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Licensed attorneys in New Orleans were asked which attorney they would recommend to residents in the New Orleans area. Attorney Jeffrey Berniard, of the New Orleans-based Berniard Law Firm, LLC, was named one of the best mass litigation and class action attorneys in New Orleans in the November 2012 issue of the magazine. Propelled into success by holding insurance companies accountable in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Berniard has built the Berniard Law Firm into one of the premiere personal injury law practices in not only New Orleans, but the entire state of Louisiana. Since Hurricane Katrina, Berniard Law Firm has focused on insurance disputes and class action litigation.

Jeffrey Berniard has been involved in several high-profile cases, solidifying his expertise in complex high risk litigation. He worked on the highly publicized Deep Water Horizon oil rig case in the Gulf Coast, representing a very large group of individuals affected by the sinking oil rig. In 2008, Berniard Law Firm secured a $35 million dollar settlement for a class of 70,000 members seeking bad faith penalties for tardy payments by a Louisiana insurance company in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. In 2009, the Berniard Law Firm participated in five class actions against insurance companies and corporations. In the process of these major claims, the firm also helped many residents of the Gulf Coast with their personal injury concerns, insurance claims and business disputes.

– What is Mass Tort Litigation? –

A summary judgment is rendered when a trial court decides that there are no genuine issues of material fact that need to be determined. “Manifestly erroneous” is the high standard under which summary judgments are reversed on appeal. Summary judgments are cheaper and less time consuming than full blown trials; they are a means toward the end of judicial expediency, a goal that becomes increasingly important to our judicial system over time. Despite the importance of this procedural device, many cases do not call for summary judgment. Sometimes trial courts grant full or partial summary judgments in error and are reversed. That is what occurred in the case of Jagneux v. Frohn, which you can read here.

The defendants in this case convinced the trial court that no issues of fact existed that required litigating. Their legal journey was not over though due to the plaintiff’s appeal. The court of appeals applied the standard promulgated by the Louisiana Supreme Court. This Louisiana Supreme Court’s standard initially places the burden of proof on the party that is moving for a summary judgment. The moving party must prove that one or more elements of the adverse party’s claim or defense lacks any factual support on the record so far. The opposing party is then granted an opportunity to prove that there have been facts alleged that support that party’s position. At the time of summary judgment the record is sparse so a granting of summary judgment represents a finding by the court that no facts supporting a particular party’s, in this case the plaintiff’s, position.

The appellate court reversed the trial court’s decision in this case because it found that the issue of whether Mrs. Kling, a defendant in this case, was the driver of the white SUV at the time that it, at least partially, caused the accident at issue in this case. Because there was conflicting evidence about where Mrs. Kling was and whether or not she was actually in control of the car at the time of the accident, summary judgment was not the right choice in this case. The trial court is not to weigh the merits of the case when addressing summary judgment. Summary judgment is only appropriate in cases where no potentially meritorious case is presented by one of the parties.

A hip replacement surgery is a very serious, very invasive surgical procedure that many people, unfortunately, have to undergo. A hip replacement surgery is not just a procedure for older people: Louisiana residents of all ages have undergone hip replacement surgeries over the last decade. In that time, great progress has been made on developing durable, workable hips so that area residents, and elsewhere, can continue to live their lives unaffected and unhindered by the hip prosthesis. However, it has recently come to the public’s attention that DePuy, the orthopedic division of Johnson & Johnson, manufactured a defective hip implant that went unchecked for years until its recall this year. In fact, DePuy knowingly marketed a defective product and as a result, over the last few years, almost 100,000 patients have received a defective hip. If you are a Louisiana resident who received a DePuy hip, the law is on your side.

A hip replacement failure can result in very serious injuries for the patient, in addition to the revision surgery that the patient will very likely face. Patients receiving DePuy hips have experienced failure in the unit in as short as five years or less, as opposed to the regular 10 to 15 years that similar devices tend to last. However, if you received one of these defective hips the law has favorable for allowing those who have received a defective product to recover personal injury damages.

Louisiana patients should be on the look-out for certain signs that their hip replacement device is failing. Signs of failure include swelling of the hip area, popping or clicking, pain, loosening or implant dislocation, and fractures. Don’t forget that a failed device can cause even more serious injuries than just a fractured hip, as there are several different implications that can arise. In the DePuy case, doctors are also concerned about toxins from the metal implant seeping into patients’ bloodstream, potentially poisoning their bodies. It is in the best interest of individuals who suspect a failing DePuy hip replacement has been used in their corrective surgery to get a blood test immediately.

Thus many are left wondering: what do you do if you have a DePuy hip? For those with the ASR Hip Resurfacing System, it is imperative that you talk to a lawyer to discuss your legal rights. In cases like this there is a statute of limitations which says that even if you have a valid claim, waiting too long or delays in bringing your case can lead to a failure in recovering monetary damages for your case. If you have suffered pain, lost wages, or been forced to spend less time with your family as a result of your defective hip, you could be eligible for money damages.

An experienced attorney can work with you in bringing a lawsuit against DePuy, the manufacturer of the defective hip implants. The law protects you, the consumer, from deceptive marketing and manufacturing. If you have a DePuy hip, or another other hip implant that is causing you problems, reach out to the Berniard Law Firm today.

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DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., has voluntarily recalled the DePuy ASR(TM) XL Acetabular System and Depuy ASR(TM) Hip Resurfacing System used in hip replacement surgery. Serious complications with these two devices caused many individuals to experience severe pain, discomfort, and for many, a second corrective surgery. In fact, DePuy has acknowledged that symptoms of the DePuy Hip System may include:

– Loosening, when the implant does not stay attached to the bone in the correct position
– Fracture, where the bone around the implant may have broken; and
– Dislocation, where the two parts of the implant that move against each other are no longer aligned.

Further, if you have had hip surgery after July 2003, the hip replacement device you received may be included in this recall. However, DePuy does not maintain a master list of patients who received their product. Therefore, if you have had hip surgery and received an implant after July 2003, contact your orthopedic surgeon or the hospital where your surgery took place to determine whether you received a DePuy ASR Hip System device. This step may take time and therefore, should be looked into as soon as possible.

Also, visiting your doctor for medical testing will help determine whether your hip is functioning well and reacting appropriately to the implant device. Tests may include X-Rays of your hip, simple physical reaction test, as well as blood test to indicate the level of microscopic metal particles around your hip that may cause serious health problems. In addition, other test may be done including an ultrasound or MRI to evaluate if you are having a reaction to the metal particles. This is a critical factor to explore since many patients who had the DePuy implant are later diagnosed with metallosis, which occurs when friction of a metal on metal device produces metal shavings that become deposited in the socket of the device and in the surrounding soft tissue. This damage may complicate the corrective surgery many need in order to remove the DePuy device completely from their hip.

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For those Louisiana residents, whether you live in Lake Charles, Shreveport, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Kentwood or any other of the great cities across this state, looking for more information on their possible personal injury claim, check out our blog dedicated to these legal matters:

Louisiana Personal Injury Blog

This blog discusses the legal issues relating to Admiralty/Maritime law, Animal/Dog Bites, Car Accidents, Chemical/Industrial Spills, the intricacies of Expert Testimony, Insurance Disputes, employee rights under the Jones Act, Legal Duty, Civil Lawsuits, Criminal prosecution, Medical Malpractice, Mesothelioma/Asbestos, Motorcycle Injury, Negligence, Offshore Accidents, Product Defects, Chinese Drywall, Strict Liability, Workers’ Compensation and Wrongful Death. All of these issues are crucial to citizens rights and residents of Louisiana.

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