The local law firm that has been at the forefront of testosterone
replacement therapy injury claims in Philadelphia has filed another complaint against the makers of the “Low T” drug Testim, this one claiming a 45-year-old Virginia man died from a sudden heart attack as a result of using the product.
Ross Feller Casey last week filed its fourth such suit in two weeks, the latest complaint alleging that Stephen T. Hardwich died from a heart attack on March 9 in what the plaintiff’s attorneys says was an injury induced by the man’s use of the testosterone medication.
Hardwich, of Midlothian, Va., who began using Testim in mid-2013, had no prior history of cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease, the complaint says, but he ended up dying after suffering a sudden heart attack early last month, allegedly as a result of the testosterone-containing medication.
The medication either “directly and proximately caused, or increased the risk of harm,” to the plaintiff, the suit states.
The complaint contains counts of strict liability, negligence, breach of implied and express warranties, fraud and recklessness, negligent misrepresentation and wrongful death.
The defendants are Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline.
The attorneys representing Hardwich’s widow, Rosemary, maintain that the defendants’ defective, inadequate and unreasonably dangerous warnings and instructions for use, as well as product design and testing, have caused injuries and even death in those who have used testosterone gels such as Testim.
Three other suits previously filed by Ross Feller Casey at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court allege that a New Jersey man had a heart attack, an Alabama man suffered a stroke, and a Scranton, Pa. man sustained severe heart damage all as a result of taking testosterone replacement therapy.
Drugs similar to Testim include AndroGel, Axiron, AndroDerm and Fortesta.
Ross Feller Casey says it believes its suits are the first and only ones to have been brought in Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court and one of only a small handful of similar cases filed nationwide.
Just days after the Hardwich wrongful death claim, the law firm filed another testosterone suit, this one on behalf of a Grapevine, TX man who alleges he suffered a pulmonary embolism back in the fall of 2008 a mere half-year after he began using the testosterone gel Testim.
The plaintiff in that case, Garland T. Joseph, survived, but had to be treated with anticoagulant therapy to treat his injuries.
Joseph, who is 70 years old, has been an insulin-dependent diabetic for about two decades, but he had no prior history of myocardial infarction or stroke prior to suffering the embolism, the lawsuit states.
He does, however, have a history of hypertension.
Joseph “relied upon the claims and representations of the Defendant that Testim had been clinically demonstrated to be safe and effective when used to raise testosterone levels in the treatment of ‘Low T,’ and was approved for use for that purpose,” his complaint reads.
Joseph’s wife, Shirley A. Joseph, also has a loss of consortium count in the lawsuit.
Some attorneys specializing in products liability law contend that testosterone replacement therapy litigation might be the next big multi-district case or mass tort.
“We’re getting cases and have been talking to lawyers from other parts of the country,” Philadelphia lawyer Stephen Sheller, whose firm, Sheller P.C. specializes in products liability litigation, told the Legal Intelligencer in a recent article. “I predict it will be a mass tort. From what we see happening and the calls we’re getting, it looks like it’s a serious problem.”
In that same story, Stanley Thompson, director of the Complex Litigation Center at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, said if enough similar filings emerge, the creation of a testosterone replacement therapy mass tort could be considered.
The Hardwich case ID number is 140303953 and the Joseph case ID number is 140304352.