Kiss the week goodbye…Memorial Day Weekend here we come!
Top Class Actions
Demented Segmented Marketing. A couple of former employees who blew the whistle on Wyeth in 2005 by filing a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company refiled an amended complaint this week, alleging that the company illegally promoted its kidney transplant drug Rapamune for use with other organ transplants—the Swiss Army knife of meds!— for which the drug is not indicated. You know—heart, lung, liver, pancreas—essential organs—that kind of thing…
And , yes—there’s more, the complaint claims Wyeth targeted African American patients, who are a high-risk patient group, despite the lack of evidence to support its use in this population. Sadly, this all sounds par for the course by now. Oh—by the way—Wyeth is now owned by Pfizer, and Pfizer, if you recall, settled a whistleblower lawsuit in September 2009—paying $102 million to six whistleblowers who brought a suit over its marketing and promotion of the prescription arthritis medication Bextra, and ordered to pay $2.3 billion in civil and criminal penalties. Pfizer also agreed to plead guilty to a felony charge for promoting Bextra and 12 other drugs for unapproved uses and dosages.
Anyway—back to Rapamune. The two whistleblowers who filed the suit are ex-Wyeth sales reps— their turf was hospitals—so they are in position to know. The list of allegations on the complaint is pretty lengthy and makes for some shocking reading. But it boils down to illegal promotion and kickbacks in exchange for prescriptions written. Thing is, this could affect numerous transplant recipients across the country:
“Despite limited data on high-risk patients, Wyeth targeted transplant centers that catered primarily to African-American patients, typically in urban areas. In 2005, Wyeth’s sales management selected Philadelphia’s Einstein Medical Center as a center on which to focus a Wyeth marketing plan designed to rapidly increase or accelerate Rapamune sales in a 90 day period. Einstein’s transplant patient population was approximately 75 percent African-American in 2005,” the suit states.
Nice to know these folks had the patients’ best interests at heart…no pun intended.
New Wal-mart Recycling Program: Lawsuits? It’s business as usual for Wal-Mart—one of our profoundly regular, if not ignorant contributors—has settled yet another employment class action this Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 5.29.10”
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Seems there’s no end of trouble in sight for the beleaguered auto industry…
“We’re Leading by Example”? What’s that line about not throwing stones if you live in a glass house? Perhaps Ford ought to rethink using that headline as this week the company got hit with a class action lawsuit stemming from consumer complaints about alleged ‘defective’ rear axles on its Windstar model 1999-2003 minivans.
Apparently, the rear axles in question are unsealed hollow cylinders that basically collect water and ‘corrosive agents’ and, you guessed it, over time can corrode and crack, or even split into pieces. Um. That sounds like a quality product…not.
In fact it sounds quiet dangerous—and it is, because the axles are susceptible to failing while the minivan is being operated. Nice.
The law firm that filed the potential class action suspects that “more than 949,000 Windstars were manufactured with a defective axle.” That’s a lot of minivans—and a lot of families…
The Week the Women Won…5,600 women that is, who filed a gender discrimination class action against their employer, Novartis Pharmaceuticals. Bloomberg reported it as the largest ever employment discrimination verdict—according to their data.
The payoff? $250 million in punitive damages and roughly $3.36 million in compensatory damages for each of the 12 women who are named plaintiffs and who took the stand in the case. Incidentally—the case was filed in 2004—so that’s six years of living the legal wars and all the rest.
Some of the stuff that came out in the courtroom was quite worrying. Here’s a clip from an official press release on the verdict—you be the judge—” On the first day of the trial in the defense’s opening Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 5.22.10”
This week it’s all about bad employers and bad drugs…bad, bad, bad!
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Whole New Meaning to Visitation Rights. A massive, nationwide class action lawsuit was filed this week by employees of one the largest healthcare service providers in the country—Gentiva Health Services, Inc. The employees are claiming the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Apparently, Gentiva—which incidentally employs some 30,000 health care workers—treats visiting nurses and other health care providers as exempt from the overtime requirements of the FLSA and refuses to pay these employees for all hours worked. Sound familiar?
Instead, Gentiva pays nurses and other health care providers on a “per visit” basis for some work, an hourly rate for other work, and fails to pay anything at all for other hours worked. Plaintiffs allege that Gentiva’s rather creative take on employee compensation doesn’t quite meet the requirements of state or federal wage and hour law.
The lawsuit, if approved, seeks to represent all current and former Gentiva employees, including registered nurses, therapists, and other health care providers who are or were not paid for all hours worked.
You know these guys may end up rivalling Wal-Mart….
Movin’ from Price to Wage Rollbacks? (Again?) Speaking of the devil…(I feel a rant coming on)… Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 5.14.10”
A BIG week—in all the wrong ways…
Top Class Actions
Crude-ites Not On the Menu? Just as the toxic oil begins to roll in along the northern coastlines of the Gulf of Mexico—so, too, do the lawsuits against BP, Haliburton, Transocean, and Cameron International, among others.
At least two class actions were filed this week, one in Alabama, and the other in Florida, over potentially different but related outcomes from what may turn out to be the environmental death of the northern Gulf.
In Alabama, the owner of Tacky Jack’s restaurant filed a class action on behalf of all restaurant owners along the Alabama Gulf Coast for losses resulting from the massive oil spill. The suit alleges negligence and wanton misconduct. Defendants named in the suit are BP, Haliburton, and Cameron International. The restaurant owners are deeply worried that they will have lost their livelihoods as a result of this oil disaster. And unfortunately this baby’s gonna take more than a few Shout wipes to clean up.
According to a press release about the lawsuit, travel in Alabama’s Gulf Coast Region accounted for 35 percent of the state’s tourism revenue, as well as 36 percent of the state’s travel-related employment in 2009. Travel related expenditures in Alabama’s Gulf Coast region in 2009 totaled $3,222,382,869. That’s not insignificant.
It seems that this is restaurant owners as good corporate citizens week—as a second suit was filed by a Florida restaurateur together with a homeowners’ association. They filed a class action Continue reading “Week Adjourned: 5.7.10”