New Class Action? Efforts To Consolidate Lawsuits Against Makers of Shoulder Pain Pumps

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Attorneys petition The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to combine dozens of shoulder pain pump federal lawsuits into a consolidated action against the pumps' manufacturers.

It's how the pump is being used with the catheter being inserted in the joint space

For years, patients undergoing arthroscopic shoulder surgery have routinely received pain pumps to assist in their recovery. However, The American Journal of Sports Medicine recently identified intra-articular pain pumps as the likely cause of Postarthroscopic Glenohumeral Chondrolysis (PAGCL). Numerous lawsuits are pending against the companies that manufacture, market or distribute the pain pumps.

Baltimore lawyer Robert K. Jenner, a partner at Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC is one of the lead attorneys seeking to combine approximately 34 federal lawsuits on behalf of 48 injured plaintiffs into a consolidated action against the pumps' manufacturers. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation heard arguments on July 31 in San Francisco to consolidate the cases. A ruling is expected in September.

The Maryland Daily Record, a legal and business newspaper, recently interviewed Jenner: The full Maryland Daily Record story can be read on the firm's pain pump Website.

Jenner's firm and other lawyers are investigating hundreds of potential claims nationwide involving shoulder damage caused by an unapproved use of the anesthetic infusion devices, also known as "pain pumps."

Jenner is a nationally recognized authority on pain pump litigation and was recently featured in a June 2008 Lawyers USA article on the subject.

The pain pumps, when used in an approved manner, are highly effective in delivering medication to the shoulder joint following surgery. "It's how the pump is being used with the catheter being inserted in the joint space" that is the problem, Jenner said.

Jenner and other lawyers representing dozens of injured plaintiffs allege that pain pump makers encouraged doctors to insert the devices directly into shoulder joints after arthroscopic surgery -- even though the Food and Drug Administration specifically rejected the pain pump manufacturer's attempts to obtain approval for such use.

The use of the pain pumps in that fashion causes Postarthroscopic Glenohumeral Chondrolysis (PAGCL). PAGCL is a painful, debilitating and permanent condition in which cartilage deteriorates, allowing bones in the shoulder to grind against each other.

"It's a lifetime of pain," Jenner told The Daily Record. "We've had patients say it hurts just watching TV. Sleeping comfortably is virtually impossible for many of our clients."

Many of the plaintiffs have had or will need shoulder replacements due to destroyed cartilage.

Widespread concern about PAGCL surfaced in October 2007, when the American Journal of Sports Medicine noted a strong association between the use of pain pumps and irreversible damage to the shoulder cartilage. Additional studies confirmed that link, sparking more than a dozen lawsuits in several states, including Alabama, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, New York, Oregon and Utah.

"It is believed that there are hundreds, if not thousands of similar cases being investigated," according to the Janet, Jenner & Suggs Website.

Jenner is one of the plaintiffs' lawyers in Meharg, et al. v. I-Flow Corporation, et al., S.D. (Ind. Division), No. 1:08-cv-00184-DFH-TAB and McDaniel, et al. v. I-Flow Corporation, et al., D. Minn., No. 0:08-cv-00399-JRT-FLN.

The plaintiffs have named several pain pump manufacturers in their product liability suits: Stryker Corp. in Kalamazoo, Mich.; I-Flow Corp. in Lake Forest, Calif.; and DJO in San Diego, Calif. AstraZeneca, the maker of anesthetics used in the pain pumps, has also been sued.

The petition to have lawsuits consolidated for trial in Oregon was filed in coordination with Michael L. Williams of Williams, Love, O'Leary & Powers, P.C. and Laura B. Kalur of Kalur Law Office, both of Portland, Oregon. The Indianapolis law firm of Cohen & Malad, LLC, which concentrates in mass torts and class actions, is also involved in the pain pump litigation.

"Manufacturers of pain pumps, and the manufacturers of drugs that go into them, need to be held accountable for their neglect. Neither of these groups of defendants conducted any studies to determine the safety of these pain pumps, and neither warned physicians about the hazards of these pumps," said Jenner.

About PAGCL Claims

Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC has established a registry for victims of shoulder pain pumps to document their injuries and illnesses. If patients have undergone surgery in which they received a pain pump and are concerned that they have developed PAGCL, they can go to http://www.pain-pump-lawsuits.com/ and register their complaints or injuries.

If you believe that you or a loved one has developed PAGCL as a result of receiving a pain pump and want to discuss your rights, please contact Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC (Robert K. Jenner, Esq. or John J. Cord, Esq.) toll free at 1-888-463-3529 or 1-410-653-3200 or via e-mail at pain-pump(at)medlawlegalteam.com.

For more information about PAGCL, please visit: http://www.medlawlegalteam.com/pain-pump-lawsuits.html.

About Robert Jenner and Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC

Robert K. Jenner is a member of the MEDLAW Legal Team of Janet, Jenner & Suggs, LLC, a nationally recognized firm based in the Baltimore metropolitan area with offices in Columbia, S.C. and Asheville, N.C. The firm represents victims of medical malpractice, faulty medical devices and pharmaceutical negligence.

As reported in national media such as USA Today, CNN, the Washington Post, the New York Times and Dateline NBC, the firm's lawyers have won substantial legal compensation for patients and victims in nationwide lawsuits.

For more information, visit the firm's Website: http://www.medlawlegalteam.com/.

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