Week Adjourned: 10.12.12 – Meningitis, Nexium, Strip Club Dancers

The weekly wrap of top class action lawsuits and settlements for the week ending October 12, 2012. Top stories include the Meningitis Outbreak, Nexium and Exotic Dancers.

Top Class Action Lawsuits

Outbreak Turning into a Rash?—of lawsuits, that is. The first in what could be a string of fungal meningitis class actions was filed on Thursday against New England Compounding Pharmacy—the maker of the steroid injections suspected to be the cause of the multi-state meningitis  outbreak.

The meningitis outbreak class action lawsuit entitled Barbe Puro v. New England Compounding Pharmacy Inc, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, No. 12-2605, was filed in federal court in Minnesota.

According to the lawsuit, the victim, Barbe Puro, of Savage, MN, experienced headaches and nausea after receiving the steroid shots. Puro claims she suffered “bodily harm, emotional distress, and other personal injuries” after she received the steroid injection on September 17.

The contaminated steroid injections were recalled on September 26 by Framingham, MA based compounding pharmacy, New England Compounding Center (NECC). As many as 14,000 individuals may have received the tainted injections which were distributed to medical facilities across 23 states. To date, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported 14 deaths associated with the contaminated steroid.

The meningitis lawsuit proposes a class comprised of Minnesota residents who may have received tainted steroid injections since June of this year. According to the CDC, so far there have been three cases of fungal meningitis reported in Minnesota  connected to the contaminated steroid injections.

Top Settlements

This might Help your Heartburn…A proposed settlement has been reached in a consumer fraud class action lawsuit against AstraZeneca alleging deceptive marketing practices around their anti-heartburn medication Nexium.

In the Nexium lawsuit, entitled Commonwealth Care Alliance v. AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals L.P., Docket No. 05-0269, the plaintiffs allege Astra Zeneca violated a Massachusetts state law by deceptively marketing the drug Nexium as superior to another drug, Prilosec or its generic version, omeprazole.

The lawsuit asks the Court to order AstraZeneca to pay restitution to purchasers for amounts they allegedly overpaid, to award money damages, or to grant other relief.

The terms of the proposed Nexium consumer fraud class action settlement have not been disclosed. However, the Court has certified a class of individuals and entities that purchased Nexium in Massachusetts (the“Class”). The Court has not made any finding or reached any conclusion as to whether AstraZeneca is liable to the Class.

You are a member of the Class if you have purchased Nexiumin Massachusetts since March 2001. If you purchased Nexium since March 2001 in Massachusetts, you may be eligible to receive money or benefits from the Lawsuit, if any are recovered. For more information on the status of this settlement visit massachusettsnexiumlitigation.com.

Good News at the Poles…I love this one. A $12.9 million settlement has been approved by a federal judge ending a three year long employment class action brought by exotic dancers who alleged the strip clubs they worked for denied them benefits by classifying the dancers as independent contractors.

The strip club dancer lawsuit alleged that the owners of the nightclubs, located in California, Kentucky, Idaho, Texas, Nevada and Florida, helped themselves to over half of the dancers’ tips, penalized them for not selling enough drinks to customers and made the dancers pay stage fees for dancing. The Spearmint Rhino nightclub is among the defendants.

Under the terms of the strip club settlement, the clubs will treat dancers as employees, partners or shareholders in their businesses, and in California, dancers will no longer have to cough up pay-to-perform fees. Dancers who do not make a written claim to the fund will not be paid; any remaining funds will go back to the strip clubs. The dancers who were named plaintiffs in the class action will receive incentive fees for the time and “professional and personal risk” they incurred by being named in the lawsuit.

And on that note—I’ll see you at the bar (no, not the strip joint). Have a great weekend!