Legal Marketing News

DOJ Joins Plaintiffs in Opioid Lawsuit

Late last month Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Justice would be joining the efforts to combat the deadly opioid crisis gripping America.  The Justice Department, under the guidance of Sessions, has designated a task force to track opioid producers who have been flooding the markets.  The Department of Justice Prescription Interdiction and Litigation (PIL) Task Force would use civil and criminal penalties to go after opioid manufacturers that violate the law.  Sessions appointed federal prosecutor Mary Daly to oversee opioid enforcement.


Justice Department Files Statement of Interest in Opioid Litigation

Sessions also stated that the Justice Department would be filing a “statement of interest” in an Ohio lawsuit currently filed against opioid makers.  According to a recent article in the New York Times, the lawsuit goes after manufacturers and distributors of opioids who have used “false, deceptive and unfair marketing of opioid drugs.”  The statement of interest does not make the Justice Department a party to the lawsuit, but it could hold some persuasive power.

The Justice Department has joined a lawsuit out of the Federal District Court in Cleveland.  Sessions has joined attorneys general from seven states to combat the national epidemic which is believed to have cost more than $4 billion from the federal Medicare program.  Over 400 complaints were consolidated out of the Ohio courthouse.  US District Court Judge Dan Polster is overseeing the MDL.  Many believe it could result in a substantial settlement not seen since the tobacco company payouts in 1998.  The settlement included a $206 billion payout over the first 25 years of the agreement by the four largest tobacco companies: Phillip Morris Inc., R. J. Reynolds, Brown & Williamson, and Lorillard.[1]


History of the Opioid Crisis

The opioid crisis is nothing new in America, what is new is the number of people who have access to the drugs such as oxycodone and fentanyl.  More alarming is the ease at which doctors were prescribing the potentially life-threatening drugs.  Plaintiffs argue that manufacturers misled consumers and doctors about the risk of abuse, addiction, the risk of overdose and death.  It is believed that opioid overdoses were responsible for the deaths of 64,000 people.  Aggressive marketing by Purdue Pharma and other drug manufacturers leads to a massive jump in the number of doctors prescribing opioid painkillers and a huge increase in the number of people who die from an opioid overdose.  According to the Attorney General, 180 Americans die every day from drug overdoses.[2]


Interested in representing those affected by the opioid epidemic?  Amicus Media Group can help you acquire more cases with less risk.  Contact our qualified case management specialists today to learn more about getting quality cases with a company founded on trust, transparency and with a proven track record.  We bring cost-effective solutions to your marketing needs focusing on mass tort, personal injury and class action litigation.  Contact us today to learn more about how to deliver your message to prospective clients across the country.



This blog post does not contain legal or financial advice. Author and publisher disclaim any and all warranties, liabilities, losses, costs, claims, demands, suits, or actions of any type or nature whatsoever, arising from or any way related to this blog, the use of this blog, and/or any claim that a particular technique or device described in this blog.







Online Reviews: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

picThe real cost of getting client reviews

Online reviews are an essential component of any digital marketing campaign.  Positive client reviews create what is known as social proof.  Social proof or informational social influence “is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect correct behavior for a given situation.”  The idea is that if something has been accepted or liked by others, then more people will be motivated to use that product, try that business or use that service.  In addition to reviews, social proof can be offered by trusted industry leaders recommending a service or product, testimonials or even social media followers.  A large percentage of people go to yelp before trying a new restaurant.  Consumers regularly rely on google reviews before purchasing a product.  It can be tempting to solicit positive reviews by whatever means necessary.  The problem is that it could get you in big trouble.


Client Reviews: The Good

As we mentioned, client reviews offer social proof that your business is well-liked and that you are good at what you do.  As attorneys, word-of-mouth has been an essential component to getting new clients.  You do good work for your client; they tell others, you get new clients.  Enter the digital world and an ultra-competitive market.  Word-of-mouth referrals are no longer enough to keep most firms afloat.  You must have a robust online presence and a comprehensive digital marketing campaign to compete.  Even if you are getting old school word-of-mouth referrals, those prospective clients are still going online.  The original personal recommendation may have gotten them to your website, but the social proof will be what makes them give you a call.


Online Reviews: The Bad

When asking clients to leave reviews, or even when you don’t ask, you run the risk of receiving a negative review.  It could be a legitimate client who feels that you performed less-than-adequate work for them.  It could be a competitor (which brings a whole other set of ethical concerns).  It could even be a disgruntled ex-employee or girlfriend or anybody with a keyboard.  The internet offers anonymity and while review sites such as Yelp, AVVO and Google are working hard to stop fake reviews, they still exist.  If you do receive a negative review, you need to take steps to address it.  Responding immediately out of frustration or anger is never a good idea, but you do want to take time to issue a rational response.  If you feel that an actual client did not leave the review, you can petition the site to have it removed.


And Now… The Ugly

Attorneys have to be very careful when dealing with online reviews.  There are definite ethical considerations in soliciting client reviews that can not only get your highly sought after positive reviews removed from a review website but can also get you in hot water with the state bar association.  Most Rules on Professional Conduct prohibit offering any money in exchange for reviews or endorsements unless it is marked as a “paid” endorsement.  Some ban it altogether.  Review sites have started to take action as well.  Google recently removed nearly 100 positive reviews solicited from an attorney who offered free zoo tickets as an incentive.


That being said – we in no way want to discourage you from getting online reviews.  They are an essential part of your online footprint.  They can serve a crucial role in getting new clients and are a great way to establish your firm as an industry leader.  We only caution against an all-or-nothing strategy.  Do good work, have a reliable system for closing out case files and asking for reviews.  The rest is easy.  Well, not easy, but worth the effort.



Learn more about the importance of social proof from Amicus Media Group.  We are a full-service legal marketing firm.  Our network of media relationships is unparalleled.  We will work directly with you to develop a customized ad campaign to get you more cases at less risk.  Contact us today for a free consultation.


This blog post does not contain legal or financial advice. Author and publisher disclaim any and all warranties, liabilities, losses, costs, claims, demands, suits, or actions of any type or nature whatsoever, arising from or any way related to this blog, the use of this blog, and/or any claim that a particular technique or device described in this blog.




Pennsylvania Superior Court Remands Risperdal Verdict to Lower Court to consider New Trial on Punitive Damages

pic2The third Risperdal case to go to trial has been remanded to the trial court to consider whether there should be a new trial.  At question is whether to apply punitive damages to the verdict.  The case, Murray v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals originally rendered a $1.75 million verdict.  The amount was later reduced to $680,000 by the trial court after Janssen moved for a modification of the verdict.  The modification of the damages was granted when the trial court applied Maryland’s cap on noneconomic damages.


The Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld the trial court’s reduction of the verdict but sent the case back to the trial court to consider punitive damages.  In a previous case, the court had decided that Risperdal plaintiffs should be able to seek and recover punitive damages.  The trial court must now decide whether to apply the substantive law or New Jersey or Maryland.  New Jersey law strictly prohibits recovery of punitive damages in products liability cases.  Maryland law, however, allows for a plaintiff to recover punitive damages or those damages designed to punish the defendant’s conduct.


History of Risperdal Cases

In 1994, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Risperdal to treat schizophrenia in adults.  In June 2006, a study linked use of the drug with an increased likelihood of male breast growth, a condition known as gynecomastia.  Despite this study, the FDA approved the drug for treatment of schizophrenia in boys between the ages of 13 and 17 years old.  The drug was also approved to treat bipolar disorder in children between the ages of 10 and 17.  By September of 2012, over 400 lawsuits are filed against manufacturers of Risperdal.  At least 130 of these cases involve plaintiffs who have suffered from gynecomastia.  Today there are over 5500 Risperdal lawsuits pending in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.


In the matter of Pledger v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals the jury awarded the plaintiff $2.5 million after testimony that 21-year-old Austin Pledger had developed 46DD breasts as a result of taking Risperdal at the age of 12.  The jury found that Janssen Pharmaceuticals was negligent and failed to provide adequate warnings to Pledger’s physician about the risk of gynecomastia.


In the matter of Yount v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the jury awarded a $76.6 million judgment. The jury found that Johnson and Johnson subsidiary Janssen did “intentionally falsify, destroy or conceal records containing material evidence in the case.” Other plaintiffs have received jury awards from $500,000 to $1 million. Johnson and Johnson have agreed to confidential settlements in some other cases.


Risperdal litigation is still ongoing.  Thousands of people have been affected by this drug and others.  Amicus Media Group is dedicated to bringing you the latest information on Risperdal lawsuits, mass torts, class action lawsuits and products liability litigation.  We provide comprehensive legal marketing services for attorneys practicing in these fields.  Contact us today for more information.


This blog post does not contain legal or financial advice. Author and publisher disclaim any and all warranties, liabilities, losses, costs, claims, demands, suits, or actions of any type or nature whatsoever, arising from or any way related to this blog, the use of this blog, and/or any claim that a particular technique or device described in this blog.