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Monday, August 19, 2019

Texas attorney given more time to respond to legal malpractice complaint involving dismissed Yaz suit


By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Jul 29, 2019

A Texas attorney was given more time to respond to a former client’s lawsuit claiming her Yaz lawsuit was dismissed in federal court due to the defendant’s alleged negligence.

Defendants Tommy R. Hastings and The Hastings Law Firm PC filed a motion to vacate technical defaults and extend time to respond on July 16 through attorney David Sorensen of the Law Offices of Edward J. Kozel in Chicago.

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Heinz Rudolf granted the motion on July 18. All technical defaults were vacated, and the defendants were given until Aug. 19 to respond.

Annie Fleischer, of Randall County, Texas, filed her complaint March 7 against Hastings and his law firm.

The suit states Fleischer was given a prescription for Yasmin, ocelli and Gianci (collectively Yaz) by her physician. The plaintiff claims she was unaware that there were defective qualities to the medication, causing her to suffer from deep vein thrombosis.

Fleischer had filed a lawsuit through Hastings against manufacturer Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Inc.. She alleged the company engaged in unfair and deceptive marketing by purposefully misrepresenting, concealing, and omitting the fact that the consumption of Yaz would increase a patient’s risk of thrombosis, heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular complications. She alleged Bayer purposefully hid this fact from consumers.

Fleischer’s suit was one of thousands consolidated for pretrial proceedings as part of the Yaz multidistrict litigation in the Southern District of Illinois. Hastings continued representing the plaintiff after the case had been consolidated in the MDL.

The MDL court appointed Roger Denton as liaison counsel and Michael S. Burg, Michael London and Mark N. Niemeyer as interim lead counsel on Nov. 10, 2009. Despite the appointment of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee to perform certain functions related to the MDL, Hastings retained core responsibilities relevant to Fleischer’s case, including the task of responding to discovery directed toward the plaintiff and responding to dispositive motions, the suit states.

On Dec. 12, 2015, Bayer moved to dismiss with prejudice several cases, including Fleischer’s case, after Hastings allegedly failed to conduct discovery during the time allotted.

The plaintiff was given 14 days to file an opposition to Bayer’s motion. However, she alleges Hastings failed to file any response.

As a result, former district judge David Herndon dismissed the case with prejudice on Jan. 11, 2016.

“Had defendants responded to Bayer’s motion to dismiss thereby preserving plaintiff’s claim, a settlement between Bayer and plaintiff would have been probable, as Bayer had previously settled thousands of claims similar to plaintiff’s.

“As a result of the defendants’ negligence in failing to respond to the motion to dismiss, plaintiff’s claim was dismissed and she lost all right to recovery form Bayer for her injuries,” the suit states.

Fleischer had previously filed the complaint against Hastings on Jan. 9, 2018. She filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss the complaint with leave to re-file on March 2, 2018.

Retired Circuit Judge Vincent Lopinot granted dismissal on March 21, 2018.

Fleischer seeks damages determined by the court or jury, restitution, all other forms of equitable monetary relief, prejudgment interest, costs of suit and all other fit relief. She is represented by attorney Robert J. Pavich of Pavich Law Group P.C. in Chicago.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 19-L-195

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