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Stark and Stark, along with its co-counsel Barry, Corrado, Grassi & Gillin-Schwartz, have filed a class action on behalf of thousands of potential female class members against the New Jersey Department of Corrections (“NJDOC”), over the intolerable conditions at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women (“EMCFW”).

NJDOC is a public entity that maintains an annual budget of roughly $1 billion; approximately 8,000 employees; 13 correctional institutions; and nearly 23,000 state-sentenced offenders housed in prisons, county jails, and community halfway houses. NJDOC is responsible for the day-to-day operations, supervision, and management of EMCFW. In 2017, EMCFW had an operational capacity of 846 persons and an average daily population of 659. The daily expense per inmate was $202.15, and the yearly per capita was $73,785.00.[1]

EMCFW, formerly known as the Clinton Correctional Facility for Women, is located at 30 Route 513, in Clinton, Hunterdon County, New Jersey. Opened in 1913, EMCFW was named after one of the first female correctional superintendents in the United States. According to the official NJDOC website description, EMCFW “houses state-sentenced female offenders. The prison provides a campus-like setting with housing units and various support buildings. In terms of security designation, there are two compounds – minimum and maximum/medium. There is a third housing compound for inmates with varying classifications of special mental health needs. Programming includes counseling as well as education and vocational opportunities.”[2] EMCFW is the only women’s correctional facility in New Jersey, providing custody and treatment programs for female offenders 16 years of age and older.

For decades, there has been a recognized and documented environment of rampant and unchecked sexual assault and harassment of female inmates by prison employees, agents and administrators, as well as other inmates, throughout state and federal corrections systems. Continue Reading Stark & Stark is Once Again at the Forefront of Protecting Women at Risk in Sexually Abusive Environments

As we previously reported, the United States Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (MDL) met in March 2011, in San Diego, CA, to hear arguments regarding whether the Darvocet and Darvon cases should be given MDL treatment. In April 2011, the Panel announced that it needed more time to consider the arguments for and against consolidating the federal cases. As such, the Panel scheduled an additional hearing for July 2011, in San Francisco, CA, to consider further arguments. 

 

On August 16, 2011, the Panel decided that all federal Darvocet and Darvon cases would be consolidated in the Eastern District of Kentucky (Covington Division) and assigned to the Honorable Danny C. Reeves for pretrial proceedings. The granting of multi-district litigation (MDL) treatment will streamline the lawsuits, allowing the parties to avoid duplicative discovery and inconsistent rulings from different judges. Additionally, MDL treatment will provide more convenience for the witnesses, the parties and the court.  

 

In November, 2010, the FDA announced that it was pulling off the U.S. market the prescription painkillers, Darvon and Darvocet, which combines Darvon with the aspirin substitute acetaminophen, because of scientific evidence the drugs can damage the heart, even at recommended doses, or cause fatal cardiac abnormalities.  Studies have shown that the ingredients contained in Darvocet and Darvon have been linked to various forms of severe side effects. Reportedly, these side-effects include: heart arrhythmia, heart attack, suicide, accidental overdose and death. 

 

If you feel you have experienced any side-effects from taking Darvocet, Darvon or generic propoxyphene you can contact Stark & Stark and speak to one of the Mass Tort/Pharmaceutical Litigation attorneys, free of charge, who can help assess any claims that you might have against the Darvocet or Darvon manufacturers.

As we previously reported, in March 2011, a petition was filed to consolidate all federal DePuy Pinnacle cases in either the Southern District of Texas or the Central District of California. Alternatively, the petition also asked that the United States Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation consider adding the Pinnacle cases to the already pending DePuy ASR MDL, which is centralized in the Northern District Court of Ohio. On May 16, 2011, a hearing was held by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (“JPML”) to consider the consolidation.

On May 23, 2011, the JPML decided that all federal DePuy Pinnacle hip implant lawsuits will be consolidated and centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas and assigned to Judge James E. Kinkeade. The granting of multi-district litigation (MDL) treatment will streamline the lawsuits, allowing the parties to avoid duplicative discovery and inconsistent rulings from different judges. Additionally, MDL treatment will provide more convenience for the witnesses, the parties and the court. 

If you are experiencing adverse effects from a defective DePuy Pinnacle hip implant, you can contact Stark & Stark and speak to one of the Mass Tort/Pharmaceutical Litigation attorneys, free of charge, who can help assess any claims that you might have against DePuy Orthopaedics.

As we previously reported, the United States Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (MDL) met on Wednesday, March 30, 2011, in San Diego, CA, to hear arguments regarding whether the Darvocet and Darvon federal cases should be given MDL treatment. One of the main sources of contention among the parties is where to centralize the cases.  The proposed locations include: the Eastern District of New York, the Northern District of Illinois, the Eastern District of Louisiana, the Western District of Louisiana, the Southern District of Ohio and the Eastern District of Kentucky.
 

On April 11, 2011, the Panel announced that it needed more time to consider the arguments for and against consolidating the federal cases.  A decision is now not expected until after a July 2011, hearing where additional arguments are expected to be made.  The Panel noted that plaintiff, Karen Esposito, who filed the initial motion for consolidation back in December 2010, alleged four actions against defendant, Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals.  However, since Esposito’s filing, there are an additional eighteen (18) alleged actions involving more than a dozen defendants.  These additional defendants have not had an opportunity to comment on whether the cases should be consolidated. 
 

Judge John G. Heyburn II, chairman of the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation advised that, “Consideration of this Section 1407 motion so soon after a handful of actions were filed, where the contours of the litigation are in flux, leaves the Panel with less than ideal information to make the best possible decision. This is a potentially complex case. Our desire to make the most informed possible decision counsels further deliberation.”  In the interim, the Panel has advised that the cases can continue in the transferor courts.
 

If you feel you have experienced any side-effects from taking Darvocet, Darvon or generic propoxyphene you can contact Stark & Stark and speak to one of the Mass Tort/Pharmaceutical Litigation attorneys, free of charge, who can help assess any claims that you might have against the Darvocet or Darvon manufacturers.

In November 2010, U.S. District Judge David Herndon, who is overseeing the federal Yaz lawsuits, ordered three executives from Bayer to fly to the United States for their depositions. Joachim Marr, Hartmut Blode and Ilka Schellschmidt, who work at Bayer’s headquarters in Germany, were selected to represent the company regarding the pre-clinical and clinical development processes.

The location of the depositions had been a source of contention between the parties. Because German law does not provide for American-style depositions, the defendants had suggested the depositions be held in Belgium. However, plaintiffs objected to the Belgium location, arguing that the cost of flying up to a dozen attorneys to Belgium would be cost prohibitive. Subsequently, defendants moved for a protective order, claiming that the executives would be away from their duties too long if forced to travel to the U.S. After considering arguments on both sides, Judge Herndon concluded that, "equities favor[ed] the depositions being held in the United States."

However, it appears that cooperation between the parties has broken down over the last couple months.

On January 20, 2011, Judge Herndon advised that all depositions were being halted until he could write a new protocol and submit them to the state judges in California, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. During a hearing on an unrelated matter, Judge Herndon opined that the, “depositions ha[d] been anything but efficient.” Judge Herndon further stated that the depositions had wasted time and were uncooperative. However, Judge Herndon continued to express his intentions to include the state judges in his decisions.
 

If you, or someone you know, has been injured by YAZ® or Yasmin® (or the generic brand, Ocella®), contact one of the Stark & Stark Mass Tort/Pharmaceutical Litigation attorneys today, free of charge, who can help assess any claims that you might have against the YAZ®, Yasmin® or Ocella® manufacturers.

In November 2010, U.S. District Judge David Herndon, who is overseeing the federal Yaz lawsuits, ordered three executives from Bayer to fly to the United States for their depositions. Joachim Marr, Hartmut Blode and Ilka Schellschmidt, who work at Bayer’s headquarters in Germany, were selected to represent the company regarding the pre-clinical and clinical development processes.
 

The location of the depositions had been a source of contention between the parties. Because German law does not provide for American-style depositions, defendants had suggested the depositions be held in Belgium. However, plaintiffs objected to the Belgium location, arguing that the cost of flying up to a dozen attorneys to Belgium would be cost prohibitive. Subsequently, defendants moved for a protective order, claiming that the executives would be away from their duties too long if forced to travel to the U.S. After considering arguments on both sides, Judge Herndon concluded that, "equities favor[ed] the depositions being held in the United States." 
 

However, it appears that cooperation between the parties has broken down over the last couple months.
 

On January 20, 2011, Judge Herndon advised that all depositions were being halted until he could write a new protocol for them and submit them to the state judges in California, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. During a hearing on an unrelated matter, Judge Herndon opined that the, “depositions ha[d] been anything but efficient.” Judge Herndon further opined that the depositions had wasted time and were uncooperative. However, Judge Herndon continued to express his intentions to include the state judges in his decisions.

 

If you feel you have experienced any side-effects from taking YAZ® or Yasmin® (or the generic brand, Ocella®), you can contact Stark & Stark and speak to one of the Mass Tort/Pharmaceutical Litigation attorneys, free of charge, who can help assess any claims that you might have against the YAZ®, Yasmin® or Ocella® manufacturers.

In December 2010, the United States Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (MDL) ruled to consolidate all federal district cases in the Northern District Court of Ohio.  The MDL 2197, In re DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. ASR Hip Implant Products, will be handled by Judge David A. Katz who will manage all pre-trial issues for all federal DePuy hip implant recall cases. 

 

The granting of MDL treatment will streamline the lawsuits, allowing the parties to avoid duplicative discovery and inconsistent rulings from different judges.  Additionally, MDL treatment will provide more convenience for the witnesses, the parties and the court.  During the pretrial litigation, Judge David A. Katz will manage discovery and likely select a group of cases for early trials, also known as bellwether cases.  The outcome of the bellwether cases may assist the parties in reaching an agreement to settle all of the DePuy recall suits.

 

As of early January 2011, over 100 lawsuits had already been transferred to the MDL court.  However, it is expected that thousands of additional DePuy hip recall lawsuits will be transferred to the Northern District of Ohio within the next several months.

 

On January 20, 2011, the court held an initial status conference in West Palm Beach, Florida.  During the conference, the lawyers who applied for leadership positions within the MDL process received two minutes each to give their reasons for being assigned the various positions available.  Judge Katz’s ruling is expected in the coming weeks.

 

If you have had a hip replacement, which used one of the recalled DePuy devices, you can contact Stark & Stark and speak to one of the Mass Tort attorneys, free of charge, who can help assess any claims that you might have against the DePuy manufacturers.

The parties involved in the YAZ® Mass Tort litigation have been ordered file a Master Consolidated Complaint (“Master Complaint”).  The Master Complaint will supplement the Complaints that have been filed in the individual cases, as well as serve as a reference for incoming plaintiffs.  The Master Complaint will allege a variety of counts for Negligence, Fraud, and other causes of action.

Stark & Stark’s Mass Tort/Pharmaceutical Litigation Team pursues claims throughout the nation against drug manufacturers, so they can be held accountable when the drugs they market are proven to be defective or cause catastrophic injury to the people who use them. If you feel you have experienced any side-effects from taking YAZ® or Yasmin® (or the generic brand, Ocella®), you can contact Stark & Stark and speak to one of the Mass Tort/Pharmaceutical Litigation attorneys, free of charge, who can help assess any claims that you might have against the YAZ®, Yasmin® or Ocella® manufacturers.

As we have discussed in previous posts, studies have shown that the ingredients contained in YAZ®, Yasmin® and Ocella® have been linked to various forms of severe side-effects. Reportedly, these side-effects include: heart attack, stroke, deep vein thrombosis (also known as DVT or blood clots), internal organ damage (including gallbladder damage), myocardial infarction and pulmonary embolism. Recently, a large number of YAZ® lawsuits have been designated as Mass Tort or Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) cases.
 

The parties involved in the Mass Tort litigation have agreed upon the wording of a form called the Plaintiff Fact Sheet.  In pharmaceutical cases with Mass Tort or MDL designations, plaintiffs are required to submit a detailed Plaintiff Fact Sheet.  The Plaintiff Fact Sheet requires the plaintiff to supply medical, liability and general background information within a specified time period, usually subject to periodic updating and revision.  While much of the information requested in the Plaintiff Fact Sheet may seem cumulative or irrelevant, that information is crucial to gauging the relative strengths and weaknesses of each plaintiff’s respective claim.  In this manner, the Plaintiff Fact Sheet is instrumental in permitting both parties, as well as the Court, to choose “bellwether cases” for case specific discovery and, possibly, trial.

The parties involved in the Mass Tort litigation (surrounding the defective birth control products YAZ®, Yasmin® and Ocella®)  have been ordered to confer and reach an agreement on all issues regarding the preservation of documents and data. The goal of preservation is to maintain the integrity of all documents, data and tangible things pursuant to R. 4:10 through R. 4:19. The issues that surround the preservation, include, but are not limited to, identifying the types of material to be preserved, mechanisms for monitoring, certifying and auditing custodian compliance, the methods to preserve material such as voicemail and electronic mail, and the anticipated costs of preservation and ways to reduce or share these costs. The duty to preserve this material extends to employees, agents, contractors, or other nonparties who possess documents or data relevant to this litigation.
 

It is important to note that this duty to preserve documents also extends to the individual plaintiffs. All plaintiffs have a duty to preserve documents, data and tangible things, or evidence, which may be relevant to this litigation. Preservation of such documents includes taking reasonable steps to prevent the partial or full destruction, alteration, deletion, relocation, theft or wiping of the documents. This duty of preservation of documents and data, includes, but is not limited to all hard copy and electronic drafts of: records, writings, files, voicemail, correspondence, e-mail, electronic messages, blogs, postings, instant messages, text messages, twitter messages, bills, invoices, checks, statements, receipts, reports, notes, memoranda, transcripts, films, videos and diagrams.