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Childers Schlueter & Smith Helps Brings Holiday Cheer and Toys To Deserving Children

December 11th, 2014

Our firm is proud to be a part of the Boys and Girls Club’s 2014 holiday gift program. We are helping to ensure that 50 children in need receive gifts this Holiday Season. We are also sponsoring two deserving families in need of help.  We hope to spread happiness and cheer in the community, and in a small way make the holidays better for those we are helping.  All of us at Childers, Schlueter & Smith value giving back to the community, and we wish everyone a joyous Holiday Season.

Boys & Girls Club Photo 12.11.14

You can learn more about the Boys and Girls Club of Atlanta and the good work they are doing by visiting their  website: http://www.bgcma.org/

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Chantix Lawsuits Settled for $300 Million

December 9th, 2014

All of the nearly 2,900 lawsuits against the smoking cessation drug Chantix have been settled for approximately $300 million, and a federal judge in Alabama ruled earlier this month that the nationwide litigation should be dismissed.

More than 10 million smokers in the U.S. have been prescribed Chantix to help them stop smoking. The drug is highly effective as an aid to smoking cessation, but it has been blamed for triggering suicidal thoughts, behavioral changes, hostility, agitation, depression, and other psychological problems in patients.

In September, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration updated the warnings and precautions section on Chantix to include information from some new studies that have found that the drug’s psychological effects may not be as bad as originally thought, but an FDA advisory panel voted overwhelmingly on October 16 to retain the most serious warnings. Pfizer Inc., the manufacturer of Chantix, had been seeking to have the Black Box warning removed, but only one advisory panel member voted in favor of removal, while 11 voted to maintain the warning, and six voted to strengthen the labeling to include references to sleep disturbances.

The panel also recommended that any further changes to the Black Box warnings should not be considered until after Pfizer completes a post-marketing study anticipated in the third quarter of 2015. Had the Black Box warning been removed, it would have been difficult to have it reinstated later, even if the post-marketing study showed negative findings, what some experts consider to be a motivating factor in the company’s urging to have the warnings removed.

Soon after Chantix was approved for use in 2006, the drug has been associated with reports of suicide and violence. Sales fell to $648 million in 2013 from $846 million in 2008, and Pfizer has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to settle the lawsuits.

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Complications Linked to DePuy Pinnacle Hip Replacement System

December 4th, 2014

If you have experienced problems or complications after receiving a hip replacement utilizing the DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant system, legal recourse may be available to you.

hipThe DePuy Pinnacle is similar in many respects to the recalled DePuy ASR hip system, which was taken off the market in August 2010 because of a higher than anticipated failure rate, which is likely related to the design of the artificial hip.

The Pinnacle system was designed to accommodate younger hip replacement patients by providing more flexibility and range of motion than existing hip replacement products, but the metal-on-metal feature of the system, which was created to help lower failure rates, instead has resulted in more serious problems. 

 

 

Problems with the DePuy Pinnacle System

Some individuals who have received DePuy Hip Replacement systems are reporting debilitating symptoms such as:

  • Unexplained hip pain
  • Problems standing or walking
  • Reduced or lost mobility
  • Dislocation of the hip implant
  • Infection
  • Early hip replacement failure
  • Need for additional hip revision surgery

The metal-on-metal components of the DePuy Pinnacle system has been found to result in metallosis, biologic toxicity and a high failure rate due to microscopic metal particles that are shed when the parts rub against one another. Placement of the system is extremely difficult, even for the most talented surgeons, and without perfect placement, problem results may be intensified.

FDA approval for the DePuy Pinnacle artificial hip system was given to Johnson & Johnson and their DePuy Orthopaedics subsidiary in 2000 under the 510(k) approval process, which does not require rigorous premarket approval testing. Instead, the system was approved as a substantial equivalent to older hip replacement devices.

Doctors who are tracking groups of patients who received the Pinnacle estimate that more than 10 percent of the devices will likely fail in the next two or three years, according to sources.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one received a hip implant and have experienced complications or had to undergo revision surgery as a result, contact our metal-on-metal hip implant lawyers today for a free case evaluation and learn about your legal options. There is no obligation. Our attorneys will work closely with you to seek justice and fight for compensation for your injuries.

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Do I have a Recalled Hip Implant?

December 1st, 2014

Our firm is frequently contacted by patients from all over the country to help determine whether their hip implant has been recalled or is defective.  This is currently a very common question following the recent announcement of the proposed settlement of a large number of claims relating to recalled Stryker Rejuvenate and ABGII hip implants for approximately $1.4 Billion.

Trying to determine whether you even have a recalled or defective hip implant can be frustrating, as there is no hip recalldatabase a patient can review to make that determination.  Additionally, it is often difficult to obtain this information from the hospital where the hip replacement surgery took place or from your implanting surgeon.  They are busy and often cannot release that information unless and until you to complete and submit specific forms to obtain your medical records.

The good news is – we can help.  Our hip implant recall lawyers at Childers, Schlueter & Smith have been working on these cases for several years, and we know the right questions to ask and how to get the information quickly.  With approaching settlement deadlines and statutes of limitation, it is critical that you figure out what type of hip implant you received, and whether your hip device has been recalled.

Please call us at 1-800-641-0098 or email us intake@cssfirm.com for an immediate and free initial review.

Our hip recall lawyers, led by firm founder Richard Schlueter, have spoken with and assisted thousands of patients all over the country, including patients implanted with the following hip implant devices:

Stryker Rejuvenate

Stryker ABG II Modular-Neck

Stryker Accolade TMZF

DePuy ASR

DePuy Pinnacle with Ultamet liners

Biomet Magnum M2a and Magnum M2a Taper

Zimmer Durom Cup

Wright Profemur Modular Neck

Wright Conserve Hip Implants

Wright Dynasty Acetabular Cup

If you know the date of your hip replacement surgery, the hospital where the surgery took place, and the name of your implanting surgeon, we can quickly help you determine if you received a recalled implant or a device with a known defect.Hip Implant X-Ray

Other limited forms of information can also help us determine what type of hip implant device you have. Some patients only have a portion of their records, and do not have the have the “implant stickers” that identify the specific make and model of their implanted device. We frequently receive records via e-mail, fax, or text message, and can review them immediately.  We also can review photos or x-rays to narrow down or definitively determine the specific hip implant involved.  With the large number of hip implants that have been recalled over the past several years, it is important that you know what type of implant you have.  Without this information, a patient may not appreciate the need to follow up with their doctor, and may not discover their injuries until they have progressed to the point of causing long-term and/or permanent health problems.

If you have questions or think you may have a defective or recall hip implant device, call or e-mail us now to get answers: 1-800-641-0098 or intake@cssfirm.com

There is no obligation and all initial reviews are free of charge.

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Update: Stryker Rejuvenate and ABGII Hip Global Settlement Announced

November 3rd, 2014

Just over two years since the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABGII hip implant products were recalled from the market in June 2012, national leadership in the multi-district litigation (MDL) today announced a global settlement proposal for all Stryker Rejuvenate and ABGII hip implant victims who have undergone revision surgery to remove and replace their recalled Stryker hip implant on or before November 2, 2014.  The settlement proposal includes a base award amount of $300,000.00 to each claimant who has undergone revision surgery on or before to November 2, 2014, and otherwise qualifies for the settlement. There are certain limited potential reductions to the base award for age, prior hip revisions, and other relevant factors.  Claimants may also receive additional compensation, referred to in the proposed settlement as “Enhancements,” at a later date if they can demonstrate that they meet the eligibility requirements for the categories set forth in the settlement agreement.

Stryker-Rejuvenate-Hip-Replacement-Recall-Although participation is voluntary, it is expected that many of those that qualify (those who have had their recalled Stryker hip removed and replaced on or before November 2, 2014) will benefit from the settlement program, and may ultimately decide to participate in the settlement.  Any such decision should be made on an individual, case-by-case basis.

The following is a basic summary highlighting key aspects of the Master Settlement Agreement:

The settlement program applies to patients who are U.S. citizens and residents who had either an ABG II Modular Neck System or a Rejuvenate Modular Neck System implanted in their bodies in the United States, and who had a qualified surgery to remove and replace the recalled device on or before November 2, 2014.  The settlement program is also open to certain patients who have been deemed to be too sick or medically unstable to undergo a necessary revision surgery.

At Childers, Schlueter & Smith, our attorneys will immediately undertake to determine how the proposed settlement will affect each of our clients, and will work with each client individually to carefully consider the benefits of the proposed settlement so that they can make an informed personal decision on whether or not to participate.  As a nationally appointed leader in this litigation, founding partner Richard R. Schlueter will ensure each and every one of our clients has all of the information he/she needs to make the best choice for his/her unique situation.   Richard Schlueter has been involved in the various hip implant litigations (including DePuy ASR/Pinnacle, Zimmer Durom Cups, Biomet M2a Magnum and Wright Conserve Plus among many others) for several years, and has unique knowledge relating to hip implant failures and the injuries caused by those failures. Our current and future clients will be continue to be very well represented and informed during the entire process.

Attorneys representing those interested in participating in the Stryker hip implant settlement will have to register their clients in the program on or before the initial reporting deadline of December 14, 2014.  After that, the next deadline will be the formal enrollment of each individual patient who chooses to participate into the Settlement Program.  Those qualified claimants who would like to participate in the settlement program must enroll by March 2, 2015.  If less than 95% of the qualified claimants elect to participate in the settlement, Stryker has the ability to walk away and cancel the settlement program.  Stryker must make that decision on or before June 15, 2015.  Assuming the participation threshold is met and the settlement continues after June 15, 2015, the deadline to file claims for Enhanced benefits is September 30, 2015.  Additional compensation through the Enhanced benefits portion of the settlement will relate to damage to the femur, soft tissue damage, additional procedures and infection.  There is a cap on the Enhanced damages so that most total claims (Base award and Enhanced benefits) will be no more than $550,000.00 per claimant.

Patients-Suing-Over-Recalled-Stryker-Hip-ImplantBased on the timing of the deadlines in the proposed settlement, it is unlikely that any settlement payments will be made prior to late summer or early fall 2015.

For patients who are not eligible for the settlement program, Stryker’s existing program for reimbursement of eligible out of pocket costs, administered by Broadspire, remains available.  The decision to undergo a revision surgery is a medical decision, not a legal decision, and should be made only by patients in consultation with their surgeons.  If you were implanted with a recalled Stryker Rejuvenate or ABGII hip implant product but are not eligible for the settlement program, all of your legal rights and claims are preserved and you will not be affected so long as you have a filed legal claim with the Court.  Patients who have been implanted with a recalled Stryker hip in both hips (referred to as “bilateral” hip implants), in whom only one hip has been revised, will retain all of their claims and legal rights in regard to the unrevised hip, even if they participate in the settlement for their revised hip.

Childers, Schlueter & Smith is committed to continue litigating all claims for our clients who don’t qualify, who are arbitrarily penalized so as to not receive an offer under this proposal, who have not had revision surgery by today’s date, and those who choose not to participate in the proposed settlement.  If you have a recalled Stryker Rejuvenate or ABGII, please call us for a free consultation regarding your legal options.

For those looking for answers and guidance on these and/or any other Stryker hip implant related issues, we welcome you to contact our office for more information.

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UN Says World’s Favorite Drug Very Dangerous

September 16th, 2014

Marijuana, now legal in several American states, is more dangerous than people think, according to a chief researcher at the United Nations.

Many people think of marijuana as a relatively low-risk drug, but according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s annual report, its use, particularly at young ages, can be extremely to health. Some of the adverse health effects associated with marijuana use include:

  • Lung problems
  • Memory impairment
  • Respiratory problems
  • Increased risk of heart attack
  • Impaired judgment and motor coordination

Although the perception is that marijuana is the least harmful of illicit drugs, the UNODC cautions that there has been a visible increase in the number of people seeking treatment for disorders caused by marijuana use over the past decade.

Nearly two-thirds of the nations surveyed for the report reported that cannabis was the main drug used in their countries in 2012. The UNODC estimates that nearly 180 million people worldwide consumed marijuana that year, much more than the 34.4 million that used the next most popular drug, amphetamines. Although global cannabis use dropped between 2011 and 2012, U.S. consumption continues to rise, at least in part affected by the 2012 votes to legalize recreational marijuana use in Colorado and Wisconsin.

Hard Habit to Break

Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is additive, according to DrugAbuse.gov. Experts estimate that approximately nine percent of marijuana users become addicted to the drug. The number increases to 17 percent, or one in six among those who start young, and to 25-50 percent for those who use marijuana daily.

Long term marijuana users trying to quit often experience some of the same withdrawal symptoms associated with other illicit drugs, including irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and an intense craving for the drug. Although not currently available, developments have been made in medications designed to block the intoxicating effects of marijuana, ease withdrawal symptoms, and prevent individuals from relapsing.

Research indicates that marijuana also may cause problems in daily life, or at least make someone’s existing problems worse. Heavy marijuana users commonly report lower life satisfaction, poorer mental and physical health, relationship problems, and a lower level of academic and career success than those who don’t use the drug.

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Collisions With Large Trucks No Small Matter

September 12th, 2014

Because of the weight and size of tractor-trailer vehicles compared to passenger cars, collisions involving the two often result in very serious injuries, particularly for those traveling in smaller vehicles.

Driver Regulations

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, commercial truck drivers must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be able to control and manage their vehicles
  • Meet certain physical standards
  • Hold a state-issued commercial driver’s license
  • Have English language skills that are adequate to meet the requirements of the job
  • Be able to understand and comply with traffic laws

Commercial drivers are prohibited from operating tractor-trailers when they are too tired or ill to drive, and when they are impaired by drugs and alcohol. They are required to operate at or below the posted speed limit, and in 2011 rules that limit and /or prohibit the use of mobile devices while driving took effect. Drivers who commit specific offenses may have their driving privileges temporarily or permanently revoked, depending upon the severity and frequency of the offense.

Drive Defensively

Truck drivers and trucking companies should practice safe driving techniques, make sure their trucks are well maintained, and obey the rules of the road, but those in small vehicles and passenger cars can also do their part by driving defensively at all times, particularly when trucks are present. Some useful defensive driving techniques include:

  • Avoid the trucker’s blind spots, or “no-zones
  • Don’t pass a truck on the right when the truck is turning right
  • Pay close attention to a truck’s turn signals
  • Use appropriate passing procedures, and don’t linger alongside a truck when passing
  • Avoid follow too closely and tailgating
  • Don’t cut a truck off
  • Never underestimate the size and speed of an approaching tractor-trailer

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 3,921 people killed and 104,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks (gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds) in the U.S. in 2012, and 333,000 large trucks were involved in traffic crashes.

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Who Pays My Medical Bills After an Auto Accident?

September 12th, 2014

If getting into an automobile accident wasn’t bad enough, you suffered injuries and received medical attention, and now you find out that even though you didn’t cause the accident, you have to pay for your own medical bills.

 How fair is that?

Not fair at all, but unfortunately, it’s usually a reality, at least until your case is resolved and the liable party accepts responsibility, which can take months or even years.

Who pays the bills in the meantime?

Your Medical Pay Coverage

Medical pay, commonly known as med-pay, is optional coverage that you can add to your own personal car insurance policy that will pay accident-related medical bills up to a specific limit chosen by you when you buy the coverage. Med-pay will cover you and whoever else is riding in your automobile in the event of an accident, no matter who was at fault.

Medical payments coverage is not required in Georgia, but it can be a good thing to have, even if you have other health insurance because:

  • It is affordable – a $50,000 med pay endorsement might cost less than $100 per year
  • No pre-existing conditions will apply
  • Your bills will be paid right away without co-pays, deductibles, or limits on what providers can provide treatment
  • It will cover expenses incurred up to three years from the date of the accident.

Although coverage varies, the Georgia Commissioner of Insurance requires insurance companies to offer limits of at least $1,000, $2,000, $5,000, $10,000, $25,000, and $50,000. Because it only costs a few dollars more a year so we strongly encourage everyone to have it. We would suggest at least $5,000 or more for each policy you have.

Your Health Insurance 

After your medical payments coverage is exhausted, your health insurance plan may pick up your accident-related medical bills, although depending upon your coverage, co-payments, deductibles, and co-insurance will likely apply.

If your medical pay coverage is exhausted and you don’t have health insurance, you’ll be expected to pay your bills yourself. Even if you have health insurance, it will rarely cover your medical bills first dollar the way medical payments coverage does, so you will be responsible for co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance.

If a lawsuit arises from your accident, your medical providers may agree to carry your balance until the case is settled, although interest might accrue. Your attorney might be able to get the interest charges waived or reduced when your case settles, depending upon the strength of his negotiation skills and relationship with the providers.

The Other Driver’s Auto Insurance – Sooner or Later

If the accident wasn’t your fault, you can bring a lawsuit against the responsible party to recover accident-related past and future medical expenses as well as lost wages for pain and sufferingcar_accident.

But you’ll have to be patient, as a personal injury claim can take several years to resolve, either through settlement or trial, and your bills will not be paid until the matter is closed. Insurance carriers usually never pay your bills as they come in to you go before completely settling your claim with them. This is a tool insurance companies use to get people to take less than the full value of their claim. (This is known as the “we can wait you out” approach and strategy)

Then, as if that were not enough, when you actually recover compensation in the lawsuit, your health insurance contract will likely require you to reimburse your carrier for all accident-related medical bills paid on your behalf. This is known as subrogation.

The good news is an experienced trial lawyer deals with these issues every day and can help you navigate the process in the most advantageous way for you specifically. If you have questions: Ask. The more you know the better you will be in the long run.

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Why Parking Lots are Fertile Ground for Accidents

August 27th, 2014

Parking lots are unique places where those frequenting them have likely been both a hurried driver and a distracted pedestrian at one time or another. There’s a lot going on in a parking lot: cars coming and going, drivers pulling in and out of parking spaces, pedestrians walking to and from business establishments, sometimes in the path of oncoming vehicles.

Although cars typically move more slowly in parking lots, drivers are also distracted (looking for that perfect spot, no doubt), traveling unpredictably in all directions, weaving back and forth, and generally putting other motorists and pedestrians at risk. Not surprisingly, the Washington Post reports that more than one in five motor vehicle accidents occur in parking lots.

Parking Lot Accident Procedure

If you’re involved in a parking lot accident, either as a motorist or pedestrian, there are certain steps you should take as soon as possible:

  • Remove the cars from the accident scene into a safer location, or if they cannot be moved, turn on your emergency flashers and exit the vehicle.
  • Check for injuries, and call for medical assistance if necessary.
  • Call the police and your insurance company to report the accident.
  • Exchange contact and insurance information with the other party involved.
  • Note the time, date, location, weather conditions, parking lot conditions, and another other important details.
  • Take pictures of the scene, the damage, and the injuries sustained if possible.
  • Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident.
  • If you or someone else has been seriously injured, consider speaking with an accident attorney.

Fault in Parking Lot Accidents

Establishing fault in a parking lot accident can be extremely challenging, and for this reason, if you are injured, calling an attorney might be advisable. Because parking lots are typically on private property where the rules of the road don’t apply, the police might not investigate or complete a report on a parking lot accident. It generally comes down to one person’s word against the other, and insurance companies usually split the fault equally, regardless of who may have actually been to blame.

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Cubist Pharmaceuticals Recalls 100+ Lots of Cubicin

August 19th, 2014

One hundred and one production lots of the antibiotic Cubicin, the intravenously administered prescription used for the treatment of skin and bloodstream infections, was voluntarily recalled by Cubist Pharmaceuticals on August 6 due to the potential presence of glass particles in vials produced by a contract manufacturer.

When a glass particulate is present in an intravenous drug, patients are potentially at risk for the following:

  • Thromboembolism
  • Life-threatening pulmonary emboli
  • Phlebitis
  • Mechanical block of the capillaries
  • The formation of granulomas, a protective local inflammatory response to foreign material

According to the FDA, patients with a preexisting condition of trauma or another condition that affects the microvascular blood supply are at an increased safety risk.

What is Cubicin?

Cubicin is used to treat bacterial infections of the skin and underlying tissues. It is packaged in single-use vials and distributed nationwide. Common side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site

Cubist is notifying customers of the recall by letter and telephone, and anyone with an existing inventory of the product lots listed should determine whether they have product from the recalled lots and discontinue use and arrange for return and replacement of the affected lots. The company is expecting to recall about 50,000 vials of Cubicin that were manufactured between November 2011 and February 2014.

This is the third recall in 12 months for the Lexington, Massachusetts-based drug maker, although the previous two were on a much smaller scale, they also involved supplier issues. In each instance, the presence of glass particles triggered the recall. Like the previous two, this recall is precautionary, as no complaints of trace glass particles in vials or any adverse effects associated with the product have been reported to date.

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