December 30, 2010
The PSA blood test, used to screen for prostate cancer, saves few lives and leads to risky and unnecessary treatments for large numbers of men, two large studies have found.
The findings, the first based on rigorous, randomized studies, confirm some longstanding concerns about the wisdom of widespread prostate cancer screening. Although the studies are continuing, results so far are considered significant and the most definitive to date.
The PSA test, which measures a protein released by prostate cells, does what it is supposed to do — indicates a cancer might be present, leading to biopsies to determine if there is a tumor. But it has been difficult to know whether finding prostate cancer early saves lives. Most of the cancers tend to grow very slowly and are never a threat and, with the faster-growing ones, even early diagnosis might be too late.
Article: NY Times
The study would come to be called “cursed,” but it started out just as Study 15.
It was a long-term trial of the antipsychotic drug Seroquel. The common wisdom in psychiatric circles was that newer drugs were far better than older drugs, but Study 15′s results suggested otherwise.
As a result, newly unearthed documents show, Study 15 suffered the same fate as many industry-sponsored trials that yield data drugmakers don’t like: It got buried. It took eight years before a taxpayer-funded study rediscovered what Study 15 had found — and raised serious concerns about an entire new class of expensive drugs.
Study 15 was silenced in 1997, the same year Seroquel was approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat schizophrenia. The drug went on to be prescribed to hundreds of thousands of patients around the world and has earned billions for London-based AstraZeneca International — including nearly $12 billion in the past three years.
The results of Study 15 were never published or shared with doctors, even as less rigorous studies that came up with positive results for Seroquel were published and used in marketing campaigns aimed at physicians and in television ads aimed at consumers. The results of Study 15 were provided only to the Food and Drug Administration — and the agency has strenuously maintained that it does not have the authority to place such studies in the public domain.
Article: Washington Post
In a case of first impression, a New Jersey appeals court on Wednesday denied a defense request for an autopsy of an asbestos-exposure plaintiff who died two days before trial.
The panel, in St. John v. Affinia Group, affirmed a trial judge’s finding that defendants Chrysler Corp. and Honeywell failed to show that examination of the dead man’s lung tissue would produce significant evidence.
The ruling means that Harold St. John, whose body has been stored at the DeMarco funeral home in Monroe Township, N.J., can now be laid to rest.
The Middlesex County suit claims St. John, who died on Feb. 28 at age 67, contracted mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer, by inhaling asbestos while working in a car-repair shop decades earlier.
Chrysler and Honeywell learned of his death on March 2, the day trial was to start, and immediately asked for an autopsy to learn what, if any, fibers were present in St. John’s lung tissue, in order to help refute causation.
Superior Court Judge Phillip Paley denied the request the next day. An emergent appeal resulted in a March 4 order halting the burial in progress at the Holy Cross Burial Park in South Brunswick, N.J. The order also sent the matter back for a hearing and written opinion.
In a March 12 opinion, Paley adhered to his original denial of the autopsy, which he based on lack of sufficient showing of need, on the family’s religious objections and on the “compelling public necessity standard” set forth in the law governing autopsies by medical examiners, N.J.S.A. 52:17B-88.1 et seq.
Appellate Division Judges Dorothea Wefing, Laura LeWinn and Lorraine Parker agreed with Paley that the defendants’ medical expert testimony “did not establish by a preponderance of the evidence that it is reasonably likely that a limited autopsy would yield results that are evidentially significant in terms of the pending trial.”
A jury awarded a 21-year-old Wauchula woman $65 million Wednesday for her injuries in a 2007 crash.
The verdict is considered to be one of the largest by a Polk County jury.
Wednesday’s verdict stemmed from a traffic crash in Zolfo Springs that left Kendra Lymon in a coma and hospitalized for months.
Lymon had been driving her Dodge Neon on Aug. 21, 2007, when a tractor-trailer owned by an Auburndale-based company, Bynum Transport, struck her car at State Road 35 and State Road 64, according to the lawsuit naming Bynum and the driver.
A telephone call Wednesday evening to Bynum Transport was not returned.
The truck’s driver, Robert Bohn, a battalion chief for Polk County Fire Services, was working part-time for the trucking company.
Bohn said in a deposition that he went into the intersection because he had the green light.
But at trial, Lymon’s lawyers argued their client had the green light and produced an eyewitness to testify as such.
Stanford Financial Group’s chief investment officer is suing Lloyd’s of London, alleging it failed to pay for her legal defense under terms of an insurance policy.
Laura Pendergest-Holt alleges in the suit, filed in state court in Dallas, that Lloyd’s has not responded to a number of requests to provide the funds through Stanford’s Directors and Officers Liability and Company Indemnity policy. Such policies are common at many companies and cover the legal defense for executives facing lawsuits by investors or other parties.
Pendergest-Holt was named in civil fraud charges filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Feb. 17 against the company and two other executives, Stanford Chairman R. Allen Stanford and Chief Financial Officer James Davis.
On Feb. 26 she was arrested on criminal charges of lying to SEC investigators. She has not formally entered a plea but her attorneys have said she is innocent, and she is free on $300,000 bail. She is the only person so far facing criminal charges in connection with the investigation.
Like her co-defendants in the civil case, Pendergest-Holt has had her assets frozen and she “thus has no assets to defend herself against the SEC’s claims,” the suit says.
Pendergest-Holt lawyer Brent Baker of Salt Lake City said Lloyd’s hasn’t responded to inquiries and “we need to be able to present a defense for her.”
A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by the mother of a toddler who drowned in a hot tub at a North Las Vegas day care center Jan. 13.
The suit, filed in Clark County District Court on March 16 by Janet Williams, alleges Marisela’s Family Day Care Center was negligent in failing to care for 18-month-old Jordan Williams, who died after he and another child, who was 3 years old, were found in a hot tub attached to a pool at the home-based day care. The 3-year-old survived.
Marisela Carvajal, listed along with Ramon Carvajal as owners of the business, could not immediately be reached for comment. The day care’s city business license was canceled Feb. 12 and it no longer operates, records show.
The Clark County District Attorney’s office ruled Jan. 27 that the drowning was accidental and filed no charges.
A police account said Marisela Carvajal told investigators she was watching three children at the time of the drowning, and the children were playing in a gated outdoor area. She said she went to the bathroom, then to the kitchen for a drink. While she was in the kitchen, she told police, she couldn’t hear the children. Then she realized the gate to the pool was open and discovered the two children in the hot tub.
The day care center had passed all inspections through 2008.
In the lawsuit, filed by attorney Robert Massi, Janet Williams said Marisela’s held itself “out to the public and to plaintiffs as being skilled, careful and diligently able to supervise, safeguard and protect the children under its care and supervision.”
Article: Las Vegas Sun
San Francisco lawyers rescued Wal-Mart and a group of pet food manufacturers on Monday from a class action that could have led to millions of dollars in damages.
A federal judge in Nevada granted a motion by the defense to pre-emptively deny certification to a class of plaintiffs that would have spanned eight states (pdf), including California.
Squire, Sanders & Dempsey of counsel Evan Nadel, who with partner Mark Goodman represented Wal-Mart, said a pre-emptive motion is “particularly potent,” because it can eliminate exposure early on.
“My first impression was I really thought that was a huge stretch for them to get class treatment of a fraud claim,” said Nadel.
Typically, plaintiffs try to certify a class only after getting a chance to discover more facts about a case. But courts allow defendants to deny certification early on if the law simply wouldn’t support it.
Margaret Picus, a Nevada woman, filed a class action in state court against Wal-Mart and a group of food manufacturers in April 2007, alleging that they illegally labeled their pet food “Made inUSA,” though some ingredients were imported from China.
The previous month, the Food and Drug Administration had announced that certain pet food ingredients imported from China were sickening and killing cats and dogs.
The defense removed Picus’ class action to federal court, where she narrowed her claim to a violation of the Nevada Deceptive Trade Practices Act and similar laws in seven other states.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Philip Pro of Nevada denied Picus class certification in Picus v. Wal-Mart Stores, 07-00682, ruling that subjective, individual issues made a class action the wrong way to handle the case.
Specifically, Pro wrote in his decision, the law requires the plaintiffs to prove that each person who bought the tainted pet food did so because it was labeled “Made in USA.”
Picus’ attorney, Norman Blumenthal, said Tuesday that Pro was acting as a “soldier for corporate America” and that his ruling makes it “open season on consumers.”
Merck & Co. need not defend a lawsuit in which the company is accused of defrauding millions of users of its painkiller Vioxx, a New Jersey judge ruled, dealing a “death knell” to class-action claims by consumers.
Consumers who sued didn’t meet the legal requirements for such a group claim under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, Superior Court Judge Carol Higbee said today in Atlantic City. “Problems with individualized issues of proof would be unmanageable,” such as how much each consumer paid for the drug and everyone’s reason for taking it, she said.
“There may not be an alternative, superior form of resolution for these claims, considering the small size of the damages alleged for each member of the class,” Higbee ruled. “This decision may indeed be a death knell to the claims of most individual consumers. However, the court cannot find that a class action is a superior form of resolution, either.”
Lawyers sought to recoup the cost of the drug for all consumers outside California who bought Vioxx from June 1999, when it went on the market, to October 2004, when Merck withdrew it over safety concerns. Consumers also sought punitive damages.
Merck agreed in 2007 to pay $4.85 billion to resolve lawsuits by people claiming Vioxx caused heart attacks and strokes. The consumer case was aimed at recovering money for economic losses, not personal injuries.
“We are pleased that the court agreed this was not an appropriate case to proceed as a class action,” Ted Mayer, a Merck attorney at Hughes, Hubbard & Reed, said in a statement.
Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s biggest gold producer, will pay $24 million to settle a lawsuit in which investors claimed the company misled them by saying a hedging program didn’t hurt profits as gold prices rose.
Insurers of the Toronto-based company will probably pay most of the settlement, Vince Borg, a Barrick spokesman, said today in a telephone interview in which he disclosed the settlement amount. Barrick must conclude negotiations over coverage with the insurers before signing the settlement agreement, he said.
“There is no admission of liability” in the settlement, Borg said.
The accord was made public yesterday. U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in New York postponed a settlement hearing from today until March 31.
The settlement covers investors who bought Barrick stock from Feb. 14 to Sept. 26, 2002, when Barrick issued a statement cutting its earnings forecast for the year by a third. The stock fell 11 percent that day.
Barrick hedged its production by entering into contracts to sell some gold at fixed prices before it was mined to protect against a drop in bullion prices. Shareholders claimed in the lawsuit filed in 2003 that the program was speculative and risky, resulting in a drop in the share price as gold prices rose.
“It is clear that investors engaged in a sell-off of Barrick stock due, in part, to defendants’ repeated misrepresentations that Barrick’s program would not prevent the company from profiting in a rising gold market,” the plaintiffs said in their complaint.
The brother of a Butte priest who was seriously injured in a natural gas explosion in his apartment on Easter Sunday 2007 has filed a lawsuit against NorthWestern Energy.
The Rev. John McCarthy filed the lawsuit in District Court in Butte Monday. He is seeking compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress and property damage. He is also seeking punitive damages.
The April 8, 2007 explosion severely burned the Rev. James C. McCarthy, and he was hospitalized for months. Investigators have said natural gas leaking from a supply line, ignited when McCarthy lighted a cigarette, caused the explosion.
The lawsuit says James McCarthy, 71, died in November 2007 as a result of his burns.
The lawsuit blames a faulty threaded elbow joint on the service line leading to the house for the gas leak.
At the time, Butte fire marshal John Lasky said McCarthy and his neighbors smelled gas more than 16 hours before the explosion, but did not report it to authorities.
The lawsuit also names as a defendant Leonard Leveaux, who was a division manager for NorthWestern at the time of the explosion.
Article: Seattle TimesNewer Posts »