Medical Devices & Pharmaceutical Litigation
Corpus Christi Pharmaceutical Litigation Attorneys | Texas Defective Medical Devices Lawyer
Manufacturers of medical devices and prescription drugs have a responsibility to ensure that their products are safe. Patients depend on medical products and prescription medication to improve the quality of their lives and help them recover from illnesses. When these products break down or fail to work as expected, however, patients' lives are placed in jeopardy. It is an unfortunate reality that defective medical products and dangerous prescription drugs are becoming ever more common in the U.S.
Any type of medical device or equipment has the potential to malfunction and any drug - even if it has been approved by the FDA - has the potential to cause harm to patients, including the following:
For more information regarding Texas pharmaceutical liability cases, visit our resource center.
Weight verdict reached
Jury: $56 million for Alice resident
By Jeremy Schwartz
Caller-Times A Jim Wells County jury this week awarded more than $56 million to an Alice woman who took the weight loss drug fenfluramine, ending the first of dozens of pending "fen-phen" cases in the Coastal Bend.
Gloria Lopez, 48, said she received heart valve damage after taking the drug for about six months in 1997, shortly before the Food and Drug Administration called on American Home Products to withdraw Pondimin, the drug's brand name.
The jury ordered American Home Products to pay Lopez, an employee of the Alice Independent School District, $45 million in punitive damages and $11.5 million in actual damages on Tuesday. District Judge Terry Canales will review the monetary award, a process he has said could take as long as two months.
Lopez's attorneys argued that American Home Products withheld from the FDA information about the dangers of fenfluramine, which had been linked to potentially fatal heart valve damage and pulmonary hypertension.
American Home Product attorneys argued that Lopez's heart problems were caused by chronic hypertension unrelated to the fenfluramine.
"My understanding is that this is the largest verdict for a single plaintiff in a fen-phen case," said Lopez's attorney, Kathryn Snapka.
As reported in Personal Injury & Insurance Defense Top 10 Texas Plaintiffs Verdicts
By Margaret Cronin Fisk
American Lawyer Media
Lopez v. American Home Products Corp.
79th District Court, Jim Wells County/Judge Terry Canales
Attorneys for the plaintiffs: Kathryn Snapka and Gregory W. Turman of the Law Offices of Kathryn Snapka, Corpus Christi; and Antonio Martinez and Trey Martinez of Martinez & Barrera, Brownsville
Attorneys for the defense: J.A. "Tony" Canales of Corpus Christi's Canales & Simonson; Randall L. Christian of Clark, Thomas & Winter, Austin; Steven G. Reade of Washington, D.C.'s Arnold & Porter; William R. Murray Jr. of Washington, D.C.'s Williams & Connolly; and Joseph Piorkowski Jr. of the Washington, D.C., office of Kansas City, Mo.'s Shook, Hardy & Bacon
Verdict: Gloria Lopez, a 48-year-old school cafeteria supervisor, began taking the drug Pondimin - the fenfluramine portion of the weight-reduction medication fen-phen - in April 1997 to lose a few pounds. Lopez lost 10 pounds over a five-month period. But fenfluramine also allegedly left Lopez with shortness of breath, the feeling that she's choking when she's sleeping, and moderate aortic regurgitation, a severe, irreversible defect in her aortic valve. After the diagnosis, Lopez sued the maker of Pondimin, American Home Products Corp., along with its affiliates Wyatt-Ayerst Laboratories Co. and A.H. Robins Co., alleging that the medication had caused her heart problems.
American Home has offered $3.75 billion to settle the claims of fenfluramine users; Lopez opted out of the global settlement. The plaintiff also accused American Home of deliberately concealing reports of adverse effects of the drug before its removal from the market. On April 3, 2001, an Alice jury awarded Lopez $11.55 million in actual damages and $45 million in punitive damages. On July 10, the award was remitted to $8.2 million; just under $1 million in prejudgment interest was added, bringing the total award to $9.18 million. The case settled shortly afterward for a confidential amount.
Vioxx jurors award family $32 million
By Sophia Pearson
RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas – A jury awarded $32 million to a Texas family yesterday in the third finding that Merck & Co.'s Vioxx painkiller caused a heart attack.
Jurors in Rio Grande City, Texas, found Vioxx was a cause of the death of Leonel Garza, 71, in April 2001. Merck failed to warn of the drug's risks before Garza started taking it, the jury found in awarding damages to his family. The amount will probably be reduced because of a state cap on punitive damages.
Merck, facing 11,500 Vioxx suits, has been hit with three multimillion-dollar jury awards totaling $298.3 million. The law limiting punitive damages in Texas, where two of the trials occurred, cuts the likely total liability to $47.4 million.
Kathy Snapka, one of the Garzas' lawyers, said, "We are very pleased that the jury understood the depth of the deception by Merck."
Pharmaceutical and medical device liability has been a significant facet of Kathryn Snapka's practice for the last three decades. However, one of her most notable jury verdicts came as a result of the Vioxx litigation. In Garza vs. Merck, Kathryn Snapka represented the family of Leonel Garza, a 72 year old gentleman who was prescribed Vioxx to deal with chronic arm pain. Mr. Garza had just had a complete evaluation performed by his cardiologist which indicated that he had a one to two percent chance of sustaining a heart attack in the 12 months following the evaluation. Only a few weeks after starting Vioxx, Mr. Garza sustained a lethal heart attack. On autopsy, it was determined there were not one but two blood clots, which was considered extremely unusual. A Starr County jury agreed and awarded the Garza family $32,000,000 against Merck, the manufacturer of Vioxx. The Texas Supreme Court overturned the judgment on other grounds.
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