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									     Matthews Legal News
                                                               Holiday Issue 2009

The Official Newsletter of Matthews & Associates Law Firm                                         2905 Sackett St., Houston, Texas 77098
First Lawsuit Filed                                   Gadolinium/MRI cases Filed                   Hablamos Español

in Fatal Spanair Crash                                    USA – The firm has filed more than       Mesothelioma Death Case
                                                      two dozen cases – in state courts and in       ALABAMA – Matthews & Associates
    LOS ANGELES – Lawyers for two                     federal court in Cleveland, Ohio – for       Law Firm has been retained by the wife
injured survivors and several surviving               victims of gadolinium-based contrast         of a ship fitter who died in St. Elmo, Al-
family members of the 154 people                      dyes used in magnetic resonance imag-        abama from asbestos exposure. The
killed in a Spanair jet crash last summer             ing. The firm will argue that the makers     man spent nearly 40 years building and
filed the first crash-related lawsuit in              failed to properly study and research        repairing ships for one of the largest
June in U.S. Federal Court in Los An-                 gadolinium and the impact it could have      military contractors in the United
geles. Plaintiffs’ attorneys David                    on people with impaired kidney func-         States. He succumbed to mesothelioma
Matthews and Michael Gallagher of                     tion, and failed to warn of gadolinium       in July 2007.
Houston and local counsel Girardi &                   dye’s potentially fatal problems. (p.2)         The firm represents his 73-year-old
Keese named the Chicago-based Boe-                     ————————————————————————————————
                                                                                                   widow and their adult children against
ing company as the principal defendant.               First Toxic Drywall Cases                    several companies that made products
The suit alleges that Spanair Flight
JK5022 crashed due to mechanical de-                  Filed in Federal Court                       and machinery containing asbestos and
                                                          NEW ORLEANS – Matthews & As-
                                                                                                   machinery that called for the use of as-
fects in the flaps and slats on the wings.
                                                      sociates filed toxic drywall cases on        bestos-containing products.
The MD80 jet veered hard right just as                                                               ———————————————————————————————
it got airborne, then crashed.       (p. 2)           June 17 for 14 families from four dif-
                                                      ferent states in the Federal Court estab-    A Tragedy of Misplaced Trust
Raptiva Drug Withdrawn                                lished in New Orleans on June 15.               Thousands of Reglan users who had
                                                      Petitions from the firm claim the fami-      gastrointestinal problems now have a
     USA – The psoriasis drug Raptiva
was withdrawn from the market on                      lies have been victimized by toxic Chi-      much greater concern: a neurological
April 9 after it was found to be linked               nese drywall. The drywall is alleged to      syndrome known as Tardive Dyskine-
with a rare, but often fatal brain disor-             corrode refrigeration coils and other        sia. This devastating illness causes in-
der, progressive multifocal leukoen-                  copper elements, and to trigger the                             voluntary, repetitive
cephalopathy (PML). Other “side                       emission of toxic sulfuric gases. (p.3)                         movements of ex-
effects” include potentially fatal infec-
                                                                                                                      tremities and/or lip
tions such as bacterial sepsis, viral                 Injured Baby Case Filed                                         smacking, grimac-
meningitis, invasive fungal disease and                  AUSTIN – The firm has filed suit in                          ing, blinking, puck-
other opportunistic infections.      (p.2)            Travis County on behalf of parents                              ering and pursing
 –––——————————————————————————————————                whose baby boy was brain damaged in                             of lips or impaired
First Reglan Suits Filed                              July 2007. The suit charges that doctors                        movement of the
                                                      failed to respond to pregnancy compli-
    USA – Matthews & Associates filed                                                                                   Reglan was ap-
                                                      cations which injured the baby after a
the country’s first post blackbox law-                15-hour delay in the delivery. In addi-                         proved back in
suits, in October, against the makers of              tion, doctors and nurses didn’t properly                        1980, but several
Reglan, a gastrointestinal drug known                 ventilate the baby after delivery, hence                        generic versions
to cause a neurological syndrome called               contributing to his injuries.                that followed contain the same med-
Tardive Dyskinesia.                (p. 4)              ————————————————————————————————            ication: metoclopramide. On Feb. 26,
                                                                                                   2009 the FDA issued a black-box
 Table of Contents                                    Motorcycle Crash Settled                     warning about the drug, the most seri-
 Motorcyclist Run Over....................p. 2            HUMBLE, TEXAS – The firm at-             ous warning the agency issues. (p. 2)
 Dangerous Drugs/Devices...............p. 2           tained insurance limits in May for a
 First Spanair Crash case filed..........p. 2         34-year-old Humble man whose ankle            David Matthews has a top rating in
 Lobbyist Locusts..............................p. 3   was crushed when he was forced to lay         Martindale-Hubbell and is board-cer-
 Why Hire a Probate Attorney?.........p. 3            down his motorcycle after a negligent         tified in personal injury trial law. Voted
 Mall Death Case Settled...................p. 3                                                     a “Texas Super Lawyer” by his peers,
                                                      driver pulled out from a median. It was
 18-Wheeler Case Settled..................p. 4                                                      he has more than 100 jury verdicts.
                                                      the firm’s third cycle case in 2009.
Gadolinium/MRI                  (from p. 1)   Dangerous Drugs                               Misplaced Trust                                    (from p. 1)
   The FDA has indicated all five avail-                                                       Reglan was only established as a safe
able Gadolinium/MRI contrast agents                          Raptiva          (from p. 1)
                                                                                            and effective treatment when used for
can cause several serious problems, in-                                                     treatments of no more than 12 weeks,
                                                 Genentech, Inc., the drug’s maker,
cluding nephrogenic systemic fibrosis                                                       but the makers of the brand-name drug
                                              disclosed that three cases of PML had
(NSF). Most NSF victims are on dyal-                                                        were aware that many doctors pre-
                                              turned up in patients taking Raptiva
isis. If the kidneys can’t expel gadolin-                                                   scribed the medication off-label for sub-
                                              since October, including two that were
ium-based dye fast enough, it breaks                                                        stantially longer periods of time.
                                              fatal. A fourth patient taking Raptiva
free of its chelate; then it can infect                                                        Given that these longer periods of use
                                              died of unknown cause after developing
skin, muscle tissue, bone and organs.                                                       were well known, manufacturers did not
                                              neurologic symptoms. Each of the four
   The skin of patients with NSF often                                                      fully inform the medical community or
                                              had been taking the drug for more than
swells and tightens on the extremities                                                      patients. The manufacturers placed
                                              three years, according to Genentech.
and sometimes the trunk. The condition                                                      their desire for profits ahead of their ob-
may develop in days or months after an                                                      ligation to provide complete warnings
MRI. The FDA first warned medical                                                           about the safe use of a product. Manu-
                                                  The Food and Drug Administration
professionals about the link between                                                        facturers clearly knew that informing
                                              has said that research shows these
gadolinium-based dyes and NFD/NSF                                                           patients and doctors about the deva-
                                              creams are absorbed into the body and
in June 2006. The gold standard for di-                                                     taing problems Reglan can cause –
                                              can cause skin cancer and lymphoma.
agnosis is a punch biopsy of skin tissue                                                    when used at high doses or for longer
                                              The creams work by suppressing the
for microscopic analysis. Call our toll-                                                    than 12 weeks – would negatively im-
                                              immune system. They will carry a
free MRI hotline: 1-888-527-5722.                                                           pact sales, their all-important bottom
                                              “black box” warning, the strongest car-
                                                                                            line. The victims, again, were people
                                              ried on drugs and medicines.
Spanair Case Filed (from p. 1)                                                              whose only crime was trusting the com-
                                                                                            pany and the FDA.
     The complaint also addresses the                         Avandia                          _____________________________________________________________

possibility of pilot or technician error.         Avandia users are 43 percent more
A Spanish aviation agency investigation
found that the flaps and slats of the air-
                                              likely to suffer a heart attack and 67 per-   Lobbyist Locusts
                                              cent more likely to die of CV causes
craft were never extended, and therefore                                                        In 1968, only 62 lobbyists worked
                                              than non-users, according to the New
never allowed the plane to achieve                                                          our nation’s capital to influence law-
                                              England Journal of Medicine. As lead-
proper lift on takeoff. Attorneys believe                                                   makers. By 1985, they numbered about
                                              ers in the US with similar cases involv-
the flaps and slats malfunctioned, and                                                      8,000. Now, more than 15,000 lobbyists
                                              ing Rezulin, we handle Avandia cases.
that the system designed to warn the pi-                                                    descend on Washington. That unelected
lots that the flaps and slats were posi-                                                    swarm affects legislation at the expense
tioned improperly did not sound.                                                            of citizens. It affects the cleanliness of
                                                 Seroquel has been linked to a high in-
Boeing continues to investigate the                                                         our air and water; ways we work and
                                              cidence of type 2 diabetes, pancreatitis,
cause of the crash.                                                                         retire; policies that impact our secuity,
                                              hyperglycemia and other blood sugar
   The Spanair flight was headed from                                                       finances, food; and the cost of drugs.
                                              disorders, leading the FDA to request
Madrid to Gran Canaria Airport in the                                                           Public Citizen reports that the drug
                                              that manufacturer AstraZeneca clearly
Canary Islands on Aug 20, 2008. It was                                                      industry alone has two lobbyists for
                                              list dangers on Seroquel packaging. We
Spain’s worst air disaster in 25 years.                                                     every member of congress: “Lobbyists
                                              are currently litigating these cases.
  —————————————————————————————————                                                         and special interest groups outnumber
                                                                                            all congressional representatives and
Cycle Crash Settled                                           Trasylol                      senators – and their staffs – by a margin
  HOUSTON – A 32-year-old man from               A blood-clotting agent used in heart       of two to one.” From 1998 to 2004,
Porter, Texas was severely injured in         surgeries, Trasylol can increase the risk     corporate lobbyists spent nearly $13 bil-
March when a black Tahoe ran him over         of heart attack, kidney complications         lion to impact legislation. Many slither
from behind on the Southwest Freeway          and stroke not only during surgery but        through a revolving door between gov-
in Houston. The SUV was traveling ap-         up to five years after. It costs up to 50     ernment “service” and corporate jobs.
proximately 30 mph faster than the mo-        times more than two alternative clotting      Roughly 2,390 former public officials
torcycle. The cyclist suffered head           drugs, neither of which carries the same      now work as lobbyists, including some
lacerations that required 12 staples. He      risks. We have filed several Trasylol         240 ex-members of congress. Many
was bruised over most of his body, and        cases in the U.S. thus far.                   lobbyists cash in by lobbying their for-
his cycle was totaled. The firm settled                                                     mer colleagues. Call or write your rep-
the case for insurance policy limits.             Call us for a free consultation.          resentatives and demand real change.
 Mesothelioma/Asbestos                          Toxic Drywall Cases Filed in New Orleans MDL                                 (from p.1)

     Matthews & Associates continue to             The gases are believed to cause a wide array of health problems, but no toxic
 pursue mesothelioma cases throughout           drywall signature injury has yet been proven.
 the country. Mesothelioma is caused by            The Multi-District-Litigation court, presided over by Judge Eldon Fallon, was
 exposure to asbestos, which is present in      established in New Orleans to consolidate the country’s numerous drywall cases.
 many work places such as construction,         Shipping records indicate at least 550,000 tons of toxic Chinese drywall were im-
 ship building, automotive and other man-       ported into the US during the housing boom of 2003-2007.
 ufacturing industries. People with a his-         Plaintiffs’s attorneys seek compensation for victims of the defective drywall that
 tory of extended asbestos exposure are at      may cause a complete loss in home value. Toxicity studies show many affected
 the highest risk for developing malignant
                                                homes may need to be stripped to the rafters or even the slab.
                                                   "We don't yet know the exact mechanism of how this drywall damages houses
    Even minor exposure to cancer-causing
 asbestos can result in malignant mesothe-      and people," said attorney David Matthews. "We won’t be able to perform proper
 lioma. However, mesothelioma has a la-         discovery of how it causes the destruction of wiring, electrical appliances and
 tency of up to 40 years. Many people           plumbing fixtures until we sue the manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and con-
 previously exposed to asbestos are only        struction companies that used it."
 now showing symptoms; the typical age
 range of meso victims is 50 – 70.               Do you need a probate attorney? Probate 101                       by Geoff Sansom
   Asbestos consists of tiny fibers that can         Probate is the process of determining who is entitled to the property of a de-
 find their way to the outside lining of the     ceased person. Probate is also the process that transfers legal title of property
 lung and damage the cells of which
                                                 from the estate of a deceased person to his or her proper beneficiaries. The term
 pleura is made. These fibers can also be
                                                 "probate" refers to a "proving" of the existence of a valid will or of determining
 carried on clothing, which also makes
 them dangerous to family members.               and proving who one's legal heirs are in the event that a person dies intestate –
     Symptoms may include, but are not           without having made a will. For clients who are bringing a lawsuit based on the
 limited to, respiratory distress and a last-    death of a loved one, some form of probate is required before the suit can pro-
 ing cough and pneumonia. Symptoms are           ceed or before any settlement funds can be distributed.
 often mistaken for less serious ailments,           Not all of a person's property is required to go through probate. Some prop-
 and many patients show no signs at all.         erty must go through probate in order to transfer legal title from the deceased's
 Diagnosis is usually made by chest x-           name to his or her beneficiaries or heirs. Other types of ben-
 rays and CT scans. Anyone with concerns         efits – such as life insurance proceeds, annuities, 401k ac-
 should seek medical help.
                                                 counts and IRAs – can bypass probate. Bank accounts set up
                                                 as payable-on-death accounts (“POD”) or as joint-tenancies-
  Call us for a free consultation
                                                 with-right-of-survivorship can also pass to a beneficiary
Mall Death Case Settled                          without probate.
                                                     Generally, even if a will has been drafted, it is necessary
    HOUSTON – Attorney Adam Funk
                                                 to go through probate (or other less formal procedures under
settled a violent death case in October          the supervision of the probate court) before the deceased's
for a substantial undisclosed sum, per           property can be distributed. Even if a person dies with a will
agreement with defendants. The case              (known as dying testate), a court generally must have an op-
stemmed from a Nov. 27, 2007 incident            portunity to allow others to object to the will and, if there
in which 20-year-old JoAnna Gonzalez             are any objections, to determine if the will is valid.
was shot and killed at a north side
                                                                                                                   Geoffrey Sansom
Houston mall. Plaintiffs were the                The Need for a Will                                               —————————————————

woman’s parents. The firm argued that               You need a will yourself because it lets you specify who you wish to receive
the mall had inadequate security, espe-          property (including any money that might be received from a personal injury
cially given its history of violent crime.       lawsuit) when you pass away. A will allows you to name an “executor” who will
                                                 act on your behalf once you pass away (similar to a Power of Attorney). If you

Please Update                                    die without leaving behind a will, then state law will determine who will receive
     USA – We often need to call our             your property. As you might imagine, such a scenario can result in someone re-
clients or send mail to meet legal dead-         ceiving your property whom you would never, in a million years, have named
lines. Most cases involve a statute of           in your will. Dying intestate can also result in someone whom you don’t trust
limitations that leaves no room for              representating your entire estate. With a proper will, however, you can control
error. If you move or change your phone          (through the probate process) who will act on your behalf and who will inherit
number, please let us know right away.           your property. Anyone with questions can call me direct at 713/238-7767.
First Reglan Cases Filed                                              (from page 1)   Matthews Legal News gives clients and
                                                                                      other friends across the country up-to-date
   Matthews & Associates filed eight Reglan lawsuits in the Philadelphia Court
                                                                                      information about our firm’s litigation,
of Common Pleas against Teva Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and three in California Su-        as well as late-breaking national news.
perior Court in Riverside County against Watson Laboratories, Inc.. All lawsuits      Matthews & Associates is a law firm of
included the original creators of Reglan, Wyeth Pharmaceutical Company.               trial lawyers, consultants, investigators
Reglan has been on the market since the 1980s, but generic versions also exist.       and medical personnel. We help people
In February 2009, the FDA cautioned about the key ingredient, metoclopramide:         harmed by negligence, greed or incompe-
   "Chronic use of metoclopramide has been linked to tardive dyskinesia, which        tence. With more than 100 years of com-
may include involuntary and repetitive movements of the body, such as lip             bined legal experience, our lawyers have
smacking, grimacing, tongue protrusion, rapid eye movements or blinking, puck-        practiced law in nearly all 50 states and
ering and pursing of the lips, or impaired movement of the fingers, even after the    Puerto Rico. We have the financial re-
                                                                                      sources to handle any personal injury case.
drugs are no longer taken. These symptoms are rarely reversible and there is no
known treatment."
                                                                                      Matthews & Associates
                                                                                      David P. Matthews, J.D.
The Firm Settles 18-Wheeler Death Case                                                Julie L. Rhoades, J.D.
    HOUSTON – A jury trial was underway in Harris County in October when              Lizy Santiago, J.D.
Matthews & Associates reached a settlement with a trucking company. Corpo-            Jason C. Webster, J.D.
rate lawyers defended the employer and driver of an 18-wheeler that plowed            Adam T. Funk, J.D.
through a stop-lighted intersection in a school zone on Old Beaumont Highway
                                                                                      Rachal G. Rojas, J.D.
in 2003, killing a 33-year-old mother and 12-year-old son. Attorneys David
Matthews and Julie Rhoades represented the child’s father and grandparents.           Bradford J. Gilde, J.D.
    The 18-wheeler hit the woman and child at 2:10 p.m. on a Friday just before       713/522-5250
Christmas as they exited the school, less than 200 feet from an intersection. De-     888/520-5202 toll free
fense argued the light was not flashing on the yellow school sign which read,
“Speed Limit 35 when flashing,” and that the woman failed to yield. The case
                                                                                      713/535-7184 fax
settled for an undisclosed sum.                                                       www.thematthewslawfirm.com

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                                                                                                 Houston , TX 77098
                                                                                                 2905 Sackett Street
                                                                                                 Matthews & Associates
                                                                                              Matthews Legal News

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