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Bad Drugs & Medical Products

For well over a decade, the lawyers of Watts Guerra have taken a leading role in bringing justice to the victims of bad pharmaceutical drugs and medical products.

In 2001, Mikal Watts and others tried the first case in the country against Sulzer Orthopedics, Inc., alleging that three elderly women were subjected to multiple hip replacement surgeries because oil left on Sulzer hip implants required them to be removed. A jury found Sulzer guilty of both negligence and gross negligence, and awarded the three women $15.5 million. Our attorney’s fees were $2,090,000, our litigation expenses were $735,713, and net client recoveries were $2,424,287.

Since this case, we have continued to successfully resolve cases against medical product manufacturers for their defective products, including cases against the manufacturers of post-surgical pain relieving devices for skin damage caused thereby, against Guidant for its defective defibrillators, against Depuy for its defective hip implants, against Kugel for its bad mesh patches, against Renu for its bad eye solutions and against the defective birth control product known as Ortho Evra.

In 2003, Mikal Watts obtained the first plaintiffs’ verdict in the country against Pfizer/Warner-Lambert for that company’s inappropriate marketing of the diabetes drug, Rezulin. After a trial lasting several weeks, the jury awarded our client $43 million in actual damages for the damage to her liver caused by Rezulin, and assessed $100 million in punitive damages to punish the company for its grossly negligent conduct. Our attorney’s fees were $4,200,000, our litigation expenses were $658,245, and net client recoveries were $5,641,755.

In the mid-2000s, the lawyers of Watts Guerra pursued lawsuits against American Home Products on behalf of thousands suffering heart damage from the diet drug Fen-Phen. American Home Products paid the victims of Fen-Phen. At the same time, we settled thousands of claims against Eli Lilly involving its drug, Zyprexa. Overall, Lilly paid to settle such cases nationwide. Later, we filed thousands of lawsuits against Merck for those suffering heart attacks after taking its pain-relieving drug, Vioxx. After eleven trials, including two tried by our lawyers, Merck settled these cases. Out lawyers subsequently settled the cases of those suffering heart attacks after taking similar drugs, Celebrex and Bextra

In 2010, a federal multi-district litigation Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee hired Mikal Watts to try the first trial in the country against Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., involving its drug Levaquin. During the trial, we illustrated for the jury that the drug Levaquin caused tendinitis, inflammation and soreness to the Achilles tendon, making ruptures caused by that drug a virtual epidemic.

After a multi-week trial in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff, finding Ortho-McNeil guilty of both negligence and gross negligence. The United States Court of Appeals affirmed the negligence finding of the jury.

In 2012, a federal district court judge appointed Mikal Watts and four others as plaintiffs’ co-lead counsel in the litigation against Boehringer-Ingelheim for its blood thinning drug, Pradaxa. Within just 22 months, Watts and others had completed the discovery of the case, and achieved a nationwide settlement

Overall, our recoveries for our own clients in litigation brought for bad drugs and medical products exceeds $819 million. Of these recoveries in bad drug and medical products cases, total attorneys fees were $308,915,115, the litigation expenses withheld totaled $17,094,722, and net client recoveries were $494,506,657.

Case Type Injury Settlement Amount Attorney Fees Expenses Net to Client
Medical Product Bladder Cancer 44,161,176 17,404,496 1,372,464 25,384,216
Prescription Drug Diabetes 177,500,000 72,219,067 801,818 104,479,115
Prescription Drug Heart Damage 121,633,993 48,123,921 5,454,392 68,055,680
Prescription Drug Internal Bleeding 104,392,397 41,429,318 2,878,668 60,084,411
Medical Product Skin Death 48,573,000 19,102,928 2,546,872 26,923,200
Medical Product Cardiac Injury 15,263,274 5,930,114 187,156 9,146,004
Prescription Drug Heart Damage 13,137,899 5,297,836 640,091 7,199,972
Prescription Drug Brain Injury 11,200,000 4,480,000 513,750 6,206,250
Prescription Drug Liver Damage 10,500,000 4,200,000 462,741 5,837,259
Medical Product Brain Injury 10,205,688 3,893,181 234,581 6,077,926
Medical Product Hip injury 11,408,750 4,350,807 226,930 6,831,013
Medical Product Abdominal Hernias 7,636,698 3,594,742 288,688 3,753,268
Medical Product Heart Damage 515,203 170,179 4,713 340,311
Medical Product Heart Damage 222,067,947 70,839,224 151,228,722
Medical Product Addiction/Colon Damage 4,837,000 1,237,000 247,580 3,352,420
Medical Product Heart Damage 3,655,000 1,462,000 116,132 2,076,868
Medical Product Eye Injury 3,500,000 1,373,200 37,755 2,089,045
Medical Product Liver Injury 2,775,000 1,065,000 78,840 1,631,160
Medical Product permanent physical injuries 2,750,000 1,070,000 2,130 1,677,870
Medical Product Eye Injury 1,250,000 500,000 96,215 653,785
Medical Product Death 928,500 384,650 116,697 427,153
Medical Product Cardiac Injury 554,422 221,769 37,987 294,666
Medical Product Injury to Fetus 500,000 185,482 22,049 292,469
Medical Product Stroke 970,049 327,716 66,124 576,209
Medical Product Rhabdomyolysis 850,000 340,000 109,822 400,178
Prescription Drug Liver Damage 700,000 280,000 139,883 280,117
Medical Product Mesh Replacement/Removal 5,873,499 2,458,623 99,629 3,315,247
Medical Product Hip Replacement 780,000 295,062 7,577 477,361
Medical Product Incomplete Quadriplegic 700,000 636,765 63,235
Medical Device Defect Death 1,200,000 480,000 62,217 657,783
Settlement Amount Attorney Fees Expenses Net to Client
Total 819,519,495 308,516,315 17,027,525 493,975,654