolved quickly, and without litigation.

While quick settlements are beneficial for those particular claimants, the lack of litigation also means that potentially damaging information is kept confidential from other people who may have been injured by the defective airbags.

Much of the most damaging information in products liability cases is reviewed through the litigation process. Attorneys for both sides are required to produce documentation which may shed light on the development and production of defective products, and often leads to additional lawsuits when this information becomes public record. Because these cases have settled so quickly, Takata has not had to produce this documentation in court.

Takata’s airbags are part of at least ten different manufacturers’ vehicles, and have led to the recall of over 14 million automobiles worldwide. According to the current theories on the cause of the defective airbags, regulators believe that the chemical propellant which causes the airbag to deploy can degrade in hot and humid weather. The propellant can become unstable, causing the airbags to deploy with so much force that the metal housing surrounding the airbag is also shattered in the event of a collision. When the airbag deploys, these pieces of shrapnel fly out of the airbag, striking the driver's face and neck, causing serious injury or death.  

If you or your loved one was injured by a defective airbag, you may have a claim for compensation. Call 1-800-917-4000 to speak with the experienced product liability attorneys at Phillips Law Group and protect your rights today.

 

For more information about these settlements, visit: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-11-16/air-bag-settlements-keep-details-from-other-victims

Stryker Corp Agrees to Pay More Than $1.4 Billion To Settle Hip Claims

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Stryker Corporation, the makers of Rejuvenate and ABG II brand artificial hip implants, have agreed to resolve over 4,000 claims against the company for more than a billion dollars.

The hip implants were recalled in 2012 after Stryker sent recall notices to physicians and hospitals around the country. The notices advised doctors that the implants could corrode or wear away, leading to pain, swelling, or blood poisoning. The implants often had to be removed and replaced with non-defective parts.

The Stryker lawsuits were consolidated in New Jersey and Minnesota courts. Rather than go to trial, the company agreed to set aside a fund to settle all of the claims which arose before November 3, 2014.

Patients who had the Stryker implants surgically removed and underwent revision surgery before the cutoff date will receive at least $300,000 in compensation. If the patients required multiple surgeries to fix the implants, or had additional medical complications, they may be entitled to more compensation. Patients who had implants placed in both hips are eligible for double the settlement amount.

Across the U.S., approximately 20,000 people were given either the Rejuvenate or ABG II hip implants.  Patients who need revision surgery after the November 3, 2014 cut-off date are not eligible for this settlement, but will still be able to pursue lawsuits against Stryker Corp. individually.  

To learn more about the settlement, visit www.strykermodularhipsettlement.com. Attorneys for the Stryker Corp. estimate that the settlement funds will be disbursed to the claimants by the end of 2015.  

If you or your loved one had a hip replacement which failed, needed to be replaced, or caused medical complications like blood poisoning, you may be eligible for compensation. The defective products attorneys at Phillips Law Group are investigating claims against Stryker, Johnson & Johnson, and other manufacturers of defective hip implants, and would like to hear from you.

Call 1-800-706-3000 or use our case evaluation form to schedule a free consultation and learn how you can protect your legal rights if you were injured by a defective medical device. 

NHTSA Investigates Honda After Airbag Recall

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating Honda Motor Co. for failing to report injuries and deaths related to recalled Takata airbags.  

The safety organization is requiring Honda to answer 34 questions under oath regarding the way the automaker logged accident reports and searched for defects in the airbags. Takata Corp. is Honda’s largest supplier of airbag parts, and the NHTSA is investigating claims that Honda may have hidden knowledge about the defective airbags over the past decade.

“Honda and other automakers are legally obligated to report this information to us,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman, “and failure to do so will not be tolerated.”

The NHTSA indicated that Honda’s failures to report problems and defects in the Takata airbag defects may extend to other unreported problems with its vehicles.  Takata Corp. was forced to issue a massive recall after the NHTSA determined that its malfunctioning airbags can explode, causing the metal housing to break apart and spray shards of metal towards the face and neck of the vehicle occupants. At least ten million vehicles have been recalled in the United States because of the defective airbags since 2008.

If you or your loved one was injured by a Takata airbag, you may have a claim for compensation against the corporation. The attorneys at Phillips Law Group are investigating defective airbag claims, and would like to hear from you. Call 1-800-706-3000 and make sure your rights are protected after an accident.  

Prop. 46 Targets Caps On Punitive Damages in CA Medical Malpractice Cases

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This November 4th, California voters will have the chance to vote on Proposition 46, known as the Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Cap and Drug Testing of Doctors Initiative.

In 1975, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). MICRA capped non-economic damages for pain and suffering in medical malpractice lawsuits to $250,000. The measure passed because many legislators and physicians’ groups felt that massive lawsuit verdicts against doctors accused of malpractice dramatically increased malpractice insurance premiums, and ultimately affected the cost that patients had to pay for care.

If Prop. 46 is passed, California’s cap on non-economic damages (commonly known as punitive damages) will be raised from $250,000 to over a million dollars for medical negligence lawsuits. The increase in the limit on damages for pain and suffering reflects the amount of inflation from 1975 to today’s dollars. 

In addition to increasing the limit on punitive damages, Prop. 46 will also require that physicians submit to random drug and alcohol testing. This part of the measure ensures that doctors with substance abuse issues are not actively treating patients while impaired.

The measure would also utilize a state-wide database which logs the number and amount of prescriptions patients receive of certain drugs. Under the new system, doctors would check the state-wide database before prescribing narcotic painkillers to a patient. This process would, ideally, reduce the number of patients who abuse prescription painkillers by going to multiple doctors.

Supporters of this measure believe that raising the cap on punitive damages and requiring random testing would make doctors more responsible for malpractice mistakes without significantly increasing the costs of care for patients. Opponents believe the opposite, and argue that malpractice premiums would increase and that a statewide database could jeopardize the security of patient medical records.

No matter what your opinion is on Prop. 46, all Californians will have the opportunity to make their voices heard on November 4th. Learn more about the issue before you vote by visiting California’s Official Voter Information Guide

If you or your loved one has been injured by medical malpractice in California, Arizona, New Mexico or Utah, the experienced injury attorneys at Phillips Law Group are here to help. Call 1-800-706-3000 to set up your free initial consultation today!

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