Category: Recalls

Airbag Recalls, Legal Woes Continue for Takata Corp.

Dangerous, exploding airbags affecting every major auto manufacturer

A motion was filed Monday with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to fuse five

different class action lawsuits against a Tokyo-based airbag manufacturer, a legal news Web site

reported.

According to Austin Kirk of AboutLawsuits.com, plaintiffs involved in the five different airbag

recall lawsuits, filed against Takata Corp. in four different U.S. District Courts, asked the federal

panel to have all complaints heard by U.S. District Judge James King in the Southern District of

Florida. The legal teams claim the move will help to avoid conflicting rulings on the matter, and make

things more convenient

The judicial panel is expected to hear arguments regarding the motion in January 2015.

The court filing comes just days after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

(NHTSA) announced the expansion of a recall for defective airbags manufactured by Takata

Corp. between June 16, 2008 and June 20, 2014, potentially affecting more than 30,000 vehicles.

As of last month, in the United States, nearly 8 million vehicles equipped with the airbags have

been recalled.

According to the NHTSA, a defective inflator in the recalled vehicles could cause the airbag to

overinflate and rupture. The federal agency said that, in the event of a crash, metal parts in the

airbag assembly could “separate and potentially be propelled toward the interior of the vehicle”

like shrapnel.

At least four deaths have been reported in Honda vehicles (though the recall covers nearly every

major automotive manufacturer), and more than a hundred people have been injured by the

faulty Takata Corp. airbags. The NHTSA believes vehicle owners living in humid climates, like

the Gulf States, are at a higher risk.

If you believe you have been injured by a faulty Takata airbag installed in your vehicle you

may be entitled to significant compensation for medical bills and other damages. For more

information and a free evaluation of your claim, contact Arentz Law Group, P.C. by filling out

the form on the right, or by calling 1-800-305-6000.

New Fresenius Dialysis Lawsuit Filed

Fresenius Medical Care will be forced to defend yet another lawsuit, after Colleen Coultas filed a complaint last week alleging that Fresenius’ Granuflo and NaturaLyte dialysis products caused her mother’s death. Ms. Coultas’ mother died in 2010 after suffering cardiac arrest following dialysis treatment. Ms. Coultas, who has filed her case in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, argues that her mother’s cardiac arrest and death were caused by the use of Granuflo and NaturaLyte during dialysis. These products, manufactured by Fresenius, are allegedly the source of hundreds of strokes and heart attacks suffered by dialysis patients in the past few years.

Both Granuflo and NaturaLyte are acid concentrates used during dialysis treatment to regulate bicarbonate levels in patients. They have caused problems, however, because they contain sodium acetate, which the body converts to bicarbonate. Since this conversion was not foreseen, the resulting level of bicarbonate in the body during dialysis becomes dangerously high, leading to heart problems, strokes, and cardiac arrhythmias, among other side effects.

Like all other Granuflo and NaturaLyte lawsuits already filed, Ms. Coultas’ suit alleges that Fresenius knew that use of its products was likely to result in dangerously high bicarbonate levels, but withheld the information. In addition to manufacturing Granuflo and NaturaLyte, Fresenius also operates a large number of dialysis clinics throughout the United States. Both Granuflo and NaturaLyte are used at Fresenius clinics and by independent dialysis clinics. In November 2011, Fresenius sent an internal memorandum to the dialysis clinics that it owns, alerting its doctors about the need to monitor the bicarbonate levels of patients. A similar warning was not provided to independent dialysis clinics that used Granuflo or NaturaLyte. It was only in March 2012, when the internal memo was leaked to the FDA, that Fresenius made a public declaration about the likelihood that use of Granuflo and NaturaLyte would lead to dangerously elevated bicarbonate levels in dialysis patients.

In preparing its memorandum, Fresenius also undertook an internal investigation, the results of which became public when the memo leaked. Fresenius found that in 2010, the 667 Fresenius dialysis clinics were the site of 941 incidents of sudden cardiac arrest during dialysis treatment, which often resulted in death.

So far, at least 161 federal lawsuits have been filed against Fresenius. These cases have been consolidated in a multidistrict litigation, to be heard by Judge Woodlock of the Massachusetts District Court. Additionally, many other complaints have been filed in state court in Massachusetts, which is the site of Fresenius’ United States corporate headquarters. The number of Granuflo and NaturaLyte cases is expected to greatly increase in the next several months.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury or death after undergoing dialysis treatment in which Granuflo or NaturaLyte was used, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Arentz Law Group today at 1-800-305-6000 for a free, confidential legal consultation.

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