Week Adjourned: 6.19.09

Top class actions

Get a Whiff of Zicam. Oh wait, maybe you can’t. At least that’s what’s at the heart of the latest Zicam news. No, it’s not a class action yet—but it could be. And it wouldn’t be the first one. At issue are 3 Zicam cold remedies that cause a loss of sense of smell—a condition known as anosmia. As if the cold wasn’t enough of a problem.

In 2005 more than 300 people filed a class action lawsuit against Matrixx, the makers of cold remedies marketed under the name Zicam, alleging the zinc nasal spray caused a loss of sense of smell and taste. Matrixx settled the suit in 2006 for $12 million.

This week, on June 16, 2 years and 130 adverse event reports later, the FDA released a public health advisory urging consumers not to use the Zicam cold remedies, for the same reasons the lawsuit was brought in 2005.

The products named in the FDA’s advisory are Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel, Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Swabs and Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs, Kids Size (a discontinued product). What part of this didn’t Matrixx get the first time round?

Top settlements

MySpace Ain’t Your Space. What would you do if you were forced to give your employer your ID and password to an online group you had created with the express purpose of venting your frustrations about your employer? Well, 2 waiters in New Jersey who were faced with that very situation filed a class action lawsuit. And they won.

Restaurant managers who worked at Houston’s in Hackensack, NJ, were fined by a federal jury for surreptitiously monitoring employees’ postings in a MySpace gripe group. The jury ruled that the managers had violated state and federal laws designed to protect privacy of internet communications. The jury awarded the waiters a total of $3,400 in back pay and $13,600 in punitive damages.

BMW: Sheer Driving Pleasure? (if you excuse the faulty subframes). If you or someone you know owns a fourth-generation 3-series model BMW—say the E46—you will be happy to hear there is a settlement pending in the 2006 class action suit against the automaker. So far, BMW has agreed to begin inspections and repairs of potentially faulty subframes in these models.

Currently the settlement is only valid for US residents, and no recall is planned. BMW customers with questions can visit www.E46subframeclassactionsettlement.com.

That’s it for this week. See you at the Bar…