Senior United States District Court Judge Joy Flowers Conti has appointed Seeger Weiss LLP founder Christopher A. Seeger to serve as co-lead counsel in the Philips Recalled CPAP, Bi-Level PAP, and Mechanical Ventilator Products Liability Litigation, pending in the Western District of Pennsylvania. Seeger is one of four attorneys, selected from a pool of 75 applicants, to lead the litigation.
On June 14, 2021, Philips announced a recall of its CPAP, BiPAP, and mechanical ventilator devices related to the sound abatement PE-PUR Foam contained within the devices, which can degrade and/or off-gas particles and carcinogenic chemicals, which are in turn ingested or inhaled by the user. Philips stated that “these issues can result in serious injury which can be life-threatening, cause permanent impairment, and/or require medical intervention to preclude permanent impairment.” For years, patients had complained about the presence of black debris and particles within the airpath circuit of its devices, a persistent smell while using the devices, and other health conditions such as headaches, upper airway irritation, cough, chest pressure and sinus infection from users of these devices.
As part of the recall, Defendants stated that the potential risks of particulate and toxic exposure to users of these devices include irritation (respiratory tract, eye, and skin), inflammatory response, headache, asthma, adverse effects to other organs (e.g., kidneys and liver), and carcinogenic affects. The recall left millions of individuals without an immediate option for replacement of their breathing machines, and vulnerable to health conditions that would naturally arise without access to a safe and effective breathing device.
“I appreciate the great responsibility of this appointment and the trust Judge Conti is putting in our firm and the other members of leadership to provide effective counsel to those impacted by these defective devices,” said Seeger. “Millions of people relied on Philips to provide machines that would safely assist them in the most essential function of life – breathing – and instead were exposed to dangerous life-altering particles and chemicals. We plan to hold them accountable.”
One of the nation’s preeminent plaintiffs’ law firms, Seeger Weiss is best known for multidistrict mass torts and class actions in both state and federal court. From offices in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, the firm has represented over 10,000 individuals, companies, and governments across the U.S. who have been injured or defrauded on a massive scale. Since its founding in 1999, Seeger has led many of the most complex and high-profile cases in the country: the National Prescription Opiate Litigation, which the Washington Post called “the largest federal court case in U.S. history”; 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation, which the Minneapolis Star Tribune called “one of the largest mass torts ever”; the “Dieselgate” scandal; and the history-making National Football League Players’ Concussion Injury Litigation.