I had a great guest on the air on December 23, 2017. The podcast his here. I went to a seminar at the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association on medical malpractice to keep up my continuing legal education. One of the speakers was a former president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, Pete Flowers. He is one of the name partners in Meyers and Flowers. They handle all sorts of cases, including medical neglect, and a fair amount of medical product liability, and other things.
As he got up to speak he was introduced as having settled a case for $1 billion. After the seminar, I talked to Pete in the bar; I know him through my association and work on the board of managers of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. He told me that the speaker had made a mistake. He had 3 cases that settled for a billion dollars. I was fascinated. Billion-dollar settlements are a rare thing. To have one is remarkable, to have three is really striking. So, I asked Pete to be on the air.
The first case that we talked about in the air was a train wreck case. I had never heard of the Lac – Megantic rail disaster. Peter explained that the disaster was a Canadian train wreck. The train was carrying the fracked oil, which is highly flammable. The two people who were operating the train both left the train, but failed to put the brakes on properly. As you might imagine, the train began rolling. It rolled 7 miles before it came to be town of Lac – Megantic, a small town with about 6,000 people in it. The train jumped the tracks, spilled oil through the lake, and basically blew up the town. Just short of 50 people died. Canadian law caps noneconomic damages at somewhere in the $250,000 to $326,000 range. Pete filed suit trying to get jurisdiction in Chicago, the train went through a great deal of United States and the defendant was located in Chicago. He was successful. He managed to get much more than the low Canadian cap for the loved ones of the victims who died.
Pete said that the hardest part of the case was dealing with the other lawyers in Canada. The lawyers in Canada felt that he should settle it for the noneconomic damages, as a class action. Apparently, class actions in Canada are used as vehicles and wrongful death cases. They wanted to settle at close to the non-economic damage caps in Canada, rather than trying to get a more reasonable sum for their clients.
Pete also explained some of the litigation he was doing with hip implant cases. Peter and his firm filed thousands of cases involving the Striker rejuvenate and Depuy ASR hip implants. In these cases, doctors implant metal on metal hips. These were approved by the FDA, but not safe. Pete indicated that the DePuy hip has a failure rate of over 50%. Normal hip replacements have less than a percent failure rate. Pete got thousands of plaintiffs to bring claims against Depuy and Striker. These cases, along with another case involving bad medication, settled for over 1 billion.
We talked about the dangers of having surgical implants. He indicates his very difficult to tell whether what you are getting is safe. FDA approval is not sufficient, especially when the FDA goes through truncated method for patents that are similar to patents that are already in existence. He recommends checking the Internet at great length and not using products that have not been tested for years. In the first several years the public learns if the implants are safe. Pete indicates there are registries in other countries, but not the United States, that allow people to check for the safety. The registry he especially likes is found in Australia. He says the lobbing interests in the United States are too strong to get reasonable registries here.
If you have a medical products case and you are in the Springfield, Central Illinois area, I am help happy to help you, acting as local counsel. We normally would hire Pete’s firm, Meyers and Flowers, or similar firms on these types of cases to associate with us. We would act as local counsel. We do take these cases on contingent fee at Ackerman Law Offices.