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Fracking Chemicals Found in Pennsylvania Drinking Water

Posted by David C. Strouss on May 8, 2015 8:06:00 AM


A new study has shown that a chemical used in fracking was found in the drinking water of 3 homes near Chesapeake Energy Corporation's fracking operations in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. The fracking chemical 2-Butoxyethanol (2-BE)  is used as a foaming agent in fracking fluid; the affected homeowners sued the fracking company after water from their wells foamed white and smelled of gas. While Chesapeake Energy never admitted responsibility, it settled the lawsuit and bought the three homes with the polluted water. This study analyzed the water from the homes using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, this study is one of the first to scientifically show fracking chemicals getting into drinking water. 

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a method of releasing trapped gas and oil from geologic formations deep underground. A well is drilled, thousands of feet down to the shale, then a casing of steel and cement is inserted around the walls of the well. The casing is perforated in dozens of places next to the shale. Then fracking fluid, which can contain up to 40,000 gallons of chemicals per well, is injected into the well at high pressure. The fluid enters the shale through the drilled holes and breaks - fractures - the shale formation, allowing the gas trapped in the shale to escape into the well.

Fracking companies claim that because fracking occurs so deep under ground - below drinking water aquifers - the many hazardous chemicals used in fracking pose no risk to human health. 2BE is a solvent used in latex paint, varnishes, enamels, paint strippers, dry-cleaning compounds, and liquid cleaners. The chemical found in the three families wells, 2-BE, is known to cause tumors and birth defects in rats. The amount of 2-BE found in the drinking water was within safety regulations, but It is not yet known if 2-BE causes cancer or birth defects in humans. 

The bigger concern is the possibility that other even more hazardous chemicals already known to cause birth defects and other reproductive harm in humans could similarly wind up in the drinking water of families. Many chemicals used in the fracking process, such as toluene, ethylene glycol, methanol, and ethanol, are known teratogens, meaning they are known to cause birth defects.

The study authors believe the fracking chemicals in the drinking water wells likely migrated from poor fracking well integrity. As a result of the lawsuit by the three homeowners, Pennsylvania now recommends that fracking companies extend the casings on wells at depths below 1000 feet. Of course, as Scott Anderson of the Environmental Working Groups points out, while drilling companies know how to make wells safer, "the fact is, they don't always do so."

Thornton Law Firm is currently investigating birth defect and other reproductive disorder claims against the fracking industry in Pennsylvania, Colorado, and other states. Thornton Law Firm currently represents many clients suffering birth defects resulting from parents’ chemical exposures. If you believe you or a family member has been harmed by nearby fracking operations, please tell us your story here, or contact our birth defect attorneys at 888-491-9726 for a free, confidential evaluation of your legal case.



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Topics: Pennsylvania, Fracking, chemicals, fracking fluid

Report: $2.3 Billion Settlement of Actos Lawsuits by Takeda

Posted by Marilyn McGoldrick on Apr 28, 2015 9:41:47 AM


Takeda Pharmaceuticals executives have reportedly offered more than $2.3 billion dollars to resolve the more than 8,000 lawsuits alleging that it hid the bladder cancer risks of its popular diabetes drug Actos. The settlement must still be approved, but reportedly the details of the settlement are final. If you or a loved one developed bladder cancer after taking Actos for diabetes, call the Actos lawyers at Thornton Law Firm at 888-491-9726 or tell us your story here for a free consultation.

Actos (piaglitazone) is prescribed for patients for Type 2 diabetes to regulate blood glucose. It has been on the market since 1999 and has accounted for billions of dollars in sales for Takeda and Eli Lilly, its U.S. marketing partner. Sales of Actos peaked at $4.5 billion dollars in 2011 and constituted 27% of Takeda's revenue.

More than 3500 lawsuits are pending in federal court in Louisiana, and 4500 are pending in other state courts. In the lawsuits, Takeda is accused of covering up its own data showing that Actos raises the risk of bladder cancer in patients. The FDA required a bladder cancer warning to be added to the label for Actos in March 2011 after analyzing the scientific data. However, documents produced by Takeda in the Actos litigation revealed Takeda knew of that link as early as 2004 and took measures to conceal the information from doctors and patients.

Takeda stands accused of destroying documents it was ordered to produce by the federal court. Last summer Federal Court Judge Rebecca Doherty ruled that Takeda had deliberately destroyed the files of 46 corporate representatives whose documents would have helped plaintiffs prove that Actos caused bladder cancer and that Takeda had engaged in a deliberate attempt to cover up that fact.

In April of last year, a federal jury in Louisiana awarded a man who developed bladder cancer after taking Actos $9 billion dollars in punitive damages against Takeda. Although the award was later reduced on appeal to $36.8 million dollars, certainly the risk of such large jury awards has led to this reported settlement. In total, 9 trials have gone to verdict alleging Actos caused bladder cancer, and the plaintiff prevailed in 5 of those cases.

Reports indicate the settlement will amount to more than $287,000 per claim. Actos users whose cases warrant greater compensation can opt out and continue to litigate in court. According to BloombergBusiness, an individual's final settlement may be reduced by certain factors, including age, smoking history and exposure to toxins. The settlement reportedly allows Takeda to walk away from the agreement if less than a certain percentage plaintiffs of agree to participate.

If you believe you or someone you love developed bladder cancer after taking Actos for diabetes, call the Actos lawyers at Thornton Law Firm on our toll free number 888-491-9726 or tell us your story online for a free, confidential evaluation of your legal claim. All legal claims have strict time limits so do not delay seeking legal advice.

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Topics: Takeda, Actos, bladder cancer, Eli Lilly & Co., Settlement

Nissan Altima Owners File Complaints About Rusted Floor Pans

Posted by Garrett J. Bradley on Apr 20, 2015 6:53:05 AM


Experts in auto safety believe Nissan Altimas made from 2002-2006 may be prematurely rusting, corroding and developing holes in their floorboards because of a design flaw in the cars.  Thornton Law Firm is investigating claims against Nissan for rusted out Altimas. Call 888-491-9726 if you own a Nissan Altima model years 2002 to 2006 or tell us your story here for a free consultation.

More than 400 Nissan Altima owners have filed complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) alleging the floorboards of their 2002-2006 model cars have rusted out. While some of the complaints are from states where road salt is used in winter, many are from states with mild winters. There are more than 20 complaints by Nissan Altima owners in Massachusetts. 

The rust is eating through the front driver and passenger floorboards of the Nissan Altimas. Experts believe that the cars have a design defect that allows water to accumulate above the floor pan and prevents the water from draining, so that the floorboards are rusting from inside out. The average rust spot is from 5 to 10 inches wide, with some owners reporting gaping 20 inch wide holes.

Nissan has not recalled the cars. Some owners who have contacted Nissan about the rusted floorboards have reported that Nissan offered to cover some portion of the cost, but assumes no responsibility and calls it a "courtesy offer".  NHTSA has not issued a recall on the cars.as it does not consider non-structural or body panel rust a safety-related defect.

Because the manufacturer hasn't recalled the car, the government doesn't consider it a safety defect, and the cars warranties have expired, car owners are left on their own repairing their vehicles. Repairing rusted floorboards can cost as much as $5,000, which is often more than the book value of the car.

Auto safety experts have identified several safety risks presented by these rusted out floorboards:

  • Deadly carbon monoxide poisoning;
  • In a collision, the seat that’s not being supported correctly could move.
  • Drivers or passengers feet could go through or become stuck in the rusted floorboards.

Nissan estimates that 800,000 Altimas were sold between 2002 and 2006. If you own a 2002-2006 model year Nissan Altima with rusted or deteriorated floorboards, call the class action lawyers at Thornton Law Firm by calling our toll-free number 888-491-9726 for a free, confidential consultation, or tell us your story here using our online form.

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Topics: Class Action, NHTSA, Sentra, corrosion, Nissan, defect, rust

Opening Day Rally for The Jimmy Fund

Posted by Patricia M. Flannery on Apr 13, 2015 2:50:38 PM


Staff from Thornton Law Firm joined the Boston Red Sox and Jimmy Fun fans in celebrating Opening Day at Fenway Park on Monday, April 13. By making a donation to the Jimmy Fund, employees were able to wear their Red Sox gear to work and support the fight against cancer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.


Since 1948, the Jimmy Fund has raised millions of dollars towards advancing Dana-Farber’s life saving mission.The money raised through this rally helps make patient experiences at Dana-Farber a little easier and provides revenue for groundbreaking cancer discoveries. In 2013, Dana-Farber volunteers spent 23,542 hours providing compassionate care, support and comfort to patients and their families.

Dana-Farber’s goal is to eradicate cancer, AIDs, and related diseases. As an affiliate of Harvard Medical School and a world-wide leader in the fight against cancer, Dana-Farber also provides training for new generations of physicians and scientists while designing programs to promote public health.

Thornton Law Firm has been a proud supporter of the Opening Day at Fenway Jimmy Fund Rally for many years and enjoys celebrating the day with Red Sox Nation. Supporting such a worthwhile cause makes Opening Day even more special. Since 2006, Opening Day Rally for the Jimmy Fund has raised more than $6 million dollars for cancer research and patient care at the Dana-Farber.


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Topics: Dana Farber, Opening Day, Jimmy Fund, Red Sox

Reports: Takeda Is Close to Settling Actos Lawsuits

Posted by Marilyn McGoldrick on Apr 8, 2015 12:00:57 PM


This week several sources have reported that Takeda Pharmaceuticals, the Japanese manufacturer of the diabetes drug Actos, is close to settling all outstanding Actos lawsuits filed against it around the country in both state and federal courts. Bloomberg News reports that Takeda has offered $2.2 billion dollars to settle the more than 8,000 claims which are currently pending in state and federal courts across the country. This would be one of the largest settlements of lawsuits involving a defective drug.

Prescribed to patients to treat diabetes, Actos (piaglitazone) has been a blockbuster drug for Takeda and its U.S. marketing partner (until 2006), Eli Lilly. It is estimated that Actos sales totaled more than $16 billion dollars worldwide since the drug was introduced in 1999. Actos's sales peaked at $4.5 billion in 2011.

Taked stands accused of covering up the scientific evidence that Actos raises the risk of bladder cancer in patients. The FDA required the bladder cancer warning on Actos packaging in March of 2011 after analysis of the scientific data. However, discovery in the Actos litigation over the past three years has revealed that Takeda knew of that link in 2004 and actively concealed it from doctors and patients.

While presiding over the more than 4,000 lawsuits consolidated in federal court, Judge Rebecca Doherty ruled that Takeda had deliberately destroyed the files of 46 corporate representatives including board members and presidents, documents and other evidence that would have helped plaintiffs prove that Takeda had covered up its knowledge of the bladder cancer link.

Approximately 4,500 lawsuits are also pending in the state courts of Illinois, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. In total, 9 trials have been held, and plaintiffs have prevailed in 5 cases. The most consequential of these was the $9 billion dollar verdict delivered by a Louisiana jury last year. While the punitive award was reduced on appeal, to $36.8 million, the size of the award is likely to have convinced Takeda and Eli Lilly that settlement is the most prudent course.

Thornton Law Firm has assembled a team of attorneys to litigate claims against Takeda and Eli Lilly for patients harmed by Actos. If you believe you developed bladder cancer after taking Actos, please tell us your story here or call 888-491-9726 for a free, confidential evaluation of your claim. You have legal rights, and those rights have strict time limits. Do not delay seeking legal advice.


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Topics: Takeda, Actos, Diabetes, bladder cancer, Eli Lilly & Co.

Zimmer Persona Knee Implant Recalled

Posted by Marilyn McGoldrick on Apr 8, 2015 9:26:22 AM


The Zimmer Persona Trabecular Metal Tibial Knee Implant is being voluntarily recalled after an unexpectedly high complaint rate of 61% for all the procedures in which it was used. The recall was announced by the FDA in March in response to complaints of loosening of the implant, as well as asymptomatic radiolucent lines in x-rays, representing space between the implant and the bone.  The recall affects 11,658 patients who received the Zimmer Persona implant. If you or a loved one received a Zimmer Persona implant, contact Thornton Law Firm today for a confidential evaluation of your legal rights.

Zimmer issued Urgent Medical Device Recall letters to affected distributors, hospitals, and surgeons, recalling all of the Persona Knee Implants. The FDA classifies the recall as Class 2, meaning that the defect "may cause temporary or medically reversible adverse health consequences." These health consequences can be severe. A loosened knee implant may require the patient undergo costly and painful revision surgery. Loosening and radiolucent lines can also cause many other problems. Tissue, joint fluid, and debris from the failing implant can lodge in the spaces between the gaps between the implant and the bone. This can cause swelling, severe pain, tissue damage, and bone damage.

One of the largest medical device manufacturers in the world, Zimmer, Inc. advertised the Persona Knee Implant as "the Personalized Knee System". It was on the market for 3 years and distributed in 25 states, as well as worldwide. The recall covers all sizes and lots of the Persona Knee Implant.

If you have a Zimmer Persona Knee Implant and have experienced complications including pain, swelling, loosening, disability, or have undergone revision surgery, you may have a legal claim against Zimmer, Inc. Thornton Law Firm's medical device lawyers specialize in helping patients who have suffered complications after receiving defective devices. Please contact us at 888-491-9726 or tell us your story here. All consultations are free and confidential. 



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Topics: FDA, Recall, zimmer, knee implant

Anti-Nausea Drug Zofran May Increase Risk of Severe Birth Defects

Posted by Marilyn McGoldrick on Mar 16, 2015 9:44:00 AM


The anti-nausea medication Zofran, marketed off-label to pregnant women to prevent morning sickness, has been found in recent studies to be associated with an increased risk of birth defects. A study by Dr. Gideon Koren of the The Motherisk Program of Toronto, Canada found that women prescribed ondansetron (the generic name for Zofran) suffered a two-fold increased risk of cardiac malformations, leading to a 30% increased risk of major cardiac (heart) defects. The study, published in the December 2014 issue of American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, was a retrospective analysis of 900,000 Danish women. Thornton Law Firm, a leader in birth litigation for three decades, is pursuing claims on behalf of families whose children were born with severe cardiac birth defects. 

Zofran is approved for the treatment of nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, and to alleviate nausea in patients following surgery. It is not approved to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnant women. In fact, Zofran's manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), paid a $3 billion dollar fine in 2012 to settle charges by the U.S. Justice Department that it had illegally promoted Zofran to prevent nausea in pregnant women. Since 1991 GSK has paid $7.56 billion in civil and criminal penalties involving illegal marketing, fraud, failure to report safety data, and other illegal practices, according to the watchdog group Public Citizen.

Two lawsuits have recently been filed on behalf of children born with serious cardiac birth defects after their mothers took Zofran to treat morning sickness. The lawsuits allege that "GSK conducted animal studies which revealed evidence of toxicity, intrauterine deaths and malformations in offspring, and further showed that Zofran’s active ingredient transferred through the placental barrier of pregnant mammals to fetuses." They further allege that GSK has received more than 200 reports of birth defects associated with Zofran, yet never disclosed those reports to pregnant women or to their physicians.

If you took Zofran while pregnant and your child was born with a birth defect, you may have a legal claim against GlaxoSmithKline. Thornton Law Firm's birth defect lawyers specialize in helping families whose children have suffered birth injuries recover the compensation they deserve. If you believe your ingestion of Zofran while pregnant caused your child's birth defect, please call our Zofran birth defect attorneys at 888-341-1405 or tell us your story via our website here. All consultations are free and completely confidential.


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Topics: Birth Defects, birth defect, heart, Zofran

Senators Durbin and Markey Introduce Bill to Reduce Asbestos Exposure

Posted by Andrea Marino Landry on Mar 11, 2015 1:31:02 PM


U.S. Senators Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and Edward J. Markey, D-Massachusetts, have introduced legislation that would protect Americans from asbestos exposure making information about the identities and known locations of asbestos-containing products available to the public. Unlike other hazardous products, asbestos has not been completely banned in the United States. The Reducing Exposure to Asbestos Database (READ) Act will require the creation of a public online database where manufacturers, importers, and those who otherwise handle asbestos would be required to annually report information about asbestos to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA would then make this information accessible to the public in an easily searchable format.

Importantly, that database would also be required to include any publicly-accessible location in which the products were known to be present in the past year. This will allow people to avoid coming into contact with asbestos, and warn them about its presence in their communities.

The READ Act updates the Asbestos Information Act signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. That law contained a one-time only asbestos reporting requirement. That information was then published in the Federal Register. The READ Act brings the Asbestos Information Act into the internet age by requiring public, annual posting of this vital information.

Because it has not been completely banned here, asbestos is still imported into the United States and still sold and used in products that reach the public. According to U.S. Geological Survey estimates, American asbestos consumption was 950 tons (1,900,000 pounds) in the year 2013.

“Every year, far too many Americans and their families suffer the deadly consequences of asbestos exposure,” Senator Durbin said in a statement released by his office. “The goal of this legislation is simple: increase the transparency and accessibility of data informing the public about where asbestos is known to be present. This information will increase awareness, reduce exposure, and help save lives.”

We salute Senators Durbin and Markey for their efforts to protect Americans from exposure to carcinogenic asbestos. As attorneys representing victims of mesothelioma and asbestos-related disease since 1978, we are all too aware of the tragic consequences of asbestos exposure. As always, if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related disease, Thornton Law Firm's asbestos attorneys are here to help. Call our toll free number 888-491-9726 for a free, no-obligation consultation. Or tell us your story here using our website.  Asbestos claims, like all legal claims, have short time limits. Do not delay seeking legal advice.

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Topics: Asbestos, Mesothelioma, legislation, Reducing Exposure to Asbestos Database Act

$5.7 Million Transvaginal Mesh Verdict Against Johnson & Johnson

Posted by Marilyn McGoldrick on Mar 6, 2015 9:58:22 AM


Johnson & Johnson's Ethicon unit has been ordered to pay $5.7 million dollars to a California woman who was damaged by a TVT-Abbrevo pelvic mesh sling device. Thousands of defective transvaginal mesh products have been implanted in women suffering from the medical conditions Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) and Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) and are the subject of lawsuits around the country and throughout the world. Thornton Law Firm represents women around the country in lawsuits against various pelvic mesh manufacturers for the serious injuries those implants have caused. 

The plaintiff, Coleen Perry, suffered from stress urinary incontinence. The TVT-Abbrevo, introduced to the market in 2010, was implanted in Perry in 2011. She immediately began feeling a pulling sensation, followed by months and now years of pain, scar tissue, and pain during sexual intercourse. Both Perry and her husband testified that her husband had suffered abrasions to his penis from the mesh poking through the vaginal wall during sex. The evidence at trial showed that the degraded mesh eroded inside her body cannot be removed, and she will likely suffer pain for the rest of her life.

The 12-person jury found that the TVT-Abbrevo mesh sling was defectively designed and that Ethicon had failed to warn of its risks. Ms. Perry was awarded $100,000 for past pain and suffering, $100,000 for future medical expenses, and $500,000 for future pain and suffering. The jury also found that Ethicon's conduct amounted to "malice" and awarded $5 million in punitive damages.

Thornton Law Firm's pelvic mesh team represents women in claims against American Medical Systems/Endo International, Boston Scientific, Caldera, Coloplast, Cook Medical, C.R. Bard, Inc., Ethicon/Johnson & Johnson, Mentor Worldwide, and Sofradim/Covidien. If you received a vaginal mesh implant manufactured by any of these companies and experienced any side effects, including pain, mesh erosion, bleeding, mesh contraction, additional surgeries, urinary problems, severe pelvic pain, infection, vaginal tightening or shortening, painful sexual intercourse, inability to engage in sexual intercourse, or organ perforation, and would like a free, confidential evaluation of your legal claim, please call us at our toll free number 1-888-341-1405, or tell us your story here. The time limits for filing all legal claims are short and strictly enforced, so do not delay seeking legal advice.

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Topics: Transvaginal Mesh, Johnson & Johnson, Ethicon, Mesh, verdict, trial, Vaginal Mesh, pelvic mesh

World Birth Defects Day Raises Awareness of Preventable Birth Defects

Posted by Susan Ulrich on Mar 5, 2015 11:09:11 AM


This week we observed the first annual World Birth Defects Day. A group of 12 leading global health organizations created this day to raise awareness about birth defects, and to highlight how many birth defects can be prevented. The most common causes of preventable birth defects are alcohol use and folic acid deficiency. (The USA began fortifying flour with folic acid in 1998, and neural tube birth defects have fallen 35% since then.) Rubella vaccinations for girls and women likely to become pregnant would also prevent many birth defects.

Environmental exposures are also a preventable cause of birth defects. Thornton Law firm represents over 100 families whose children were born with birth defects after preventable environmental exposure to toxins. Some were exposed to unsafe prescription or over-the-counter drugs; some to chemicals in the workplace; others to toxins in the air or the groundwater of their community. We represent the children of semiconductor workers, agricultural workers, workers making furniture, plastics, textiles, personal care products, and microelectronics, and those whose parents lived in close proximity to industrial processes that released toxic chemicals.

Some telling statistics on birth defects:

8 million babies are born with birth defects each year. That is 6% of all births.

1 in 33 babies are born with a birth defect.

Birth defects are the leading cause of death in the first year of life.

A baby with a birth defect is born every 4.5 minutes.

We understand the pain that families face when coping with permanent, life-altering birth injuries and the frustration of knowing they did not have to happen. The emotional, financial, and physical strain of birth defects impacts everyone in that family for their whole life. If you believe your child was born with a birth defect caused by exposure to a toxic chemical, the birth defect attorneys at Thornton Law Firm offer free, completely confidential consultations. You can call our toll free number 888-491-9726 or tell us your story via email. All legal claims have short time limits so do not delay seeking legal advice if you believe you have a claim.

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Topics: Birth Defects, birth defect, World Birth Defects Day

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