2 California women file a lawsuit against Yaz

Two women in California filed a lawsuit against drug giant Bayer Healthcare after suffering health problems due to taking Yasmin and Yaz, a July 12 report said.

According to the lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of Los Angeles, the plaintiffs accused Bayer of failing to warn the public of the health risk of using Yaz and Yasmin birth control contraceptive compared to its competitors. In the lawsuit, the two women both allegedly suffered pulmonary embolisms, while one also suffered from deep vein thrombosis after using Yasmin and Yaz.

As a result of a conclusion by the FDA, Bayer had to spend millions in campaigns to correct their previous deceptions and misleading the public.

Suffering from severe health conditions due to use of Yasmin or Yaz birth control pills can be devastating. At Williams Kherkher, our attorneys help victims of these dangerous drugs hold the pharmaceutical company responsible. So if you’ve been affected by the use of Yaz or Yasmin, call us at (888) 220-0640.


Gender Disparity in Mass Torts

Attorney Rob Jenner made the important point in a recent article that while women are representing more and more of the legal community in terms of law school graduates, practicing lawyers, state court judgeships, and even on the United States Supreme Court, there are still areas of leadership where women are shockingly and inexplicably unrepresented. Specifically, mass torts are an area in which a disproportionately small percentage of women are involved in leadership positions.

Mass torts deal primarily with large-scale cases involving dangerous drugs and defective medical devices, and such cases often result in enormous settlements for injured parties as well as large scale media attention. In stark contrast to most other areas of law, fewer than 10% of the attorneys involved in mass tort litigation are women, despite the fact that many of these cases involve products which are used and consumed primarily by women.

An unfortunate example of this can be seen in recent lawsuits that have been filed against Bayer AG regarding a popular intrauterine birth control device. Despite the obvious relevance and importance of the female perspective in such cases, the 35-odd plaintiff firms which met to select an executive committee for litigation produced an exclusively male group, prompting the New York federal judge overseeing the lawsuits to recommend that there be female attorneys included in leadership positions.

Some of the most significant mass tort cases which have occurred in the United States over the last 20 years have involved products and devices created for and marketed exclusively toward women, driving home the point of relevant perspective. Such reasoning should not be necessary however, as there is simply no reasoning or rationale by which it can be justified today that an entire field of law be dominated by men. By identifying the gender gap in mass tort law, we can hope to address and overcome that inequality in the future.


Playing Deposition Clips at Trial

Depositions are sworn testimony in lawsuit taken before trial. Deposition testimony “counts” just like trial testimony in front of a judge and jury, but often the only people present are the lawyers, the witness and a court reporter or videographer. If the person is sick, dead or otherwise unavailable to attend the trial, the videotape of their deposition may be played for the jury. Since the judge is not present some attorneys may object to certain questions if they are afraid of the answer and then later ask the judge to not allow the jury to hear the question and answer.

Some unskilled attorneys are very afraid of the questions and answers and object to virtually every question being asked. When this happens the judge will later review their objections and if he finds them to frivolous or unfounded, he will “over-rule” the objections which means the jury will be allowed to hear the question and answer. This can be problematic when the video tape is being edited for the jury to watch because the court often requires the parties to cut out the portion where the attorney says “objection.” When this happens, the video tape, unfortunately, looks choppy in between the question and the answer. The strategy may even be deliberate from some attorneys to try and create a “choppy” video for the jury by objecting to every question. This fearful attorney may think that a choppy video seems less credible to the jury and the jury will not consider the testimony. Strong judges do not permit this type of gamesmanship and can punish the frivolously objecting attorney by allowing the jury to see and hear him or her making their unfounded objections. The jury will then know that the unskilled attorney is very afraid of the answer to the question and will pay close attention to it.


Attorney at Williams Kherkher Represents Legal Publisher in Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

The publisher of O’Connor’s legal books has filed suit against the creators of PUSH:legal, a mobile app, claiming that the content found in the app was taken directly from their texts. The complaint was filed on May 21, 2012 and asserted that the reference books available to attorneys through the PUSH:legal app contained the facts, language, citations, and cases included in several O’Connor’s books, specifically those about property, criminal, and family law.

The official complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston includes the legal demands from the plaintiff. They are seeking $150,000 for each legal book that was plagiarized by PUSH:legal in addition to related damages, court fees, and attorney costs.

Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas’ commercial litigation manager, Armi Easterby, is representing McClure Family LP and JMP Interests LP, the copyright holder and publisher, respectively. He and the firm believe that they have a strong case against Texas Legal Apps, Inc., the creator of PUSH:legal. Easterby has been a member of the Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas, LLP, legal team since 2005 and has decades of experience with commercial law.

For more information about the legal team at Wiliams Kherkher Hart Boundas, LLP, please visit their website www.williamskherkher.com.

 


PUSH:Legal Copyright Lawsuit

As an attorney with a background in patent infringement, there are few things more important to me than protecting my clients from having their hard work stolen and used by others for profit. When an individual or business has put in the time and effort to create something, they deserve to receive the benefits of their work.

That’s why I decided to represent the publishers of O’Connor’s legal books when it came to my attention that a mobile application had used their material wholesale without their approval. Our case, which is currently pending, attempts to hold the developers of this app responsible for their willful misuse of my client’s copyright-protected material. More information on this case can be found in the July 16, 2012 publication of Texas Lawyer.


Popcorn for Thought

I read an article online a few days ago about a new advertising campaign to hit theaters.  Don't be surprised to see ads for lawsuit abuse when you sit down to see the newest movie of your chosing at your local movie theater.  The point of this campaign, apparently, is to "educate" the popcorn-eating public about frivolous lawsuits.   What you likely won't hear in these ads are the various state rules prohibiting the filing of frivoulous lawsuits, and the consequences for doing so to the filing party and the attorney. 

In Texas, "Attorneys or parties who shall bring a fictitious suit as an experiment to get an opinion of the court, or who shall file any fictitious pleading in a cause for such a purpose, or shall make statements in pleading which they know to be groundless and false, for the purpose of securing a delay of the trial of the cause, shall be held guilty of a contempt.  If a pleading, motion or other paper is signed in violation of this rule, the court, upon motion or upon its own initiative, after notice and hearing, shall impose an appropriate sanction…upon the person who signed it, a represented party, or both."  Tex. R. Civ. P. 13.  Ample case law exists on this topic.  And most attorneys will not file lawsuits that could violate this rule. 

That said, there are a handful who will, and they tend to give the entire profession a bad name.  And there are others who file lawsuits, whether or not valid, that sound ridiculous to most people.  Take, for example, a recent lawsuit filed against the Oakland A's for excluding men in a Mother's Day promotion.  Really?  Did the lawyer want a floppy hat from Macy's?  No, he was obviously looking to make a buck.  The reason these cases make headlines is because they are out-of-the-ordinary.  They enrage listeners, including most lawyers. 

The reason lawyers are referred to as "counselors" is because that is part of the job – we counsel people, oftentimes, to advise them they do not have a claim that we can file.  Even the sponsor of the ads to be released in theaters has a section on its website dedicated to the "most ridiculous lawsuits."  There will always be a small number of people who will file the most outrageous lawsuits.  And some of the "facts" section is based on public perception of lawsuits.  When the worst-of-the-worst lawsuits make headline news, of course public perception is going to be skewed. 

This coverage, and the ads coming to your movie theater, will take the focus far from any wrongdoing of defendants in legitimate lawsuits.  It victimizes the victims all over again.  Yes, of course there are companies who are wrongly sued.  But more often, companies are sued because they have or haven't done something to protect someone from getting hurt.  When someone is injured or killed because of the actions or inactions of another person or a company, they or their family deserve their day in court.  It is a right granted to every citizen of this country.  I would urge the popcorn-eating public not to support organizations that are working to minimize or take away our rights.


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