How Much Will CPAP Machine Lawsuits Be Worth?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Millions of people across the country rely on their sleep apnea machines to get a good night’s rest. If you used a recalled Philips sleep apnea machine and suffered any serious health problems, you might wonder whether a CPAP lawsuit has any value.
Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against Philips Respironics since the company first announced its recall in June 2021, and there could be many more to come. The ongoing Philips Respironics multidistrict litigation (MDL) is in the United States Western District of Pennsylvania and is in its earliest stages of pre-trial proceedings.
If you want to calculate the cost of a potential Philips CPAP machine recall lawsuit, there are many factors to consider for your case. You may also receive a settlement based on whether you could join the Philips MDL. A CPAP lawyer familiar with Michigan’s product liability laws and the MDL at our law firm can help you estimate the value of your CPAP machine lawsuit.
What’s the Background with the Philips CPAP Recall Lawsuits?
After determining that the PE-PUR sound abatement foam in the devices disintegrated into particles, Philips announced the recall. A major source of concern was the various poisonous and carcinogenic chemical components in PE-PUR foam.
The users of these machines could inhale and ingest microscopic foam particles, which could damage lungs, livers, kidneys, and other organs. Other side effects of ingestion may include headaches, asthma, and irritation of the nose, eyes, and skin. Among the more serious health consequences of inhaling and ingesting the particles are toxic and carcinogenic effects.
Shortly after Philips announced its recall, CPAP product liability lawsuits were filed in federal courts across the country. The plaintiffs claimed they used their CPAP machines for long periods to help sleep apnea. Because of the long-term use of the machines, they developed serious health conditions that may be related to PE-PUR foam particles.
What did Philips know about the recalled sleep apnea machines?
Because Philips failed to warn its users about the dangers of the foam and a lack of duty of care, evidence against Phillips is mounting. According to a November 2021 FDA inspection report, Philips knew about the issues with the PE-PUR foam long before issuing the recall.
In 2018, staff members at Philips found the foam could fall apart when exposed to high heat and humidity. However, they decided not to change the design of their machines and continue using foam in them. Phillips executives knew of the foam degradation issues starting in 2020, but they didn’t take any action to address them until April 2021.
What About the Philips CPAP MDL?
The U.S. JPML (Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation) has consolidated the multiple Philips CPAP and BiPAP legal claims into an MDL in the U.S. Western District of Pennsylvania.
The MDL is in Pennsylvania since the company manufactured many of the recalled products in Murrysville. A significant amount of evidence and witnesses are located in the Western District of Pennsylvania, which may prove helpful in the MDL. This eliminates duplicative discovery, prevents conflicting rulings from multiple judges, and is convenient for parties, witnesses, and courts.
In December 2021, the judge in the Philips CPAP MDL issued an order outlining the procedures for naming members of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee. The Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee is composed of plaintiffs’ attorneys who have the authority to act collectively for all plaintiffs in the case. The MDL Steering Committee makes many decisions that affect all plaintiffs in litigation.
How long would it take to win a CPAP machine MDL?
The MDL can undergo consolidated discovery and bellwether trials for several months. The consolidated discovery proceedings may focus on the evidence linking the inhalation of PE-PUR foam to various malignancies and other health issues. There may be some focus on the mechanics of the disintegration of the PE-PUR foam.
After the discovery phase, the judge selects a few CPAP cases for bellwether trials, where a jury decides. The outcomes from the bellwether cases can give the lawyers for the plaintiffs and defendants an idea about what a jury thinks about the claims and defenses presented. The juries’ decisions also indicate the settlement amount in a typical MDL case.
When plaintiffs win their bellwether trials, the company may need to enter settlement negotiations to settle multiple claims in a global or aggregate settlement. The settlement would end all litigation in the MDL and create a pool of funds to distribute to the MDL’s plaintiffs. The plaintiffs’ attorneys must disperse the funds to the appropriate parties.
What factors play into the CPAP machine MDL?
Global settlements take the place of individual settlements, which resolve all claims against a single defendant at one time. To understand how a CPAP settlement might appear in your case, you need to understand how global settlements work in major tort cases. The factors that go into every case include:
- Evidence proving the company’s liability
- The amount of time a plaintiff was exposed to the recalled device, which caused their illness
- The plaintiff’s illness and health issues as a result of the recalled device
- Various factors, including the plaintiff’s age, employment, and overall physical condition
Any prospective global settlement would have to balance these factors. The global settlement should also address the plaintiffs’ losses caused by the defendant’s actions and products. This may result in a fairer distribution of the settlement funds in mass tort cases involving multiple defendants.
How would the CPAP lawsuits be affected by a global settlement?
In global settlements, individual awards are compared to global settlement figures. A matrix-based settlement consists of categorized items that are then scored using a point system. Ideally, the matrix should be specific to the lawsuit and thorough enough to consider all potential factors.
A medical device global settlement considers the age of the plaintiff at the time they used the device, the length of time they used it, and their overall health. The plaintiffs are given points based on those factors.
Those who acquired the device when they were younger score higher because they are more likely to recover faster than those who are older. An adult of working age who is unable to work would score higher than a retired senior citizen. Because of this, each plaintiff’s damages are individually defined.
It is important to remember that if you decide to bring your claim independently, it remains independent of the MDL’s settlement fund distribution. Depending on your case, your lawyer may recommend joining the MDL or keeping your claim independent to ensure you receive the proper amount of compensation for your illness.
How Much Will CPAP Lawsuits Be Worth?
The value of a Philips CPAP lawsuit is unique because of the range of health issues that can be affected by it, from cancer to organ damage to respiratory problems. Other factors depend on each case’s unique circumstances, such as the duration of the illness and the amount of time for exposure to the recalled Philips’ medical device.
To help you better understand how much your CPAP lawsuit is worth, similar mass tort cases that involve medical devices and complications have settled for the following amounts:
Transvaginal mesh lawsuits
There have been over 108,000 lawsuits about transvaginal mesh. These meshes have caused pain, bleeding, infection, organ perforation, and autoimmune disorders. Women who sued corporations for transvaginal mesh in state and federal courts have won at least 20 verdicts totaling $300 million since 2012. In one of the largest transvaginal mesh settlements to date, $830 million was paid out for 20,000 cases.
Hip replacement lawsuits
The popularity of metal-on-metal implants peaked during the 2000s, but they soon fell out of favor as complications began to surface. Over 29,000 lawsuits against hip manufacturers have been filed, with thousands of hip cases settling for over $7.5 billion. From 2013 to 2015, Depuy Orthopaedics settled 9,800 cases for $4.42 billion.
Monsanto Roundup lawsuits
A 2015 study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) revealed a connection between Roundup and cancer, suggesting that the chemical, glyphosate might cause cancer. Since then, more than 100,000 claims have been filed against Monsanto, the product’s manufacturer. A few cases have settled for millions of dollars, including one in which the plaintiff received $80 million after a jury determined his Non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis was related to his Roundup usage.
How Does a Philips CPAP Lawsuit Address Damages?
A product liability lawsuit seeks to compensate you financially before your illness. You can discuss with your attorney what damages you can claim against Philips.
They can go over your medical records, bills, and proof of loss of wages to calculate your economic damages. The severity of your illness from the recalled CPAP machine and the resulting physical and emotional circumstances are also in consideration for calculating your settlement.
You can expect to receive compensation for any financial losses because of your illness.
- Medical costs: The settlement includes all medical expenses related to your CPAP illness. Your expenses may include receipts for diagnostic testing, surgeon fees, operations, hospital bills, and drugs. If you need future medical treatments for your illness, these are considered for your settlement.
- Loss of wages: The court determines your losses during recovery by considering what you were paid before your diagnosis. Work loss is the money an injured person loses because they would have worked if not injured.
- Loss of earning potential: When determining your settlement, your lost earning capacity is also considered if you cannot work because of your illness. Reviewing your past wages and documentation of your employment history can help your lawyer make a reasonable estimate of your future earnings if you weren’t ill.
- Mileage to and from medical appointments: You may receive compensation from the court if you constantly travel to hospitals and doctors’ appointments due to your illness. Your lawyer can estimate the total cost of compensation if you keep track and document your travel mileage to and from your healthcare providers.
Depending on the seriousness and duration of your illness, you may also get compensation for non-economic losses. Michigan caps non-economic damages at $250,000 for product liability cases. If you have lost a limb, suffered brain or spine injuries, or lost the ability to procreate, then your non-economic damages cannot exceed $500,000.
- Pain and suffering: Your CPAP illness can result in physical pain, discomfort, and mental suffering. Keeping a journal of your symptoms and diagnosis of your CPAP illness and how they have affected your daily life can be helpful to your lawsuit.
- Mental anguish: Not only do you experience pain and discomfort from your illness, but also anxiety and depression. If you have any of these psychological, emotional, and physical symptoms, they fall under mental anguish.
- Loss of consortium: If you have been diagnosed with cancer or another serious illness, you often cannot fulfill your conjugal responsibilities to your spouse or significant other. Providing child care and enough time for your children’s education might be difficult in your condition.
- Disfigurement: Chemotherapy can cause hair loss and dry, flaky skin. If you have cancer and receive medical treatment resulting in physical scarring, you may be able to receive compensation for disfigurement.
If you lost a loved one as a result of a Philips CPAP illness, you might be entitled to compensation for unpaid medical costs, the loved one’s pain and suffering before death, and funeral and burial expenses. A wrongful death may also entitle you to compensation if you lose financial assistance and companionship due to the loss of a loved one.
See if You Qualify for Philips CPAP Lawsuits
If you’ve suffered any serious health issues as a result of using a recalled Phillips CPAP machine, contact one of our CPAP lawyers today at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. We can analyze your claim in your free consultation and advise you on your next steps and if you should file a lawsuit.
Nurse attorney and senior partner Eileen Kroll provides extra leverage in negotiations on your claim through her extensive medical knowledge. She has a comprehensive understanding of how product defects cause illness and can use your medical records to hold the manufacturer accountable. Eileen specializes in medical malpractice and mass tort cases, ensuring she’s up to the task of proving your claim and helping you get justice for your case.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.