Week Adjourned: 3.25.16 – Old Spice, Tyson Foods, Dialysis Drug

Old Spice logoTop Class Action Lawsuits 

Heads up all Old Spice guys… And gals, too. Proctor & Gamble (P&G) got hit with a consumer fraud class action lawsuit alleging its Old Spice deodorant “ regularly and routinely causes rashes, irritation, burning and other injury to unsuspecting consumers.” How attrractive.

Filed by Rodney Colley on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, the Old Spice lawsuit contains a photo of Colley’s armpit areas, alleging that the severe rash depicted in the images was caused by Old Spice deodorant.

Further, the lawsuit alleges numerous complaints have been registered against the product online, citing adverse reactions to the Old Spice deodorant and no adequate warnings or safety notices on the products.

The lawsuit names the following Old Spice brands:

Old Spice After Hours Deodorant, Old Spice Champion Deodorant, Old Spice Pure Sport High Endurance Deodorant, Old Spice Artic Force High Endurance Deodorant, Old Spice Bearglove Deodorant, Old Spice Lion Pride Deodorant, Old Spice Swagger Deodorant, Old Spice Fresh High Endurance Deodorant, Old Spice Aqua Reef Deodorant, Old Spice Classic Fresh Deodorant, Old Spice Fiji Deodorant, Old Spice Wolfhorn Deodorant, Old Spice Champion Deodorant. 

Top Settlements

Big news on the Employment Lawsuit front this week… Tyson Foods lost its challenge to a $5.8 million class action judgment in an unpaid overtime and wages class action brought by Tyson workers at an Iowa pork-processing facility. The U.S. Supreme Court in a 6-2 ruling written by conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy, upheld a 2014 appeals court decision in favor of the Tyson workers.

The court has been considering an objection to the use of statistics to determine liability and damages claimed by the workers.

The Tyson lawsuit was filed by workers in at the meat-processing facility in 2007. The plant employs around 1,300 people. The plaintiffs claim they were entitled to overtime pay and damages because they were not paid for time spent donning and donning off protective equipment and walking to work stations. More than 3,000 current and former employees are suing Tyson.

The case is Tyson Foods Inc v. Bouaphakeo, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 14-1146.

Fresenius Dialysis agreement… Here’s another biggie in the defective medical products arena. Fresenius Medical Care reached a $250 million agreement potentially settling claims alleging harm from their dialysis drugs, GranuFlo and NaturaLyte. The settlement amount will be $250 million, but they need 97% of the plaintiffs to buy in by July of 2016 or the deal dies. If everyone’s onboard, funding will be provided in August of 2016.

The lawsuits, combined into a multi-district litigation (MDL), centers upon Fresenius’ two dialysates Granuflo and Naturalyte, which have been blamed for heart problems, strokes and death in thousands of patients. Reportedly, there are more than 1,800 lawsuits consolidated into MDL under US District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock in the District of Massachusetts (In re: Fresenius GranuFlo/NaturaLyte Dialysate Litigation, MDL No. 2428).

The lawsuits allege that Fresenius Medical Care knew of the danger in their products and failed to adequately warn and inform the public. Further, there are allegations that claim the company neglected to warn health care providers as well as properly train them on how to use these dialysis products safely.

Additionally, the lawsuits claim Fresenius failed to warn dialysis clinics, outside its own Fresenius clinics, of potential Alkali Dosing Errors.

Both Fresenius Medical Care products—Naturalyte and GranuFlo—are used in the treatment of acute and chronic renal failure during hemodialysis. The concentrate is formulated to be used with a three-stream hemodialysis machine, which is calibrated for acid and bicarbonate concentrates, according to the FDA safety recall initiated in March 2012. The recalled Naturalyte Liquid Acid Concentrate and Naturalyte GranuFlo (powder) Acid Concentrate was manufactured and distributed from January 2008 through June 2012.

Claims against Fresenius Medical Care include patients who have suffered injury or death as a result of using GranuFlo and/or NaturaLyte products during hemodialysis. 

Ok, that’s a wrap folks…Happy Easter and all the jazz!

Week Adjourned: 3.22.13 – John Hancock, Dialysis Centers, Ab Circle Pro

The weekly wrap on top class action lawsuits and settlements for the week ending March 22, 2013. Top class actions include John Hancock Insurance, DaVita Dialysis Centers and Ab Circle Pro.

John Hancock logoTop Class Action Lawsuits

Do You Trust John Hancock Insurance?…The John Hancock ad campaigns center on “trust”, but after a bad faith insurance class action lawsuit was filed against John Hancock Life Insurance Company over allegations it fails to settle death benefits, that trust may be out the window for some.

This latest class action lawsuit, filed by Richard Feingold and entitled Richard Feingold v. John Hancock Life Insurance Company, Case No. 13-cv-10185, U.S. District Court Massachusetts, Boston, claims that John Hancock only paid him as a beneficiary of his late mother’s life insurance policy, four years after her death in 2006, when Feingold discovered she had the policy. Feingold alleges he found information on the Illinois treasurer’s website which showed he had unclaimed property owed to him from John Hancock through his late mother’s policy. Up until that point, Feingold was unaware, he claims, that his mother had a life insurance policy, or that he was owed death benefits. He subsequently contacted the insurer and was paid, however John Hancock refused to provide him with a copy of his late mother’s policy, or any explanation about the benefits he received.

The potential class action claims that John Hancock routinely checks the Social Security Administration’s master death list so it can halt payments to annuity holders who have become deceased; however the insurer fails to check the same database to see if a life insurance policy holder has died so the company can promptly pay beneficiaries. Essentially, the John Hancock class action lawsuit claims, the insurer uses the information solely for its own benefit.

FYI—John Hancock recently ponied up $13 million to settle allegations brought by six states that it didn’t work hard enough to pay life insurance benefits. Slow learners maybe? Um. Maybe not.

More on Granuflo Lawsuits. This has been all over the news recently. DaVita Healthcare, a national dialysis treatment provider that uses Granuflo and Naturalyte during hemodialysis, is facing four potential personal injury class action lawsuits.

The DaVita dialysis class actions allege the clinics should have known of the risks for serious adverse health effects associated with Granuflo and Naturalyte and acted accordingly to reduce those risks to patients. Those serious health issues include cardiac arrest and sudden death.

Granuflo and Naturalyte are dialysis products made by Fresenius Medical Care. In March 2012, prompted by reports of adverse events, the Food and Drug Administration issued a Class I recall of both Naturalyte and Granuflo.

The four class action lawsuits have been filed by plaintiffs Donald Thornton, Melvin Nunes, Donald Young and Armando Moreno, all in the US District Court for the District of Colorado. The lawsuits seek to represent any person treated at a DaVita Healthcare clinic with Granuflo or Naturalyte products.

Top Settlements

3-Minute Abs? Really? How are your abs, by the way? Feeling a tad underutilized, ignored even? Are they retaliating by morphing into some indistinguishable, gelatinous shape that is slowly obliterating any view you had of your feet? Yeah, you know what I’m talking about…

So do the folks at Ab Circle Pro. Problem is, their fix ain’t on the level. So the makers of Ab Circle Pro have agreed to pay as much as $25 million to settle charges of consumer fraud brought by The Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You may be familiar with the consumer fraud claims, but if not, according to the FTC, Ab Circle Pro claimed, among other things, that their device could cause rapid and substantial weight loss and that three minutes of exercise on the Ab Circle Pro was equal to 100 sit-ups. (Oh yeah baby—sign me up!)

The official short version…According to the FTC, in advertisements, the defendants promised that a three-minute workout on the Ab Circle Pro—which is a fiberglass disk with stationary handlebars and two knee rests that roll on the edge of the disk, allowing consumers to kneel and rotate side-to-side—was equivalent to doing 100 sit ups. In the infomercial, pitchwoman Jennifer Nicole Lee compared the Ab Circle Pro to a gym workout, saying, “You can either do 30 minutes of abs and cardio or just three minutes a day. The choice is yours.” The infomercial claimed that consumers using the Ab Circle Pro for three minutes a day would “melt inches and pounds,” and featured Ab Circle Pro users claiming they had lost as much as sixty pounds. Consumers buying through the infomercial typically paid $200 to $250 for the device, while the price for those buying from retailers varied more widely. I think $250 could buy a lot of situps…

And, the FTC charged all the defendants except Lee and her companies with making false and/or unsupported claims, including that using the Ab Circle Pro caused rapid or substantial weight and fat loss; resulted in loss of weight, fat, or inches in specific parts of the body, such as the abdomen, hips, buttocks, and thighs; provided fat loss and weight loss equivalent to, or better than, a much longer gym workout; and provided the same rapid and substantial weight loss that people who provided testimonials for the infomercial said they experienced. The complaint also charges the Fitness Brands, Inc. defendants with providing the means to Direct Holdings Americas, Inc. and Direct Entertainment Media Group, Inc. to deceive consumers.

The defendants are Fitness Brands, Inc., Fitness Brands International, Inc., and the two individuals who control them, Michael Casey and David Brodess; Direct Holdings Americas, Inc. and Direct Entertainment Media Group, Inc.; infomercial producer Tara Borakos and two companies she controls, Tara Productions Inc. and New U, Inc.; and Jennifer Nicole Lee and two companies she controls, JNL, Inc. and JNL Worldwide, Inc.

So, in the interests of honesty and fair play, the defendants have agreed to pay money to provide refunds to eligible consumers who bought the Ab Circle Pro. The amount of the refund will depend on the number of claims submitted and approved. To find out about making a claim visit: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/cases/abcirclepro/9—which doesn’t necessarily have to involve getting off the couch…

Ok—that’s a wrap. See you at the bar—and make mine a diet soda this time. Happy weekend!