Week Adjourned: 7.9.11

Top Class Actions

Pricey Prescriptions? This is nothing short of scandalous, if the allegations prove true. A nationwide consumer fraud class action lawsuit was filed against CVS Caremark, the largest pharmacy health care provider in the United States and the owners of CVS.com, for allegedly double-billing its customers for the price of prescription drugs.

The lawsuit claims that CVS’s nationwide billing system double-bills the price of prescription drugs to CVS customers who have a high deductible health plan that is coupled with a health reimbursement account or health savings account (HSA) and who use a prescription drug coupon. CVS’s billing system isn’t equipped to handle this coordination of benefits, and as a result, it’s alleged that CVS uniformly double-bills these customers–taking cash from the customer at the time of sale and then later taking cash from their HSA. Unbelievable!

The class action lawsuit brings the claim on behalf of all CVS customers who were allegedly double-billed the price of prescription drugs and seeks damages on behalf of those customers estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands across the country. Check your receipts and your statements!

Top Settlements

Asbestos Mesothelioma Settlement. Another large asbestos-illness lawsuit was settled this week, with an Orleans Parish Civil District Court jury hearing the lawsuit finding in favor of the plaintiff. The jury awarded Leopold Granier Jr, a $1.5 million settlement in general damages, and $104,160.77 in special damages.

Mr. Granier developed asbestos mesothelioma as a result of his exposure to asbestos, asbestos he was allegedly exposed to through the negligence of Avondale Shipyards, Cajun Insulation and Union Carbide Corp. The jury produced a four page verdict, which found that Avondale, Cajun and Union Carbide were strictly liable and that the products in their possession were a “substantial and contributing cause” of Granier’s mesothelioma.

The jury also found that Union Carbide, in particular, was strictly liable because asbestos materials incorporated into the company’s Taft, La., plant were a “substantial and contributing cause” of the man’s cancer. I guess there’s no surprise there.

Avondale shipyard was, at one time, the largest employer in the state of Louisiana, employing more than 20,000 people. The shipyard was acquired by Northrop Grumman Corp., and is now slated to close in 2013. Northrop Grumman made the decision as a result of a reduced order for warships from the US Navy.

20,000 employees is no small business…I wonder how many more asbestos lawsuits Avondale could find itself on the end of?

Would You Prefer Still, Sparkling or Tap Water? Maybe it’s further proof that tap is just fine, thanks, as this sounds like a nightmare come true—a woman who was mistakenly given a bottle containing a poisonous chemical instead of drinking water subsequently suffered second and third degree burns to her esophagus and permanent damage (no kidding). She sued, and was recently awarded $3.3 million in her product liability lawsuit.

Julia Ellis suffered the life-altering burns in 2007. She was at Harvey’s Lake Tahoe Hotel and Casino in Stateline, NV, when she was given a bottle labeled “Harrah’s Purified Drinking Water.”

As a result of her injuries, Ellis can now eat only pureed or soft foods. She sued Harvey’s and Harrah’s on claims of strict products liability, breach of warranty and premises liability.

OK. That’s it for this week. See you at the Bar. Watch what you’re drinking!

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