Beware of Green Dot Debit Card Scam Targeting Yaz Settlement Recipients

Some women who have suffered real injuries as a result of using Yaz, Yasmin, Gianvi and Ocella birth control are being injured again as con men who claim to be from a settlement center are inducing women to send money so they can receive their settlement funds back.

According to Attorney Jason T. Brown, of The JTB Law Group, LLC in Jersey City, NJ, if you ever have to send money to receive money it is a scam. No attorney or law firm or anyone associated with the Yaz Lawsuit and Yasmin Litigation will ever ask anyone to send in money before receiving settlement funds. If someone is approached by anyone in any context asking to send in money, take down all their information, but do not give out any information about yourself over the phone.

$1.4 billion settlements

In 2013, Bayer paid out $1.4 billion in Yaz lawsuit settlements. Attorney Brown, a former FBI Special Agent said, “If you have a lawyer, contact them about your case. If someone asks you to send money before you can receive money it is probably a scam. Contact law enforcement to issue a police report. The sooner the bad people are caught the better for everyone.”

Reloadable debit cards- especially the top-selling, legitimate Green Dot cards — and the new money moving method of choice for scammers.

According to a recent report from Fox News Investigative Reporter Beau Berman in Hartford, CT, once money is sent to these people, they will keep trying to call to get more money.

Some of the defining characteristics of the alleged scam seem to be targeting women who have allegedly been injured by Yaz, Yasmin or Ocella and possibly gaining information from the public filings in court.

The only injuries that lawyers are currently pursuing are embolic events such as:

  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack and
  • Death from Yaz and other fourth generation hormones.

Injuries outside of this range are unlikely to qualify for any settlement. Settlements for women who have allegedly endured a Yaz DVT, Yaz PE, Yaz Death, Yasmin DVT, Yasmin PE, Yasmin Death and Ocella DVT, Ocella PE, or Yaz Death have exceeded over $1 billion according to Page 64 of Bayer’s Quarterly Report.

Popular with Millennials

The debit cards are popular with Millennials, according to Thea Garon of the Center for Financial Services Information manager, especially among millennials. She goes on to suggest that millennials and other generational members will see the lines blur between traditional checking accounts and prepaid debit cards.

The alleged scammers then say they have $7,500 Yaz settlement money in exchange for money sent through a green dot money pack card.

No attorney should make a client engage in such actions to receive settlement funds. All attorneys will go over the settlement process and will pay funds in injury matters if successful.

Consumer rights attorney Jason T. Brown stated, “In almost any and every context if someone owes you money, you shouldn’t have to send money to receive money. If you haven’t obtained counsel for your Yasmin lawsuit injuries, you should vet your counsel by going to sites like AVVO and Martindale-Hubbell which have client and peer reviews and issue a ranking based on a matrix of factors.”

It’s a shame that crime permeates through every walk of life, but it’s particularly troubling that criminals prey on women who have already been allegedly victimized by bad birth control side effects. Attorney Brown suggested, “Once again, if you already have a Yaz lawyer, speak with your attorney if you are approached by anyone you don’t know about your case. If you don’t have a Yasmin lawyer, speak with a Yaz lawyer who can educate you on your rights as well as guide you if approached by these scam artists.”

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Considerations for Plaintiff Attorneys when Starting a Successful Mass Tort Practice

John Ray
John Ray

Mass Tort Litigation has emerged as the only effective check on pharmaceutical and medical device companies that make dangerous products injuring thousands of Americans. Mass tort attorneys have filed 140,000 lawsuits in 250 federal multidistrict litigation dockets as of September 2016.

Many attorneys are expanding their personal injury practices to include mass torts because the US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has organized the litigation so effectively against the multi-billion-dollar drug and medical device industry.

“The FDA is not a check or a balance on the pharmaceutical industry,” said Mass Tort Nexus Consultant John Ray, recently teaching a four-day course about mass torts in Fort Lauderdale, FL. “Plaintiff attorneys are the only check on the pharmaceutical industry.”

In recent years mass tort lawyers have recovered $10 billion in settlements for injured Americans: $4.8 billion for Vioxx, $1.8 billion for Yaz, $1.3 billion for the Stryker hip and $2.5 billion for the DePuy hip.

“The drug companies bake these cases into their business model,” Ray said. “Defendants call it a win when they don’t put a warning on their labels, don’t get sued and don’t have to pay a judgment at all. This means they got away with it. That happens a lot.”

When a federal MDL is created, the supervising judge will approve a standard short-form or long-form complaint, plus a plaintiffs’ fact sheet which replaces interrogatories. The consolidation of cases means that a mass tort lawyer can file a notice of appearance and file cases regardless of the jurisdiction of the plaintiff, defendant company or the location of the plaintiff’s attorney.

Criteria for a viable case

Cases that are attracting many mass tort attorneys now involve Xarelto, IVC filters and Pradaxa. Among the many factors determining the viability of a mass tort are:

  • Preemption. Congress has expressly preempted certain claims. Further, courts have ruled that generic manufacturers cannot be sued.
  • Statute of limitations: State laws govern when the statute of limitations starts to run, but in most federal litigation, the date that the FDA issues a “black box warning” for a drug marks the date when the time limit begins to run.
  • Legal viability. In many cases, research will show a connection between a drug and injuries among patients, but specific causation must be proved in a trial. Experts must be found who will survive a Daubert motion to disqualify.
  • Financial viability of the defendant. While Johnson & Johnson had $46.8 billion in annual income in 2015, some small makers of IVC filters went out of business before they could sell one.
  • Average case value. The average Pradaxa case settled for $160,000 in 2014, with some settlements valued up to $500,000, according to a grid created by US District Judge David R. Herndon.
  • Plaintiff numerosity. Cases in the Syngenta Corn Market Crash Litigation involve every corn producer in America, and IVC Filters have been implanted in millions of patients over the last 40 years.
  • Cost per client acquired. Costs can add up with Facebook advertising, website marketing, and lead generation companies. For example, The Sentinal Group will advertise for clients for a fee of $100,000 to obtain 250 calls for Xarelto plaintiffs, with 1 out of 5 calls leading to a signed client.
  • Case duration. Mass torts are litigation for the long haul, with the average case lasting 5 years and 4 months before settlement, according to Ray, with 7 years being a good benchmark for the duration of a case.
  • Case value. An example of a good outcome is with Pradaxa. The average settlement is $162,000. Calculating 40% in gross contingent fees would equal $64,800. Another 7% is deducted ($4,536) for the common benefit to pay the steering committee. Of the remaining fee of $60,204, a 40% referral fee of $24,015 is deducted for the co-counsel that handled the litigation. This leaves a net fee of $36,189 for the attorney who originated the case.
  • Financial resources. Costs to fund a case can be in the tens of thousands of dollars, with costs reaching hundreds of thousands for members of the plaintiffs steering committee.
  • Personnel resources. A law firm will have to train a small army of intake specialists to answer incoming calls when advertising is running. Additional personnel will be needed to obtain and review medical records.

Perfect timing

There are three phases of mass tort litigation, and perfect timing will be needed to enter a particular case.

Emerging Phase Cases. In this early phase, the cost to acquire a client is the least expensive, but there many issues of case viability. For example, the courts are still considering motions to consolidate cases involving Abilify and Roundup. With Abilify the FDA has issued a safety warning but not a black box warning. With Roundup the EPA has not classified the herbicide as a carcinogen, but foreign governments have.

Litigation Phase Cases. It is considered an ideal time to enter into a mass tort when the JPML has created a multi-litigation docket (MDL). Some 250 MDLs include mature litigation involving Benicar, Lipitor, Viagra, Xarelto and Zofran, and many legal issues have been settled. The supervising judge will schedule bellwether or test cases for trial.

Settlement Phase Cases. This is the very safest time to enter litigation because all an attorney must do is find qualified plaintiffs. Example cases involve transvaginal mesh, Levaquin and Pradaxa. However at this late phase the cost to acquire a client is at its highest.

“Whatever you do, maintain your single-event plaintiff’s practice,” Ray advised. “You will have to keep paying the costs of a mass tort case until it settles, and you will need a huge cash supply or credit line.”

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