Lawyers are the first to tell you that you don’t always need to go to trial; for every valid claim that makes it to trial, there are dozens that never see the light of day. Just as there are provisions, edicts, and even laws that prevent frivolous lawsuits from going to trial, there are provisions that allow valid complaints to be handled quickly and effectively. When more than one person has a similar complaint against a common defendant, there are even more options. When hundreds of thousands or even millions of people have all been affected by the same problem, the game changes all over again.
In February 2016, National Geographic wrote about a growing epidemic of bacterial infections among cardiac surgery patients. “The infection is Mycobacterium chimaera, which does not normally cause disease in humans, but is found in water and soil. The source is troubling and odd: spray from the fan of a heater-cooler device used to control the temperature of blood during a cardiac bypass, which contaminates both the otherwise-sterile operating field, and also any implants—a new valve, a vascular graft—being placed in or around the heart.”
That information came to light a full year ago. If you’ll notice, the Sorin 3T wasn’t named in the National Geographic piece. That’s because the FDA announcement about the bacterial infection was for all heater-coolers. Still, this particular device is used in 60% of heart bypass surgeries, and as of February 1, 2017, at least three L.A. County patients have been infected, as per the Los Angeles Times. Benjamin Schwartz, acting director of the county’s acute communicable disease control program, said “Officials have talked to 24 hospitals in the county that use the device…. The two hospitals reporting the infections may have worked harder at trying to find patients who were sickened.”
Is a class-action the best way to go?
The phrase “class action lawsuit” gets a bad rap; most people associate the concept with a postcard and a three-dollar check from AT&T once a year. In reality, the class action lawsuit is a powerful legal tool used to recover significant damages for a large number of people affected by the negligence of a major corporation. Simply put, it’s a claim filed against a defendant, just like any other claim. The main difference is that the claim is filed on behalf of all members of a certain class. For defective products cases like these, a class-action can help move claims through the justice system more quickly.
Still, there are benefits to individual defective product lawsuits. As LA County has seen fewer outbreaks than other parts of the country, it may be beneficial to file an individual claim if you or your loved one was infected.
If you believe that you or your loved one is a member of this class, contact the experienced defective product lawyers of Taylor & Ring. We know what it takes to a build a successful case for our injury clients. To learn more, or to make an appointment with a dedicated Los Angeles injury lawyer, please call 310-776-6390 or fill out our contact form.
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