What’s new in Mass Tort Law? Phillips CPAP and Hair Straightener Litigation

NeuwirthLawCase Matters, Medical Malpractice, Product Liability

I was recently contacted about a developing mass tort situation involving Phillips CPAP machines and decided that the client did not have a case. The issue in these cases is whether a connection can be drawn between cpap machines and a patient’s cancer. After reviewing the literature and the patient’s pathology report it appeared that the one thing I could be sure of was that the patient’s cancer was not caused by the CPAP machines. How do I know that? Well, the pathology report noted that the tumor staining revealed HPV. HPV is a highly contagious human virus. It could come from a lot of sources, but not from the CPAP. So, no case.

CPAP machines are a widely used device for sleep apnea. They basically help you have continuous oxygen flow while asleep. However, they have been found to have filters that basically either cannot be properly cleaned or leach carcinogenic fumes directly into the user. So, Phillips has now recalled ALL of its CPAP machines and paid a $700 million plus fine. That is not a big fine for them. The question is whether the machine recall and carcinogenic fume discharge can actually be tied to a particular patient’s cancer. This is a developing situation.

If you want to discuss, CPAP litigation and have a head and neck cancer diagnosis, send me an email at andrew@neuwirthlaw.com.

In some mass torts, like Round Up, victims of the product developed a very unique cancer that really could only be from the Round Up exposure. Basically, if you were a pilot crop dusting round up or around it in huge amounts and developed that cancer, you had a good case.

Another new mass tort that is developing is hair straightener litigation. Women using hair straightener were 2.5 times more likely to develop uterine cancer than a control group. So, the users were at an elevated risk of developing a very difficult to treat cancer. Uterine cancer is tough to treat because the uterus does not generate notably pain or other symptoms until the cancer has spread and cannot be cured. So, whether there is a provable link to the hair straightener, you will have a lot of uterine cancer victims who are deceased and hence have a lot of very upset family members and sympathetic jurors. That is one to watch.

If you want to discuss, hair straightener litigation, send me an email at andrew@neuwirthlaw.com.