Boston Injury Lawyer Blog
Disclaimer - By publishing this information on this Web site, the Boston, Massachusetts law firm of Altman & Altman LLP is not claiming to represent any clients or cases mentioned here. The content provided is designed to inform readers and is not intended as legal advice.

Diane Ponte, an ex-paralegal for France-based pharmaceutical company Sanofi, claimed last year that the company had paid $30 million in alleged kickbacks to promote its diabetes drugs. Only a year earlier, Sanofi agreed to settle with the U.S. federal government for $100 million in a lawsuit alleging similar fraudulent activity. Ponte claims that she was pressured to approve contracts worth $34 million that Sanofi had with Deloitte and Accenture. She claims that the contracts included illegal incentives intended to “induce customers, including physicians, hospitals and/or retail pharmacy programs such as Walgreens and Rite Aid to influence the prescribing of drugs and/or improperly ‘switch’ from selling other manufacturers’ drugs.” Contact a Boston Whistleblower Lawyer Today.

Sanofi Attorneys Alleged to Have Destroyed Important Documents

In response to Ponte’s allegations, Sanofi referred to the whistleblower as a, “disgruntled former employee who is opportunistically attacking our company.” However, in addition to her claims of illegal kickbacks, Ponte also claims that Sanofi attorneys deliberately destroyed important documents to avoid those documents being revealed during the discovery process. Discovery is the process by which civil litigants exchange evidence and documentation relevant to a case. John Bennett, an attorney working for Sanofi, denied these allegations saying that Ponte’s claims are “false, scandalous and unsupported by any evidence.” However, this round of federal healthcare law violations seems to be more of a trend than a fluke for Sanofi. In addition to the $100 million settlement with the federal government in 2012, Sanofi was also fined 28 million euros in connection with a bribery case in Germany.

Federal Class-Action Suit Claims Sanofi Inflated Stock Prices

Ponte claims that she was fired in 2014 in retaliation for reporting Sanofi’s kickback scheme. Her whistleblowing resulted in an internal probe at the pharmaceutical company. It appears that the kickbacks were not the company’s only violations of healthcare laws. A former contractor also claims that a Sanofi executive pressured her into entering incorrect purchase order codes so that Accenture and Deloitte could get paid. In these instances, the contracts hadn’t yet been approved by Sanofi’s legal department, but the false codes allowed payment to move forward anyhow. Sanofi shareholders have also filed a lawsuit claiming that the company inflated its stock price and misled investors. Evidence shows that Sanofi likely paid millions of dollars in fraudulent payments to Accenture and Deloitte. Whistleblowers claim that the consulting companies served as middlemen in the scheme. However, Accenture and Deloitte both deny any wrongdoing in the case. Continue reading

Winter in Massachusetts can be harsh. Snow and ice can make roads and walkways dangerously slick. Property owners have a duty to take reasonable care when maintaining these areas, but multiple factors can influence this responsibility. For example, some property owners live out of state and pay a plow company to remove snow and ice. If the plow company fails to plow in time, and someone slips and falls on the property, who is at fault? Contact a Boston Injury Attorney Today.

Our Boston injury lawyers have decades of experience in handling slip and fall cases.  One of the first questions you need to ask if you fall and injure yourself on someone else’s property is did the property owner take the necessary steps to reasonably clear their property? We can help you sort this of question out. While homeowners have a responsibility to safely clear off their property, business have the same responsibility.

Slip and fall accidents most commonly occur in parking lots and sidewalks outside of businesses. In commercial settings, property owners often contract with outside companies to keep the property safe and in good condition. This is especially true with regard to snow and ice removal. However, customers and the general public are also expected to exercise reasonable care when walking or driving in an area that is obviously affected by snow or ice. For example, if a customer chooses to go shopping in the middle of a heavy snowstorm and he or she slips and falls in the parking lot, the success of recovery in a lawsuit is low. On the other hand, if a snowstorm ends in the early morning hours, and a customer slips and falls that evening because snow still hasn’t been removed from a walkway, the victim is more likely to obtain compensation for his or her injuries. Continue reading

Talcum powder has been used for feminine hygiene, and as a baby care product, for decades. Its name comes from the mineral from which it is derived; talc is composed of silicon, magnesium, and oxygen. Talcum powder is popular for its ability to absorb moisture and reduce friction, which prevents rashes and other types of skin irritation. In addition to being used on its own, talcum powder is also found in many cosmetic products, baby powders, and other consumer goods. Unfortunately, talcum powder has been linked to ovarian cancer in women, and lawsuits are on the rise. Most disconcerting is the evidence that one of the major manufacturers of talcum powder, Johnson & Johnson, knew about the risks since 1982 or earlier. Contact a Boston Injury Lawyer Today.

How Could Talcum Powder Cause Cancer?

When women use talcum powder in the genital area, it is believed that particles of the mineral talc may travel through the reproductive tract, entering the ovaries. These particles may cause inflammation of the ovarian tissue which may result in the development of cancerous tumors. Multiple studies have shown women that use talcum powder in the genital area are at a much greater risk of developing cancer than those who have not. In fact, the first study revealing this link was published in 1971. Researchers found that talc particles remained “deeply embedded” in ovarian and cervical tumors in women who had used talcum powder in the genital area. This study encouraged more research, which resulted in similar outcomes. A 2003 article published in the International Journal of Cancer Research and Treatment reported that talcum powder use increases the risk of developing ovarian cancer by 33%.

In natural form, many talcs contain asbestos, which can cause cancer when inhaled. However, talc products have been asbestos-free for more than four decades. The risk of ovarian cancer is not linked to inhalation, but rather to the potential for talc particles to travel through the vagina, and into the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. This can occur if talcum powder is used in the genital area, applied to sanitary napkins, tampons, condoms, or diaphragms. Continue reading

Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters were created to treat patients with a high risk of pulmonary embolism, a life-threatening condition. In 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved C.R. Bard’s Recovery IVC filter. Many patients use anticoagulants (blood-thinners) to treat their risk of pulmonary embolism, but some patients are unable to take these drugs. The IVC filters were designed to provide a treatment option for these patients. The filter is implanted into the inferior vena cava and prevents embolism by catching blood clots before they can pass into the lungs. Unfortunately, shortly after the Recovery filter’s release, problems started to emerge. Over time, pieces of the filter may begin breaking off, resulting in serious injury and even death. Contact a Boston Injury Lawyer Today.

Most Common IVC Filter Injuries

Bard IVC filters are linked to multiple injuries and fatalities. Injuries range in severity and cause, but the most common include:

Severe pain

Internal bleeding

Perforations in blood vessels, tissue, and organ

Respiratory problem

Pulmonary embolism

Heart attack

Deep vein thrombosis

Death Continue reading

In 2010, qui tam whistleblower David Kester alleged that Novartis AG, a European pharmaceutical company, offered illegal kickbacks in an effort to increase sales of its transplant drug Myfortic. Just one week before the trial was expected to begin, the pharmaceutical giant agreed to settle a False Claims Act (FCA) to the tune of $390 million.

A whistleblower is an individual who reports information about illegal activity in any public or private organization. The qui tam provisions allow individuals to file lawsuits on behalf of the federal government, with the main goal being to recover funds that were fraudulently taken. In addition to recovering funds, reporting this type of information may protect public safety and well-being, and it can be very lucrative for the whistleblower. Contact a Boston Whistleblower Lawyer.

Novartis Paid Illegal Kickbacks to Pharmacies in Exchange for Pushing Certain Drugs

The drug at front and center of Novartis’ illegal kickbacks, myfortic, is an immunosuppresant medication that reduces the risk of organ rejection in transplant patients. The rate of organ transplants has grown significantly over the last few years, and with it the demand for this type of treatment. The demand has also resulted in stiff market competition. In fact, it may have been Novartis AG’s concerns about close competitor Roche that led to their deceptive – and illegal – practices. In order to boost myfortic sales, Novartis offered certain incentives to pharmacies for pushing the drug. How did they do this? Basically, when a pharmacy sold myfortic, that pharmacy received money from Novartis for doing so. Then Novartis billed Medicare, Medicaid, and various other health care programs, to receive reimbursement for its costs. These practices are in direct violation of the False Claims Act’s Anti-Kickback Statute. In addition, since Medicare and Medicaid are government programs, the laws also apply to foreign companies. It is considered healthcare fraud to submit a false claim to any federal health care program.

Whistleblowers May Receive Up to 30% of Total Settlement

The qui tam whistleblower provision was created specifically to prevent acts of fraud against the government, and it has become exceptionally effective. For starters, whistleblower incentives can be quite lucrative. Any individual who has unique information on a person or company that has committed acts of fraud against the federal government can be handsomely rewarded for reporting that information. In fact, the whistleblower may receive up to 30% of the total settlement. Considering that these settlements can be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, that’s no pocket change. To illustrate just how motivating the whistleblower act can be, the former Novartis employee who blew the whistle on illegal kickbacks will receive his fair share of a $390 million settlement.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Greater Boston Whistleblower Attorneys

If you have information about fraudulent acts against the federal government, we can help you determine how to move forward. It can be overwhelming, and even intimidating, to be privy to such sensitive information. You probably know that reporting your findings is the right thing to do, but you may fear backlash or repercussions. That is only natural. However, at Altman & Altman, LLP, the information you share with us is entirely confidential. We can discuss your rights and options and help you understand exactly what is on the table. If a whistleblower asks to be kept anonymous, that request will be honored. Only in very rare circumstances, when disclosing the informant’s identity would be in the best interest of the public, will that information be shared. If you have questions, the legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.

A 21-year-old Brockton man was killed early Sunday morning when he was ejected from a car and struck by six passing vehicles. The man, who is not being named until the family has been notified, was thrown from the passenger seat of a 1999 Acura when it crashed northbound near exit 20 at approximately 3:10 in the morning. The Acura’s 20-year-old driver, also from Brockton, was taken to Good Samaritan Medical Center. No charges have been filed yet, but according to police, “Charges for the operator are under investigation.” Contact a Boston Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer.

The second car in the initial crash was driven by a 28-year-old Roslindale man who was taken to Good Samaritan Medical Center by ambulance.

After being ejected from the car, the 21-year-old victim was struck by six vehicles. The other vehicles and drivers involved were: a 60-year-old Brockton man driving a 2005 Lincoln LS, a 45-year-old Mattapan woman driving a 2009 Audi Q7, a 21-year-old Brockton man driving a 2007 Lexus IS250, a 36-year-old New Hampshire man driving a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe, and a 49-year-old Middleborough woman driving a 2009 Toyota Matrix. Police initially responded to reports of a pedestrian being struck. When they arrived, they learned that the victim had actually been ejected from a car.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation. In addition to Massachusetts State Police, first responders included Stoughton Fire and Emergency Medical Services, the state Department of Transportation, and Stoughton Police. The State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section, along with their Crime Scene Services Section, the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office, and the District Attorney’s Office are all assisting with the ongoing investigation. Continue reading

Sports-related concussions (SRCs) and mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs) are a concern among student athletes, especially those engaged in high impact sports such as football, soccer, and rubgy. These injuries can cause both physical and cognitive symptoms, but they can also result in serious psychological and emotional issues. The focus has long been on physical symptoms such as headaches and fatigue, and neurocognitive problems with concentration and memory. However, ignoring the emotional trauma that may follow SRCs and mTBIs can be especially detrimental for student athletes. At such a young age, they may lack the life experience and confidence to speak out about their suffering. Contact a Boston Injury Attorney.

Psychological and emotional symptoms may begin to appear soon after the injury, or they may not surface until during the athlete’s recovery phase. The athlete may experience depression, fatigue, and a strong sense of loss. This may mean a loss of skills or control, or simply the loss of normalcy. He or she may also feel afraid and vulnerable, which can lead to an overwhelming sense of anxiety about what comes next. A young athlete may simply describe these emotions as “not feeling like myself,” and it is common for parents, teachers, and coaches to assume that this is the normal course of events following an injury. In some cases, this may be true. However, it is important to keep an eye on an injured athlete. Close monitoring by doctors, teachers, and parents of both physical and emotional symptoms is essential to a student athlete’s full recovery following a SRC or mTBI.

Non-Physical Symptoms of SRCs and mTBIs Continue reading

Hip replacements are one of the most common surgeries in the United States. Degenerative conditions and injuries can result in debilitating pain. Fortunately for thousands of patients, hip replacement surgery provides welcome relief and the ability to resume normal activity. As with all medical technology, the hip replacement industry has evolved over the years in an effort to provide increasingly effective products. In doing so, manufacturers began moving away from plastic and ceramic replacements in favor of all-metal designs, which they claimed were more flexible and durable. Unfortunately, the metal devices have been linked to incapacitating injuries, and the industry is facing lawsuits in the tens of thousands. Contact a Boston Injury Lawyer.

First Jury Award Over $8.3 Million

The first manufacturer to pull out of the all-metal business is the DePuy division of Johnson & Johnson. However, they are not likely to be the last. According to the New York Times, all other manufacturers are expected to follow as the early failure rates are staggeringly high. Johnson & Johnson alone is facing at least 13,300 lawsuits. In addition, recent awards to victims of the metal replacements have been high, with the first jury award being in excess of $8.3 million. This case was quickly decided in favor of the victim and will likely set the bar for future lawsuits. Although an industry exit is good news for future hip replacement patients, it does little to help the thousands of people already implanted with the metal design.

Is the FDA’s Antiquated Approval Process to Blame?

The FDA’s approval process for metal hip replacements may be partially to blame for the early failure rate and injuries. Hip replacements are not considered ‘essential medical devices’ and are therefore subject to a markedly less stringent approval process. Essential devices, such as artificial hearts for example, require significant tests including human testing. Metal hip replacements went to market without a single human test. Continue reading

The decision to hire a personal injury attorney is typically preceded by a difficult, sometimes even traumatic, situation. You may have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, developed a serious medical condition after taking a prescription medication, or slipped on the icy walkway of a local business. Injuries suffered due to the negligence of another can be doubly challenging. In addition to the pain and potential financial consequences of a serious injury, you may be experiencing an overwhelming sense of anger and frustration. If negligence played a role in your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for related expenses, including medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and transportation costs. However, the process of filing a personal injury claim can be complicated and confusing. Experienced legal help can make all the difference in the world. Contact a Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorney Today.

Hiring the right legal counsel can make or break your case. Although it is in your best interest to consult with an attorney as soon as possible following an accident or injury, blindly rushing into a decision is not wise. If you’ve been injured in any type of accident, begin searching for an attorney immediately. However, do your homework. The checklist below can help you determine if a certain lawyer is the right fit for you and your particular case. Continue reading

The drug Pradaxa was the first in a new class of anticoagulant drugs called thrombin inhibitors. Pradaxa was an immediate hit with atrial fibrillation patients as an alternative to the high-maintenance Warfarin. The industry standard of anticoagulant treatments up until recently, warfarin requires constant blood monitoring to check for hemorrhaging. However, this new class of thrombin inhibitors claimed to have less side-effects and no need for blood monitoring. This claim was met with great enthusiasm by patients and physicians alike, to the tune of $1 billion in annual sales. Unfortunately, in all of the excitement, some major details got overlooked. Contact a Boston Injury Lawyer.

Pradaxa Manufacturer Settles $650 Million Lawsuit

All anticoagulants come with a risk of increased bleeding. It’s what can be done once the hemorrhaging begins that determines the safety of the drug. With Warfarin, despite the inconvenience of constant blood monitoring and the very increased risk of hemorrhaging, there is an approved reversal agent (antidote) if hemorrhaging does occur. Physicians can administer a dose of vitamin K and fresh frozen plasma to quickly halt the bleeding. Unfortunately, no such antidote exists with Pradaxa or any thrombin inhibitor currently on the market. Boehringer Ingelheim’s failure to warn of this very important detail is at the core of many of the 4,000 lawsuits recently settled by the manufacturer for a total of $650 million. The settlement comes out to more than $150,000  per person. Continue reading