Month: August 2015


Accepting 3M Bair Hugger Claims

The Bair Hugger warm air blanket, which was introduced by its manufacturer, 3M, in 1988, was once considered a great idea. It is a medical device that is ostensibly designed to help maintain the body temperature of a patient while they are under anesthesia during a surgical procedure. The blanket is draped over the patient and warm air is moved over it, in order to prevent hypothermia and keep the patient’s body temperature up and as close to the ideal 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit as possible.

According to numerous studies, by regulating a patient’s body temperature they can recover much more quickly. The Bair Hugger has also proven itself effective at treating hypothermia in patients who suffer from exposure. The concept is so popular that the Bair Hugger can be found in four out of every five hospitals in the United States.

Bair Hugger Warming Blankets Circulate Bacteria

Unfortunately, patients who have filed cases against 3M assert that the use of forced air warming blankets causes substantial increases in the number of particles in the air near a surgical wound and higher risks of deep joint infections following hip or knee replacement surgery.

So far, the most serious side effects, problems and risks associated with the use of a Bair Hugger have been deep joint infections, especially in the hip and knee, that have been contracted during replacement surgeries. These infections can lead to patients needing further procedures to replace the device that was implanted or to clean the joint tissues and to require antibiotic therapy in order to treat the infection. In some severe cases, patients had to have limbs amputated.

This problem has been known for some time. In fact, the inventor of the Bair Hugger, Dr. Scott Augustine, has been attempting to warn hospitals about the possibility of infection for years. Dr. Augustine, a Minnesota-based anesthesiologist, realized some years ago that his invention was serving to spread infectious bacteria throughout operating rooms during surgery and he even came up with a new device called a “Hot Dog” that takes warm air out of the equation and works more like an electric blanket. Though many have accused Dr. Augustine of exaggerating the negative health effects of the Bair Hugger to sell more of his latest invention, it’s difficult to ignore the large number of infections that have been reported to date associated with the use of the Bair Hugger.

According to research that was published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery in 2013, researchers found that air that was circulated by the Bair Hugger system contained more than 1500 times the contaminants compared to air circulated by similar devices. Despite this, to date, 3M has not issued a recall of Bair Hugger warming blankets for any reason related to deep joint infections.

Raizner Slania Now Accepting Bair Hugger Claims

Due to a significant rise in the number of joint replacement patients who have come forward recently and alleged that their infections and other postsurgical complications were caused by their surgeons’ use of the Bair Hugger, the Defective Medical Products Attorneys at Raizner Slania LLP are now accepting potential claims against 3M and the other manufacturers of these devices. We will review your case, in order to determine whether or not the 3M Bair Hugger was the cause of your infection or injuries, and determine whether you may be able to receive compensation for your pain and suffering, and we’ll do it all at no cost to you.


America’s Best Value Inn Files Insurance Suit

After a terrible hail storm that hit Waco, Texas back on October 2, 2014, our client, which owns and operates an America’s Best Value Inn franchise, filed suit in McLennan County District Court against their insurance carrier, Steadfast Insurance Company, and its insurance adjuster for mishandling and wrongfully denying what they feel is a rightful claim against their insurance policy.

Waco Hail Storm Image
Waco Hail Storm Image

The hail storm that occurred last October 2 caused substantial structural damage, including damage to the roof, exteriors, interiors, HVAC, and several other structures throughout the property. Immediately after the storm, our client filed a claim under its policy with Steadfast, asking for repair costs. In response to the claim, Steadfast assigned the claim to one of its internal adjusters, but that adjuster was not licensed in Texas, so he assigned the claim to a local adjuster, whom the lawsuit alleges was not properly trained and was ill-equipped to handle the claim in the proper manner.

As such, in their petition, the hotel owner alleges that the adjusters performed a substandard investigation and that the insurance company relied on that substandard investigation. They also note that the adjusters prepared an estimate of damages based on one single visit to the property, which resulted in a gross underestimation as to the extent and value of the hailstorm property damage caused. It was because of this particular investigation that Steadfast completely and wrongfully denied the insured’s claim on November 7, 2014.

In addition to the substandard investigation and inspection, the hotel also alleges in its complaint that the adjusters misrepresented to them that certain damages were not covered under the policy when in fact they were, and that the adjusters failed to provide appropriate information during the claims process, which violated their duties under Texas law, in part because they delayed resolution of the claim. Because of all of the delays and the denial, our clientI was forced to hire its own consultant to evaluate the damages independently, since Steadfast refuses to do so.

Our firm’s hotel owner client has alleged that Steadfast and its adjusters have violated a number of provisions of the Texas Insurance Code, for their delays and denials, as well as for their failure to conduct a reasonable investigation of the claims, by misrepresenting policy coverage and other issues, as well as for their failure to promptly pay a claim. They also allege breach of contract as well as breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing and fraud. This commercial property owner is seeking more than $1 million in compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages for bad faith and fraud, as well as statutory interest and attorneys’ fees.


How Does Invokana Cause Ketoacidosis?

In May 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that a new class of Type 2 diabetes drugs, including Johnson & Johnson’s blockbuster Invokana, may cause a serious condition called ketoacidosis. Many patients experiencing this condition took the drug for about 2 weeks before symptoms showed up.

Invokana causes a diabetic’s blood sugar to leave his or her body through urine and is among the most popular SGLT2 inhibitors, a class of Type 2 diabetes drugs. The drug can cause a condition called ketoacidosis that happens when the body produces too many acids called ketones.

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a life-threatening condition that comes about when cells cannot get the glucose they need due to a lack of insulin. Instead, the body breaks down fat and muscle for energy. When this happens, fatty acids (ketones) are produced and cause a chemical imbalance called diabetic ketoacidosis.

Ketoacidosis Symptoms

  • Abdominal pain
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Fruity breath
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Nausea
  • Unconsciousness
  • Unusual fatigue or sleepiness.
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

A very similar medication that may cause the same dangerous side effects is Invokamet. J&J also combines the active ingredient in Invokana with metformin and markets it as Invokamet.

J&J and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit made $278 million on Invokana in the first quarter of 2015 alone. With more people being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes than ever before, many expect that claims of ketoacidosis and other serious side effects will only continue to grow.

Raizner Slania Accepting Invokana Ketoacidosis Cases

Injuries caused by an antidiabetic medication may require hospitalization and long-term medical care.  Patients who are injured by medications may be eligible for financial compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and more. Loved ones of patients who die due to drug injury may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If you developed Ketoacidosis after taking Invokana or another type 2 diabetes drug, you may have legal options. Contact us today.

Class Action

What is the Difference Between a Class Action and a Mass Tort?

Class actions and mass torts are both types of lawsuits involving a large number of plaintiffs wanting to sue for injuries from a defendant’s conduct. Because those affected by the defendant’s alleged wrongdoing are large in number, these lawsuits join them all in an action against the defendant. Although a class action and mass tort ultimately have the same purpose, the two are handled much differently.

What is a Class Action Lawsuit?

A class action lawsuit allows a number of individuals who have experienced common damages to assert their claims in one lawsuit together. In a class action lawsuit, a large number of people join together in a representative action naming only one or a few individual plaintiffs in the complaint. These “class representatives” sue on behalf of the defined class against one or more defendants.

In federal court, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 governs certifying a class and the requisite elements for certification. But, a class action lawsuit can also be brought in state court. Each state has its own laws regarding class actions, and most states use rules similar to the federal rules.

How is a Class Action Different Than a Mass Tort?

The main difference between a mass tort and a class action lawsuit has to do with how the courts treat the group of plaintiffs.

In a mass tort, each plaintiff files his or her own lawsuit individually, but all in the same court. Even though the plaintiff is part of a large group, he or she is still treated as an individual. In a class action, a class representative is the only named party in the actual lawsuit. The class representative alone represents everyone in a large group of plaintiffs, and no individual lawsuits are filed. Many mass tort cases are combined into what is called Multi-District Litigation, or MDL. In an MDL, a single judge is appointed to oversee many cases in order to handle them efficiently and in the same manner.

How Much Do Class Actions and Mass Torts Cost?

A potential claimant will pay no money out-of-pocket as a class action lawsuit class member or a mass tort client, regardless of the outcome. In class actions and mass torts at Raizner Slania, our attorneys work on a contingent fee basis, where the firm pays all costs and expenses. We are only paid if we are successful in obtaining a recovery on your behalf.