Tobacco

Philips CPAP Recall Information; Can I Sue For Injuries?

Philips Respironics manufactures “continuous positive airway pressure” (CPAP), bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP), and ventilators for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. Those with this condition experience disruption of normal breathing during sleep, as manifested by snoring.

These machines use polyester-based polyurethane foam to diminish the noise and vibrations generated while the user sleeps. When the foam degrades, it releases toxic gases and matter, which the users may inhale and ingest. As explained more below, the toxins may sicken users and expose them to serious conditions such as organ failure and cancer.

Philips issued a recall on June 14, 2021, for the first-generation devices. In the wake of this recall, numerous users have sued Philips for personal injuries and other damages. Below, we explain whether you can sue Philips if you claim one of its devices has resulted in illness or serious disease.

Did You Use One of the Recalled Models?
Determine if you used a device with potentially toxic foam. Philips manufactured the CPAP, BiPAP, and ventilator machines that used polyester-based polyurethane foam between 2009 and April 26, 2021. The devices which Philips recalled include these products.

The company has a page devoted to the recall of these devices. You can enter the device’s serial number to learn if Philips has recalled it.

The fact that your machine is subject to recall does not automatically mean you will recover from Philips. Generally, a voluntary recall is not admissible to prove fault. However, you can use evidence of such a recall to show that Philips manufactured and controlled your device. Below, we’ll tell you the specific legal theories upon which plaintiffs may rely in Philips CPAP lawsuits.

Juul to pay $14.5 million to settle Arizona vaping lawsuit

E-cigarette giant Juul Labs will pay Arizona $14.5 million and vowed not to market to young people in the state to settle a consumer fraud lawsuit.

The settlement announced by Attorney General Mark Brnovich Tuesday is the second Juul has reached with state prosecutors. It ends litigation the Republican U.S. Senate candidate filed in January 2020 against Juul and another maker of electronic cigarettes, alleging they illegally targeted young people in their marketing.

Arizona previously obtained a $22.5 million judgment against defunct vaping product maker Eonsmoke but has not and is not likely to collect any of the money.

Juul Labs admitted no wrongdoing in settling the case and called it “another step in our ongoing effort to reset our company.” The company had stopped all advertising before Brnovich sued and ended sales of all flavored products except menthol.

Juul has faced lawsuits from multiple states over marketing of its products, which it touts as a safer alternative to regular tobacco products. In June, it reached a similar deal with the attorney general of North Carolina that included a $40 million payment and promises not to market to minors and boost enforcement of retailers who sell its products.

Lawsuits with a handful of other states remain.

E-cigarettes are touted as safer than tobacco cigarettes because while they deliver the addictive drug nicotine they do not give off smoke that contains carcinogens. But they are still addictive and dangerous to health, especially for teenagers whose brains are still developing.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first e-cigarette last month, saying the R.J. Reynolds’ product has a clear benefit because it can reduce the use of regular cigarettes. Juul’s product remains under FDA review. Some adulterated vaping products have caused serious health effects.

All but $2 million of the $14.5 million Arizona settlement will be used for programs that discourage use of vaping products,

Why Tobacco Companies Are Paying to Tell You Smoking Kills

The biggest tobacco companies in the United States will start running prime-time television commercials and full-page ads in national newspapers on Sunday — but the campaign is unlikely to spur enthusiasm for their products.

“More people,” one ad says, “die every year from smoking than murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes, and alcohol, combined.” Another reads: “Cigarette companies intentionally designed cigarettes with enough nicotine to create and sustain addiction.”

Each ad starts by noting that Altria, R. J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard and Philip Morris USA were ordered to make the statements by a federal court.

The messages stem from a lawsuit brought by the Justice Department in 1999. As part of the 2006 ruling in the suit, which sought to punish cigarette makers for decades of deceiving the public about the dangers of their product, the companies were ordered to disseminate “corrective statements” centered on the health risks and addictive nature of smoking. But until now, they resisted through appeals and by wrangling over wording.

“It’s both an important victory and a frustrating one,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, who has worked on the case since 1999. The tobacco companies “have spent millions of dollars and a decade of time resisting a court order that simply requires them to publish truthful facts about their products and their behavior,” he said.

Mr. Myers said the ads would be less effective than originally intended because fewer people read newspapers and watch television today. The tobacco companies, he said, also negotiated to not include the phrase “here’s the truth” in the ads.

Will the “Tobacco Strategy” Work Against Big Oil?

According to InsideClimate News, the office of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman had been investigating ExxonMobil for a year before it issued a recent subpoena for “documents on what Exxon knew about climate change and what it told shareholders and the public.” The subpoena compelled ExxonMobil to hand over scientific research and communications about climate change dating back to 1977. (Exxon and Mobil merged to become a single corporation in 1999.) The investigation is based on New York State’s consumer-protection and general-business laws and, crucially, the state’s Martin Act, InsideClimate News reported. That statute prohibits fraud or misrepresentation in the sale of securities and commodities, and gives the Attorney General extraordinary power to fight financial fraud.

Exxon had no duty to share with the public the information it gathered about climate change starting almost forty years ago, but it was forbidden to deceive shareholders and potential buyers of its shares. Earlier this fall, InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times reported that Exxon scientists warned executives about the potential environmental catastrophe from the use of fossil fuels, and that, even so, the company deliberately spread doubt about that scientific view. In cases like this, the Martin Act is a particularly potent tool because the state must prove only misrepresentation, omission of a material fact, or other conduct that deceives or misleads the public. It doesn’t require the Attorney General’s office to show proof of intent to defraud or proof that anyone was defrauded.

Members of Congress, environmentalists, and academics have been calling for a state or federal investigation since before the story broke about the company’s far-reaching research. Back in May, Senator Sheldon

Physicians testified for tobacco companies against plaintiffs with cancers

Despite scientific evidence to the contrary, a small group of otolaryngologists have repeatedly testified, on behalf of the tobacco industry, that heavy smoking did not cause the cancer in cases of dying patients suing for damages, according to a study by a Stanford University School of Medicine researcher.

“I was shocked by the degree to which these physicians were willing to testify, in my opinion in an unscientific way, to deny a dying plaintiff — suffering the aftermath of a lifetime of smoking — a fair trial,” said Robert Jackler, MD, professor and chair of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, referring to the physicians cited in the study as a “pool of experts willing to say over and over again that smoking didn’t cause cancer.”

The study was created by a Stanford University School of Medicine researcher and published online July 17 in Laryngoscope.

Jackler, who holds the Edward C. and Amy H. Sewall Professorship in Otorhinolaryngology, conducted a year and a half of research, which included reading through thousands of pages of publicly available, expert-witness depositions and trial testimony. He then reviewed the scientific literature to see if testimony by expert witnesses for the tobacco industry was supported by evidence. Jackler said that a physician serving as an expert witness has an ethical obligation to interpret the scientific data in a fair and balanced manner. The literature, he found, repeatedly repudiated the testimony. “My study found they used scientifically invalid methods to support their testimony,” he said.

Salted fish, mouthwash — but not tobacco?

The study reports that six board-certified otolaryngologists were paid by one or more of the tobacco companies R.J. Reynolds, Phillip Morris and Lorillard to serve as expert witnesses. These physicians gave testimony that indicated a multiplicity of environmental factors, ranging from exposure to cleaning solvents to the consumption of salted fish to the use of mouthwash, were more likely to have caused the plaintiffs’ head and neck cancers than years of heavy smoking. The cases occurred between 2009 and 2014. One physician said he was paid $100,000 to testify in a single case. Another admitted that her opinion was written by tobacco company lawyers and then approved by her. Still another rejected reports from the Surgeon General as authoritative sources.

Together, the six otolaryngologists in this study helped to defend the tobacco industry in more than 50 cases.

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