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2023 Year in Review: Do You Have a Class Action or Mass Tort Claim in 2024?

Mass Tort News

While the products we buy are supposed to be safe for their intended use, this isn’t always the case. Companies sell dangerous and defective products, and these products often lead to serious—and sometimes fatal—illnesses and injuries. At Searcy Denney, we are committed to holding companies responsible, and we have recovered billions of dollars in financial compensation for victims and their families.

Each year, we publish numerous articles on our blog covering topics that are important to victims and their families. Last year was no exception. If you think that you may need to join a class action lawsuit or file a mass tort claim related to a dangerous or defective product, here is a recap of what you need to know in 2024:

Gastroparesis Caused By Ozempic and Wegovy

Ozempic took the world by storm in 2023. Once a little-known diabetes medication, Ozempic started making national headlines when it was discovered that the drug could be used to curb people’s appetites and achieve dramatic weight loss. Wegovy, a similar drug manufactured by a different pharmaceutical company, became extremely popular as well.

Sadly, as Ozempic and Wegovy grew in popularity, it was discovered that these drugs, belonging to a class of medications known as semaglutides, presented a serious risk for gastroparesis. Also known as “stomach paralysis,” gastroparesis is a potentially dangerous medical condition that can cause severe nausea and vomiting—and that requires emergency hospitalization in some cases.

Our mass tort lawyers began investigating potential claims against Ozempic and Wegovy’s manufacturers in 2023. To find out if you may have a claim in 2024, you can read: Searcy Denney Investigates Claims of Gastroparesis Caused by Ozempic, Other Weight Loss Drugs.

Elevated Lead Levels in WanaBana Applesauce Pouches

In November 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning advising parents and caregivers “not to buy or feed WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree pouches to toddlers or young children because of elevated blood levels.” In conjunction with this warning, the manufacturer of WanaBana applesauce pouches agreed to a voluntary recall.

The recall applies not only to WanaBana brand applesauce pouches but also to pouches sold under the brands Schnucks Apple Sauce and Weis Cinnamon Apple Sauce. Sadly, as the FDA notes, the symptoms of lead poisoning in children may not be readily apparent, and lead poisoning can only be diagnosed through clinical testing. As a result, parents generally will not know that their child has experienced lead poisoning from WanaBana, Schnucks or Weis brand applesauce pouches unless they go to the hospital or see their pediatrician.

Shortly after the FDA issued its warning, our mass tort lawyers wrote an article discussing the symptoms caused by elevated blood levels and the potential long-term risks. Our lawyers also discussed the steps that parents can (and should) take if they need to hold the manufacturer accountable. To learn more, you can read: FDA Warns of Elevated Lead Levels in WanaBana Applesauce Pouches.

Contaminated Eye Drops

Several companies recalled eye drops in 2023 due to contamination. The contaminants in these recalled eye drops present risks for several serious health conditions, including ocular infections, which have the potential to cause blindness or even death. This outbreak is notable not only because it potentially affects thousands of eye drop users across the United States, but also because it involved numerous contaminants, including strep and staph—among many others.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a serious medical condition after using eye drops sold by EzriCare, Delsam Pharma or another company, you should speak with a lawyer about your family’s legal rights. You may be entitled to significant financial compensation. To learn more about the risks associated with contaminated eye drops, you can read: The Most Common Types of Contaminants Found in Eye Drops.

While the contaminated eye drop recalls in 2023 were widespread, not all eye drops were affected. If you are experiencing symptoms such as abnormal light sensitivity, blurred vision or eye pain and you haven’t used contaminated eye drops, you should consult with your physician about other possible causes of your condition.

The FDA maintains a database of recalled products, and if you have concerns about your (or a loved one’s) eye drops, we encourage you to search the database to see if a recall applies. We also published an article in October that lists the names and manufacturers of some of the most popular contaminated eye drop brands. To find out if your (or your loved one’s) eye drops may have been contaminated, you can read: How to Check if Your Eye Drops Have Been Recalled Due to Contamination.

Cancer-Causing Chemical Hair Straighteners

In 2023 we also saw some of the first major lawsuits filed in cases involving cancers and other medical conditions caused by chemical hair straighteners. Numerous brands of chemical hair straighteners have been linked to uterine cancer and other serious medical conditions—and, as awareness of the issue continues to grow, more women are taking action to assert their legal rights. If you are wondering whether you may have a claim related to a chemical hair straightener, we encourage you to read: Why Are So Many Women Suing Over Chemical Hair Straighteners? Examining the Evidence.

Why do chemical hair straighteners present risks for uterine cancer and other serious (and potentially life-threatening) illnesses? Studies have found that chemical hair relaxing products sold by several companies contain dangerous chemicals such as bisphenol A, formaldehyde and parabens. While these chemicals are supposed to interact with hair and cause curls to relax, they can also penetrate the skin during use. When absorbed through the skin, these chemicals can cause cancer and other medical conditions over time.

In 2023 we published a comprehensive review of the link between chemical hair straighteners, cancers and other health problems. The article also discusses some of the key considerations involved in determining whether you may have a claim for financial compensation. To learn more, you can read: The Link Between Chemical Hair Straighteners and Health Problems: Understanding the Science.

For most women and families, filing a claim for cancer (or any other health condition) caused by a chemical hair relaxer will involve joining a pending mass tort lawsuit. Currently, there are lawsuits pending against L’Oreal and multiple other companies. Joining a mass tort lawsuit provides the opportunity to recover just compensation when filing a lawsuit individually wouldn’t make sense financially due to the costs involved. For more information about joining a chemical hair straightener mass tort lawsuit, you can read: What You Need to Know About the Recent Mass Tort Litigation for Chemical Hair Straighteners.

Many women have used chemical hair straighteners for years, and switching products can be difficult once you’ve found something that you like. This is especially true when it comes to your appearance. But, due to the risks involved, the FDA recommends against using chemical relaxers that are known to present risks for uterine cancer and other serious conditions. Fortunately, there are several non-chemical alternatives available. To learn about these alternatives, you can read: Protecting Yourself from Harmful Chemicals: Alternatives to Chemical Hair Straighteners.

Exactech Shoulder Replacement Defects

Exactech shoulder replacement systems were another product subject to widespread recalls in 2023. Unfortunately, defective medical devices are not uncommon, and Exactech has had issues with its knee replacement devices in the past. Our firm is available to handle defective shoulder replacement claims against Exactech. For more information, you can read: Exactech Shoulder Replacement Systems: What You Need to Know.

Exactech’s defective shoulder replacement systems present risks for a variety of potentially serious complications. If you or someone you love has an Exactech shoulder implant, it will be important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of defect-related issues. To learn about these signs and symptoms, you can read: The Most Common Exactech Shoulder Issues and How to Identify Them.

A lot has happened since Exactech first issued the recall for its defective shoulder replacement devices. This includes lots of updates in the mass tort litigation against the company. While you don’t need to know the whole history if you have a claim, a brief review can help you understand whether you may have a claim. For an overview of the pending litigation against Exactech, you can read: The Exactech Recall: A Quick Synopsis and Update on What You Need to Know.

Exactech has now recalled hundreds of thousands of defective medical devices. Unfortunately, for many patients, these recalls come too late. But, for those who have not yet experienced serious complications, obtaining a replacement device (if necessary) may prevent infections, joint failures, fractures and other potentially life-altering (or even life-threatening) medical conditions. Learn more: The Impact of the Exactech Recall on Patient Safety.

Class Action and Mass Tort Claims Based on Dangerous and Defective Products

Many class action and mass tort claims involve dangerous and defective products. These include dangerous drugs and medical devices, dangerous foods, dangerous eye drops, and dangerous chemical hair straighteners, among many others. Several different factors can make products unsafe for their intended use, and understanding why a product presents a risk for illness or injury is critical for filing a class action or mass tort lawsuit. To learn about the grounds for pursuing a product-related class action or mass tort claim, you can read: Types of Product Liability Claims in Florida: Design, Manufacturing, and Marketing Defects.

Whether you are eligible to join a class action or mass tort lawsuit or you need to file a claim on your own, it is important to have as much evidence as possible. If you (or a loved one) has been injured by a dangerous or defective product, this means keeping the product and its packaging, if possible. But, there may be other forms of evidence available as well, and it is important that you speak with an attorney regardless of what evidence (if any) you currently have in your possession. Learn more: The Importance of Keeping Evidence in a Product Liability Case in Florida.

In class action and mass tort cases involving dangerous and defective products, what you need to prove in order to recover just compensation depends on the circumstances involved. Manufacturers, retailers and other companies can be held liable on various grounds—but, again, you will need adequate evidence in order to recover the financial compensation you deserve. To learn about the options for establishing liability for a product-related injury or illness, you can read: Proving Liability in a Product Liability Case in Florida.

Suffering an injury or illness caused by a dangerous or defective product can negatively impact all aspects of your life. If your child, spouse, or another loved one has been diagnosed with a serious medical condition caused by a product defect, this can cause you financial and non-financial losses as well. Understanding these costs is important for making informed decisions about taking legal action. To learn about some of the most common financial and non-financial costs associated with product related injuries and illnesses, you can read: The Impact of Defective Products on Florida Consumers: Types of Product Liability Claims.

While preserving any evidence that you may have available is important, this isn’t the only evidence you will need to prove your legal rights. You will also need expert testimony explaining how the defendant’s product caused your (or your loved one’s) condition and why the defendant is liable. For more information about how your attorney will use expert testimony to prove your legal rights, you can read: The Role of Expert Witnesses in Product Liability Cases in Florida.

Request a Free Consultation with a Mass Tort Lawyer at Searcy Denney

Do you have a claim in 2024? If you think the answer might be “Yes” (or if you don’t know and want to find out), we invite you to get in touch. To request a free consultation with a mass tort lawyer at Searcy Denney, please call 800-780-8607 or tell us how we can help online today.

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