3382 Case Study: Drug Recall (Death) | Harry S. Cohen & Associates

Drug Recall (Death)

Filed under Wrongful Death, Other Cases

The Clamore Case

In this case, we represented the Estate of Richard Clamore against a Pharmaceutical Company and Pharmacy based on the manufacturing and dispensing of defective medication that caused Mr. Clamore’s death.

Mr. Clamore was a proud Navy veteran who served on an attack submarine in WWII Following his military service, he worked as an iron worker for approximately 40 years. He also served as a school board member and was active in the Lion’s Club. He was described as “the rock” of the Clamore family. His funeral included military honors and participation by the U.S. Submarine Veterans. Mr. Clamore had two children and three grandchildren.

After not feeling well, Mr. Clamore was admitted to a hospital for treatment. Tragically however, shortly after his admission, he died. The cause of death listed on his Death Certificate was “cardiac arrest”.

One month following his death, a Pharmaceutical Company, through the FDA, issued a drug recall of a medication called Digoxin (commonly marketed under the trade names Lanoxin, Digitek, and Lanoxicaps). Digoxin is used in the treatment of congestive heart failure and other heart problems. Anyhow, due to an error in the manufacturing processes at the Pharmaceutical Company, the Company discovered that it made certain batches of Digoxin at a weight variance outside of the accepted range (some pills were too high and some were too low). This meant that the people whose Digoxin came from those batches were either taking the medication at a much higher or lower dosage then they should have been.

As it turned out, Mr. Clamore, who had been taking Digoxin to help control his heart functioning, was identified as someone whose medication came from those batches.

After requesting Mr. Clamore’s records from his hospital admission, we discovered that Mr. Clamore displayed signs of renal failure (a sign of digoxin toxicity), change in mental status (a sign of digoxin toxicity), hypernatremia/volume depletion (signs of digoxin toxicity), and malnutrition (also a sign of digoxin toxicity). After requesting records from his PCP and cardiologist, we also discovered that his renal function began to deteriorate considerably in the middle of the recall period and after he had been taking the defective medication for many months (elderly patients with deteriorating renal function require lower doses of Digoxin). We also found out that in some cases, taking Digoxin pills outside of the acceptable range was leading patients to suffer heart attacks/cardiac arrest – the exact cause of death listed for Mr. Clamore.

As a result, we filed suit against the Pharmaceutical Company that manufactured the medication and the local Pharmacy that was dispensing the defective medication. The lawsuit was filed in State Court (i.e. the County in which Mr. Clamore resided). The Pharmaceutical Company, which was located in Michigan, removed the case to Federal Court based on an argument that the Pharmacy was fraudulently joined as a Defendant merely to defeat complete diversity so that we could file in State Court. In response however, we filed a Motion to Remand in Federal Court asking the Federal Court to remand the case back to the county in which Mr. Clamore lived. The Federal Court agreed with our analysis and remanded the case back to State Court.

The case ultimately settled for a substantial amount.

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