Sunday, October 21, 2012

Class action suit targets Kentucky's largest health insurer for conspiracy and unfair price tactics

I'm proud to be the plaintiff's attorney in a federal class action lawsuit filed recently by our firm, Jones Ward PLC. The suit is against Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky, for illegally conspiring to drive up prices for consumers. Anthem is the largest health insurer in Kentucky by far, collecting $326 million in premiums every year. The next largest insurer, Humana, collects just $27 million in premiums. Anthem's status as the 800-pound gorilla of health insurance in the Commonwealth is no accident. Anthem operates under the Blue Cross Blue Shield trademark, and is part of insurance mega-company Wellpoint, Inc. Anthem's strategy for limiting competition is simple. It teams up with other Blue Cross partners and illegally divides up the nation's insurance market in violation of the Sherman Act. The insurance companies then agree to stay on their own turf and not compete with each other. In the process, they drive up prices and keep competitors out.

To read more about this case, and to download a PDF copy of the lawsuit, click here

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bad products flood U.S. economy

From exercise bikes and vitamins to coffeemakers and walking shoes, defective products are flooding the U.S. economy and harming consumers in all walks of life. That's the general message of a newspaper story published today by Darla Carter of The Courier-Journal in Louisville. In describing a long list of recalled or defective items, Carter writes that "products that we buy to improve our health or make our lives easier can leave us feeling cheated because they don't live up to marketing hype or have dangerous flaws."
This news story should not come as a surprise to consumers who have been injured by these products. It happens more often than you might think. The attorneys at Jones Ward PLC receive calls every day about problems like this. Here's a list of some of the defective products:
Sunbeam Products, recalled 520,000 of its coffee machines after more than 60 reports of burn injuries to the face and other body parts.
Reebok over-hyped its EasyTone walking shoes and ended up paying $25 million for refunds.
These blinds were recalled after a 2-year-old girl was strangled in the loop of a cord that wasn't attached to the wall or floor. This isn't the first miniblind recall. Anyone with children should be especially careful to check the brand's safety record and make sure blinds are properly installed.
Vitamin marketers including NBTY paid $2.1 million to settle charges about children's multivitamins featuring the Disney Princesses, Winnie the Pooh, and Spider-Man. The vitamins were falsely promoted as being good for healthy brain and eye development.
The company that makes the Ab Circle Pro will pay up to $25 million to settle charges of deceptive advertising. They claimed that working out three minutes a day on the Ab Circle would lead to a 10-pound weight loss in 14 days. It's ridiculous and sad that a company would even try to make a claim like this. Think about it: a total workout of roughly 45 minutes leading to a 10-pound weight loss. ab-circle-pro-review-1.jpg

There have been hundreds of reports of this product breaking, causing injuries to the head, face, shoulder and hip.
This drug, Budeprion XL 300 mg., is marketed as equivalent to Wellbutrin XL 300 mg. Turns out it's not equivalent at all, which means some patients might not get the desired effect with the generic drug, which is used to treat depression and to prevent seasonal affective disorder. It's made by Teva Pharmaceuticals USA and Impax Laboratories.
This list of recalled products could certainly be longer. Indeed, nearly every day a consumer product in the United States is recalled due to safety concerns or fraudulent marketing. If you or a loved one have been injured by one of the above products, or another recalled consumer item, call Attorney Alex Davis at 502-882-6000 for a free case evaluation, or email him at

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Metal hip implant cases moving forward

I've spent most of the last three years learning about how metal hip implants injure people. These medical devices were promoted over the last decade as the best thing since sliced bread. They were pitched as a product that would last forever. Turned out that many of them had a higher than normal failure rate.

Now, hip device companies are facing a mountain of lawsuits from people with a nasty condition called metallosis, which can injure the kidneys, destroy tissue and bone, and cause memory problems. Here's a blog post that I wrote for our law firm, Jones Ward PLC, earlier today about the latest twist in the mass tort world of hip implants.

"Dozens of lawsuits over failed Biomet hip implants are being merged together in a federal court in Indiana, over the objection of Biomet.
The cases, including some from Jones Ward PLC, involve failed metal-on-metal implants made by Biomet. The most common type is the Biomet M2A Magnum. Lawyers for the Indiana company argued that the cases should not be merged together, in part because they claimed the devices were not as defective as other metal-on-metal implants such as the DePuy ASR.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation, or JPML, disagreed. The panel, in a ruling filed Oct. 2, 2012, wrote that Biomet's efforts to settle some cases involving failed Magnums were "dwarfed by the almost 70 cases currently pending in federal court."

That number will almost certainly grow in the coming months as lawyers with Jones Ward PLC and other leading mass tort law firms seek compensation on behalf of those who have been injured by failed metal-on-metal Biomet implants. Sadly, the problems with these implants are similar to the problems with other metal-on-metal implants made by DePuy, Zimmer, and other manufacturers. In certain patients, the metal parts rub against each other, shedding tiny particles of cobalt and chromium into the patient's bloodstream, which can lead to a dangerous condition called metallosis.

The only permanent cure for metallosis is surgery to have the metal implant device removed. Although the cases against Biomet will likely require extensive litigation over the coming years, the recent ruling by the JPML is a step in the right direction toward getting injured implant recipients the compensation they deserve. Unlike a class action lawsuit, these cases will be merged together in Indiana just for the purposes of handling pre-trial testimony and the exchange of evidence, which is called discovery. In theory, each case would return to a local court once the merged case in Indiana is complete. If you or a loved one have been injured by a failed metal-on-metal hip implant made by Biomet, DePuy, or another company, call Attorney Alex Davis at 502-882-6000 for a free case evaluation, or email him at"

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lawsuit of the week: penis amputation case

Our law firm, Jones Ward, was swarmed by reporters this week after we filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a Louisville man whose penis had to be amputated due to poor hospital care. That's right. Amputated. Ouch.

To read a copy of the complaint, click here. Numerous television stations and newspapers, some as far away as England, ran stories about the lawsuit, and it was the focus of a special report on CNN.

What wasn't mentioned in those segments is the fact that the attorneys at Jones Ward PLC deal with these kinds of cases on a daily basis. For example, the law firm currently represents a coal miner who had his foot and lower leg amputated in a job-related accident in eastern Kentucky. It also represents individuals who have had body parts amputated due to failed medical implants. Perhaps the saddest amputation case of all was a jury trial in which the attorneys at Jones Ward successfully argued in favor of a woman who witnessed the amputation of her newborn baby's head in the hospital as the baby was being born. The jury awarded the woman $1.4 million.

In other news, here's a photo of me, obviously pretty pleased with myself, at the swearing in ceremony for new lawyers on Thursday. There's another ceremony in Frankfort on Oct. 19, but I wanted to be official as soon as possible. Time to get to work. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sweet, sweet news: Bar Exam results arrive

All my poker chips riding on one number
Life is returning to normal, whatever that means, after a few days of total pandemonium following the release of the July 2012 bar exam results in Kentucky. The good news: I passed. Better news: I don't know of anyone who did not pass. Of course, there are folks who didn't pass the exam. The overall rate of passage in Kentucky was roughly 80 percent for the February exam. First-time exam takers from U of L Law had a 90 percent pass rate last summer, and those with top-notch grades in law school did even better. For a full breakdown of bar passage rates, click here.
I'm just relieved that the process is over. It was  a humbling experience. I'll be sworn in as a lawyer Thursday by Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson in Louisville. My name will appear on lawsuits as soon as my license is complete, possibly as soon as next week. Then it's on to depositions, discovery, and possibly a trial later this year or early in 2013. Most people don't wake up in the morning and smile when they remember they have to go to work. I honestly can't wait to get to work as a lawyer. Congratulations to all those who passed the Kentucky bar exam.