The Legal Insider
In this issue:
Most Unsafe Pharmaceutical Drugs of 2014
Pharmaceutical companies bring in billions of dollars of annual profits, making them wealthier than many third world countries. To illustrate, as of March 2014, U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer had already netted $22 billion in this year alone. Johnson & Johnson, also a U.S. company dealing in pharmaceuticals, currently has a total market value of $278 billion. Although both of these companies also pay billions in fines, penalties, and legal fees associated with defective products, their losses nowhere near their returns.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves about two dozen new drugs each year. However, pharmaceutical companies sometimes facilitate the approval process by practices that have been the subject of public concern. In 1992, the User Drug Fee Act (PUDFA) was passed, which expedited the FDA approval process if companies paid a fee. Studies have shown that, since the Act was passed, there has been significant increase in warnings, recalls, and reports of side effects. In fact, the trend has been that after 25 years, drugs now have a 33% chance of being recalled or acquiring a new black-box warning.
The most dangerous drug categories are listed below along with examples of specific drugs in circulation today. Although these drugs are not patently dangerous, they can have serious side effects, which are listed.
- Paxil – Increased risk of suicide and birth defects and already billions of dollars paid in settlements.
- Zoloft – Increased risk of violent behavior or suicidal thoughts, especially in children and adolescents.
- Prozac – Can lead to increased risk of birth defects and violent behavior.
- Hormone Drugs
- Testosterone – Increased risk of heart attack, strokes, and cardiovascular problems.
- Pain Pills
- Vioxx – Increased risk of heart attack and strokes.
- Many other pain pills such as OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan, Vicodin, and Vicodin ES frequently lead to both intentional and unintentional overdoses.
- Mood Stabilizers
- Depakote – Increased risk of birth defects.
- Diabetes Medication
- Avandia – Increased risk of heart attack and strokes.
- Actos – Increased risk for bladder cancer.
- Birth Control Pills
- Yaz and Yamin – increased risk for blood clots which cause deep vein thrombosis (DVTs), pulmonary embolism (PE), stroke or heart attack. Spent $1.69 billion to settle 8,250 lawsuits thus far.
- Blood Thinners
- Pradaxa and Xarelto – Increased risk of excessive bleeding, leading to death.
Products Liability Law Applied to Dangerous Pharmaceutical Drugs
Products liability laws mandate that manufacturers must deliver their products to consumers free from defects. This responsibility also includes foreseeing any potential side effects, by way of extensive research and testing, and warning the public of those risks.
If a pharmaceutical company disregards this duty to the public, they are liable for any harm their products cause. However, many states have implemented laws that limit the liability a pharmaceutical company will face in a lawsuit. An experienced personal injury attorney understands important nuances in the law and will work to obtain any remedies available to an injured party.
5 Reasons to Sue Your Neighbor
If Mister Rogers could be everyone’s neighbor, the world would be a better place. Unfortunately, many neighbors are anything but Mister Rogers. Occasionally, you may even find yourself asking, “Can I sue my neighbor?”
For better or worse, the short answer to that is, “Of course!” Below is an overview of situations where you may need to take legal against your neighbor.
- Noise: It’s easy to imagine how living next to someone aspiring to be the newest heavy metal drummer could get exhausting. Even more frustrating, calling the cops and getting noise complaints may not get you very far by way of actually stopping the noise. Never fear: causing enough noise may give rise to a nuisance action. While it may seem like an expensive way to turn down the volume, can you really put a price on peace and quiet?
- Animal attacks: While a barking dog may be annoying, a dog bite can cause serious harm. Fortunately, it is a general rule that people are liable for injuries caused by their animals. So, if your neighbor has a nipping animal, and that animal bites you or a loved one, you’re likely entitled to legal compensation.
- Harassment: Even in the context of neighbor feuds, there are certain harsh words that are not appropriate—especially if threatening words are combined with acts that are intended to intimidate, harass, or annoy. If words or actions rise to the level of harassment, you may have a legal claim.
- Use and Enjoyment: This is a bit of a misleading description, because use and enjoyment is typically used to describe some type of more permanent, physical encroachment; say, an overgrown tree or unkempt bushes. However, trespassing, although a lawsuit all its own, may also conceptually be considered interfering with use and enjoyment of your land. Just think of it this way—if it’s your property and anything or anyone is using it without your permission, you may have a claim.
- Property damage: Obviously, if a neighbor ruins a fence or mailbox, you should be made whole again. The same is true for broken pipes, overflowing septic systems, or bonfires that wind up causing serious damage to property.
Resolving Common Real Estate Disputes
Real estate disputes are often associated with large financial transactions. For instance, many real estate disputes are directly related to mortgage payments. Other common real estate disputes include:Disputes over the value of the property (i.e., appraisal disputes)
- Property tax issues
- Title and boundary disputes
- Property lien issues
- Conflicts involving a real estate contract
- Zoning and land use legal issues
How to Resolve Real Estate Disputes
Depending on the specific issue, a number of different remedies might be available. For instance, with a land use issue, state and city penalties might apply in addition to private damages.
One of the more common legal remedies is that of a monetary damages award. This is generally the most straight-forward way to resolve a dispute. Damages awards are common where the dispute involves a loss of money or profits, such as when a property contract is breached.
Many real estate issues can be resolved through an arbitration or mediation process. However, complex issues will often require the assistance of a real estate lawyer. Your lawyer can explain how the laws in your area might affect your claim. If you need to appear in court, your lawyer will represent you during the legal process.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Accidents happen all the time. However, there are times when pure bad luck isn’t to blame for injuries. If you have been injured by the negligent or intentional actions of another, you may be able to bring a personal injury claim to recover damages for your injuries.
Below is a quick guide to help determine whether hiring a personal injury lawyer is worth your time.
- Evaluate Your Injuries: It may seem unfair, but not every injury is treated the same in the eyes of the law. Generally, if you are hurt by someone’s wrongdoing, you should not be held liable for any of your damages.
Still, stop and ask yourself about how you were injured. How will this injury affect you and your loved ones? How long will this injury affect you? If these questions all tend to indicate a long, serious injury, it may be advantageous to start thinking about filing a lawsuit.
- Speak with Insurance Companies: Even if you potentially have a lawsuit, your insurance company may cover you. Also, if you are injured by a defective product, a company’s insurance policy may cover you, and may offer you a settlement in lieu of litigation.
- Collect Evidence: After an injury occurs, collect as much evidence as possible. For example, you can gather information from police reports, doctor’s opinions, and witness accounts—anything to help add to your story.
- Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer: Once you’ve determined your injury is serious and has long lasting effects, and after have gathered any documents or physical evidence that you believe may be relevant, it’s time to talk to a lawyer.