Shouse Law Group is pursuing six- and seven-figure settlements for Philips CPAP lawsuits clients suffering from cancer and other side effects after using the now-recalled CPAPs, BiPAPs, or ventilators. We are intending to negotiate payouts that cover the following compensatory damages:
- Medical expenses, past and future. This includes hospital stays, in-office visits, treatments, medicines, medical equipment, rehabilitation, and home health care.
- Lost earnings from being unable to work.
- Loss of future wages from being unable to work.
- Pain and suffering, including emotional trauma.
- Funeral expenses and loss of support if the victim died.
- Any other related economic losses.
In this article, our mass tort lawyers answer the following frequently-asked-questions:
- 1. What is the current status of the Philips CPAP lawsuits?
- 2. Can I get punitive damages too?
- 3. What are the legal bases for a lawsuit?
- 4. Which sleep apnea devices have been recalled?
- 5. What triggered the Philips recall?
1. What is the current status of the Philips CPAP lawsuits?
Litigation is still in an early stage. All the individual lawsuits filed by victims of the recalled devices around the U.S. are being consolidated into an MDL (multi-district litigation) out of the U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania. The MDL’s presiding judge is the Honorable Joy Flowers Conti, who has decades of experience with mass tort litigation.
MDLs are a way to expedite the litigation process. Since there are so many victims with similar injuries from the same defective Philips sleep apnea devices, it makes practical sense for one judge to preside over the pretrial stage of all the lawsuits. Then once “discovery” (evidence-gathering) is over, the judge will allow a few cases to go to trial – called bellwether trials.
How these bellwether trials turn out serves as the starting point for negotiations with the rest of the plaintiffs. The higher the jury verdicts, the more Philips will likely offer in attempt to avoid further trials.
The name of the Philips CPAP MDL is In Re: Philips Recalled CPAP, BI-LEVEL PAP, and Mechanical Ventilator Products Liability Litigation (MDL # 3014). As of December 1, 2021, the MDL has 127 cases. But this number is expected to grow by thousands if not more.1
2. Can I get punitive damages too?
Punitive damages only come into play if a particular plaintiff’s case goes to trial. The vast majority of Philips CPAP cases are expected to resolve through a negotiation without a trial.
But if a case fails to settle and does proceed to trial, the plaintiff’s attorney will absolutely fight for punitive damages. The purpose of punitive damages would be to punish Philips for their behavior rather than merely compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
In the CPAP lawsuits, there are potential grounds for punitive damages if Philips was aware the devices were defective and did nothing to fix them quickly. Customers have reportedly been complaining to Philips for years about the sound abatement foam degrading.
Furthermore, Philips allegedly coordinated the June 14, 2021 recall to overlap with the launch of safer CPAP products. This timing suggests that Philips intended to profit from recalling the defective devices – another potential ground for punitive damages.2
3. What are the legal bases for the lawsuits?
The two primary causes of actions in the Philips CPAP litigation are that:
- The recalled CPAPs, BiPAPs and ventilators were defectively designed; and
- Philips failed to warn physicians and patients about how the defective design could then cause cancer and organ problems.
4. Which sleep apnea devices have been recalled?
The subject of the Philips lawsuits are the following sleep apnea devices, which were voluntarily recalled on June 14, 2021:3
|Type of Philips device (made from 2009 to April 29, 2021) ||Recalled models (all serial numbers)|
|Continuous Ventilator, Minimum Ventilatory Support, Facility Use|
|Continuous Ventilator, Non-life Supporting|| |
|Noncontinuous Ventilator|| |
|Continuous Ventilator|| |
|Continuous Ventilator, Minimum Ventilatory Support, Facility Use|| |
|Continuous Ventilator, Non-life Supporting|| |
5. What triggered the Philips recall?
The PE-PUR sound abatement foam in Philips’ recalled CPAPs, BiPAPs and ventilators was degrading. Meanwhile, patients were ingesting these degraded particles and inhaling any dangerous chemicals the foam off-gassed. PE-PUR foam can potentially lead to respiratory problems, organ damage, and even cancer.4
- In re: Philips Recalled CPAP, Bi-Level PAP, and Ventilator Litigation, Motion for Transfer and Coordination or Consolidation under 28 USC 1407, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, MDL 3014. (Filed July 7, 2021).
- Philips issues recall notification* to mitigate potential health risks related to the sound abatement foam component in certain sleep and respiratory care devices, Philips News Center (June 14, 2021). Philips Respironics Recalls Certain Continuous and Non-Continuous Ventilators, including CPAP and BiPAP, Due to Risk of Exposure to Debris and Chemical, FDA (“[class 1 is] the most serious type of recall. Use of these devices may cause serious injuries or death.”).
- Joshua Brockman, Breathing Machine Recall Over Possible Cancer Risk Leaves Millions Scrambling for Substitutes, New York Times(August 17, 2021). Katie Gibson, Philips recalls ventilators and sleep apnea CPAP machines over cancer concerns, CBSNews(June 15, 2021).