A Glastonbury, Connecticut native, Madeline is a graduate of the University of Rochester (NY). Her major was in public health with a minor in ethics. She was a varsity basketball player for four years, making three NCAA tournament appearances and one Division 3 Final Four. She returned to Connecticut to attend the University of Connecticut School of Law in Hartford, graduating with her J.D. in 2016.
Madeline has always had an interest in health law. While in law school, she interned for private, state and federal agencies in the public health field. As an undergraduate, she had an internship in London at a residential psychiatric school and was a research assistant for a study on parenting. Before going to law school, she was a research assistant for an obesity prevention program at Harvard Pilgrim and the patient assistant at a chiropractic office.
Madeline comes to us from a position with the Center for Medicare Advocacy in Mansfield, CT, where she represented clients in Medicare proceedings. She also engaged in outreach and advocacy for people who might be Medicare eligible.
We are delighted to welcome Madeline Korber to Thornton Law Firm as part of our growing team dedicated to meeting our clients’ needs. Please give us a call at 888-491-9726 if we can assist you with your legal problem.
Lawyer Monthly Legal Awards 2017 recognizes the achievements of law firms, lawyers, barristers and those connected to the legal world who have a proven track record in delivering results for their clients over the past twelve months. The awards are divided into individual and firm categories. Each category has been selected to represent the diversity of skills and knowledge that the profession has to offer clients across the globe.
David C. Strouss
David Strouss heads Thornton Law Firm’s birth defect litigation group. He has devoted the majority of his legal career to representing families of children born with catastrophic birth defects from toxic exposures. The parents of the children he represents were exposed to glycol ethers in semiconductor “clean rooms”, pesticides in agriculture, and a variety of chemicals used in manufacturing.
Mr. Strouss prosecuted and successfully resolved some of the country’s first cases involving birth defects caused by glycol ethers and other solvents in the semiconductor industry. His work as resulted in real change in the semiconductor industry, limiting worker exposures to reproductively toxic chemicals.
Since 2014 Mr. Strouss has obtained settlements in excess of $100 million in cases involving pregnant women in the workplace or the environment who were exposed to ethylene glycol ethers, coal ash and other hazardous substances and had children born with catastrophic birth defects. He currently represents over 150 plaintiffs with birth defects in the United States and South America due to parental occupational and environment exposures.
Mr. Strouss has also litigated cases involving cancer arising from exposure to benzene, solvents and other hazardous chemicals, environmental property damage cases and pharmaceutical drug and medical device cases including Fen-Phen and Vioxx.
Mr. Strouss has been a member of the Massachusetts Bar since 1985. Mr. Strouss is an honors graduate of Brown University and a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law. He is a member of the Massachusetts and Boston Bar Associations, the American Association for Justice, and the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Lawyers. Mr. Strouss was a Special Assistant Attorney General representing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 1995 through 1999 in the tobacco litigation, which resulted in a recovery of $8 billion dollars for the Commonwealth.
Thornton Law Firm LLP Profile
Thornton Law Firm was founded in 1978 by Michael Thornton doing groundbreaking work for victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Now the leading injury law firm in Massachusetts and the largest plaintiff law firm in New England, the firm has 20 attorneys representing thousands of clients in a wide variety of plaintiff-side work. The firm has represented asbestos victims in New England for nearly 40 years and this commitment led Thornton Law Firm to aid in the creation of the Thornton House, which provides housing for mesothelioma and asbestos disease patients and families.
At Thornton Law Firm we believe that the law is, and should be, a powerful check on the pursuit of profit at the expense of individual citizens. We have long been at the cutting edge of litigation that has changed corporate behavior, or achieved compensation for its victims. For four decades, we have fought the asbestos industry, the lead paint industry, the tobacco industry, manufacturers of dangerous chemicals, pesticide makers, big Pharma, big banks, and insurance giants because we are driven by a shared vision of what is right and hold ourselves and others to the highest standards.
Our team works to bring justice to those who have suffered because of another’s negligence or wrongdoing. Our clients include victims of crippling respiratory diseases , mesothelioma and other cancers, brain-damaged children, children with birth defects, users of new drugs with undisclosed side effects, pension funds, small businesses, and health plans.
For nearly 40 years, Thornton Law Firm has committed its talent, its time, and its financial resources to take on the largest, richest, and most aggressive corporations in the country when those corporations step outside the bounds of responsibility. We seek and work with like-minded lawyers around the nation to successfully protect our clients, and are proud of the landmark work we have done. Our partners and associates come to work each day wanting to do well, and seeking to do good.
Thornton Law Firm has strengthened its nationally-known toxic exposure and birth defects practice with the addition of trial lawyer David Bricker, who joins the firm as of counsel. He was previously a partner with the Los Angeles office of Waters & Kraus, where he chaired their Birth Injury practice.
The Firm is also pleased to announce the establishment of their new office, located at 9430 West Olympic Boulevard, Suite 400, Beverly Hills, California; telephone number (310) 282-8676; facsimile (310) 388-5316. Mr. Bricker will manage Thornton Law Firm’s new California office.
“David Bricker is an accomplished attorney who will complement and expand our birth defects practice in California and across the country,” said Michael Thornton, founder and chair of Thornton Law Firm. “A skilled litigator, he also has the ability and the relationships to grow the firm’s business. We’re happy to have David Bricker on board.”
Mr. Bricker brings with him more than 25 years of litigation experience, having successfully tried complex cases in both state and federal court. Mr. Bricker’s fields of expertise include toxic exposure and birth injury litigation, asbestos exposure litigation, products liability litigation, professional negligence litigation, railroad liability, elder and dependent adult abuse, general business litigation and bankruptcy litigation.
“I have always been impressed with David’s dedication to his clients and his reputation in the legal community,” said David Strouss, head of Thornton Law Firm’s toxic exposure and birth defects practice. “We have tried cases together as co-counsel and I look forward to working hand in hand with him as we represent our clients, children and families who have suffered life-altering birth defects through no fault of their own, in seeking justice and compensation for those injuries.”
“David has been working with us on some of our asbestos mesothelioma cases over the last few years, and I look forward to having him as a permanent member of our team,” said Andrew Wainwright, who manages the firm’s asbestos trial practice.
“David’s vast trial and litigation experience fortifies our ability to give our clients the highest level of representation in these complex and technical birth defect cases.” commented Garrett Bradley, Managing Partner of Thornton Law Firm. “The combination of David Bricker and David Strouss, who has litigated and tried birth defect cases for more than 30 years, is a real coup and solidifies our reputation as a national leader in this field.”
Mr. Bricker is admitted to practice law in the states of California, Illinois and Massachusetts. In addition, he is admitted to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States District Courts for the Northern District of California, the Southern District of California, the Eastern District of California, the Central District of California, the Northern District of Illinois, and the District of Massachusetts. He holds a J.D. from Tulane University School of Law in New Orleans, Louisiana, and a B.A. in Political Science from Pitzer College in Claremont, California.
Thornton Law Firm was founded in 1978 by Michael Thornton doing groundbreaking work for victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Now the leading injury law firm in Massachusetts and the largest plaintiff law firm in New England, the firm has 20 attorneys representing thousands of clients in a wide variety of plaintiff-side work. For four decades, Thornton Law Firm has fought the asbestos industry, the lead paint industry, the tobacco industry, manufacturers of dangerous chemicals, pesticide makers, big Pharma, big banks, and insurance giants. Thornton Law Firm was one of the first firms in the county to represent families of children born with birth defects caused by chemical exposures in the workplace, and has been instrumental in securing multimillion dollar recoveries for families with children who suffered serious birth defects from their parents’ exposure to chemicals and agricultural pesticides.
They say that those that forget the past are doomed to repeat it. More than 50 years ago, thousands of babies born to women that were prescribed Thalidomide for morning sickness developed severe birth defects. The severity of the babies’ injuries was so great that many did not survive to term. But did you know that similarly prescribed drugs – prescriptions that are being written as you read this – are still given to pregnant women today? More than 50 years after the horrors of Thalidomide doctors are still prescribing Zofran (generic name: ondansetron) even though studies have shown that Zofran use is associated with the following serious birth defects and major congenital malformations:
Serious Birth Defects
Heart (cardiac) defects
Musculoskeletal abnormalities (like club foot)
Mouth deformities (like cleft palate and lip)
Craniosynostosis (abnormal shape of skull, may not have enough space for the brain, and cause eating, vision, and mental health issues)
Fetal growth restrictions
Off-label Prescribing of Zofran
Zofran is manufactured by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). In 2012 the U.S. government charged GSK with illegal marketing and to paying kickbacks to doctors to prescribe Zofran and other drugs for off-label uses. Zofran is only approved to treat nausea associated with chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. Yet doctors – with GSK’s encouragement – prescribe it to pregnant women for nausea. GSK paid a $3 billion dollar file and plead guilty to the charges it had paid doctors to promote drugs like Zofran for off-label use.
Morning Sickness Treatment
Morning sickness can be a serious illness. Up to 80% of women are thought to experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, and 10-15% of those women are receive drugs to prevent morning sickness. The most extreme version of morning sickness, the relentless vomiting called hyperemesis gravidarum, can put both mother and unborn child at risk from dehydration and significant weight loss.
Safer Alternatives to Zofran
The FDA has approved one drug, Diclegis, to safely treat morning sickness. A combination of the antihistamine doxylamine succinate and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), it is not associated with birth defects in the first trimester. GSK has never asked the FDA to approve Zofran for pregnancy-related nausea, and has never conducted any studies of its effectiveness or risks for pregnant women and their unborn children. The FDA has never approved Zofran for this purpose.
Study Finds Zofran Doubles Cardiac Malformation Risk
The largest study to date, of 900,000 Danish women, was published in 2013. It found that taking Zofran doubled a woman’s risk of bearing a child with a cardiac malformation birth defect, leading to a 30% increased risk of major congenital malformations – serious birth defects.
Experienced Birth Defect Lawyers
Since the 1980s, Thornton Law Firm lawyers have represented families of children injured by birth defects caused by pharmaceutical drugs such as Paxil, Prozac and other SSRIs, as well as birth defects caused by exposure to toxic substances including semiconductor chemicals, glycol ethers, pesticides, and solvents that are hazardous to reproduction.
Have You Taken Zofran?
One million pregnant women take Zofran for morning sickness each year. Most morning sickness occurs in the first trimester of pregnancy, when the fetus is the most vulnerable to developing birth defects. If you took Zofran and your child was born with a birth defect you may have the right to bring a lawsuit for damages. Call the experienced birth defect team at Thornton Law Firm at 888-341-1405 or tell us your story here to receive a free, confidential evaluation of your legal rights. Like all legal claims, birth defect claims are subject to strictly enforced legal time limits. Do not delay seeking legal advice.
The New York Times has published a two-part expose on the health and working conditions of nail salon workers that finds the workers are at risk for miscarriage or their children developing birth defects as a result of their exposure to chemicals at work. If you’ve ever been in a nail salon you’ve smelled the fumes of the polishes, polish removers, polish hardeners, acrylics and other products, and the clouds of white dust produced as manicurists do their work. The toxic cloud that often accompanies salon work can, in fact, often be smelled without even entering the store. Sadly, the workers in these establishments who are exposed to the chemicals in these products for hours every day are at great risk of a wide variety of health conditions. Perhaps the most frightening health consequence for the workers themselves is the harm caused to their reproductive systems. Documented stories of children born with birth defects and developmental delays, or children lost to miscarriages, are the consequence of unregulated exposure to toxic chemicals. Many common workplace chemicals can cause these horrific effects. A pioneer in the field and one of the first firms to represent birth defect victims nationwide, Thornton Law Firm has been representing families of children with birth defects caused by exposure to chemicals for decades. If you believe your exposure to chemicals while working in a nail salon caused your child’s birth defect, call us at 888-491-9726 for a free consultation.
The accounts of the nail salon workers health issues in the Times article are awful. One salon worker has had 5 miscarriages. Others have borne children with birth defects, developmental delays, and learning difficulties. One woman’s fingerprints had been almost erased by years of chemical exposure. The Times summarizes the plight of the nail workers they investigated: “[S]tories of illness and tragedy abound at nail salons across the country, of children born slow or “special,” of miscarriages and cancers, of coughs that will not go away and painful skin afflictions.”
Three very dangerous chemicals are ingredients in most nail polish products: toluene, dibutyl phthalate (or DBP) and formaldehyde. They cause a wide variety of health problems. Toluene, an industrial solvent, has been associated with common birth defects including microcephaly, central nervous system dysfunction, and craniofacial and limb anomalies. DBP, a phthalate esther, is believed to cause reproductive toxicity at high exposures for long periods of time – exactly the conditions in which nail salon workers are exposed to DBP. It has been banned by the European Union since 2003. Formaldehyde can cause skin irritation and rashes and is suspected of causing reproductive toxicity. It will be completely banned by the European Union by 2016.
All these chemical exposures have myriad health effects on nail salon workers. In the short term they may suffer respiratory and skin ailments, from coughs and rashes to painful skin afflictions. But it is the more serious medical issues that cause gravest concern. Some of the chemicals are carcinogens – they are known to cause cancer in humans. Others like Toluene, DBP, and formaldehyde, may contribute to low birth-weight babies, abnormal fetal development, birth defects, and miscarriages. Studies have found that cosmetologists have increased rates of death from Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Working in a nail salon may be one of the most dangerous jobs in America.
Thornton Law Firm’s birth defect lawyers specialize in helping families whose children have suffered birth defects recover the compensation they deserve. We understand the pain that families face when coping with permanent, life-altering birth defects and the frustration of knowing they did not have to happen. The emotional, financial, and physical strain of birth defects impacts everyone in that family for their whole life. If you believe your exposure to chemicals while working in a nail salon caused your child’s birth defect, please call our birth defect attorneys at 888-491-9726 or tell us your story here via our website. All consultations are free and completely confidential.
The anti-nausea medication Zofran, marketed off-label to pregnant women to prevent morning sickness, has been found in recent studies to be associated with an increased risk of birth defects. A study by Dr. Gideon Koren of the The Motherisk Program of Toronto, Canada found that women prescribed ondansetron (the generic name for Zofran) suffered a two-fold increased risk of cardiac malformations, leading to a 30% increased risk of major cardiac (heart) defects. The study, published in the December 2014 issue of American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, was a retrospective analysis of 900,000 Danish women. Thornton Law Firm, a leader in birth litigation for three decades, is pursuing claims on behalf of families whose children were born with severe cardiac birth defects.
Zofran is approved for the treatment of nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, and to alleviate nausea in patients following surgery. It is not approved to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnant women. In fact, Zofran’s manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), paid a $3 billion dollar fine in 2012 to settle charges by the U.S. Justice Department that it had illegally promoted Zofran to prevent nausea in pregnant women. Since 1991 GSK has paid $7.56 billion in civil and criminal penalties involving illegal marketing, fraud, failure to report safety data, and other illegal practices, according to the watchdog group Public Citizen.
Two lawsuits have recently been filed on behalf of children born with serious cardiac birth defects after their mothers took Zofran to treat morning sickness. The lawsuits allege that “GSK conducted animal studies which revealed evidence of toxicity, intrauterine deaths and malformations in offspring, and further showed that Zofran’s active ingredient transferred through the placental barrier of pregnant mammals to fetuses.” They further allege that GSK has received more than 200 reports of birth defects associated with Zofran, yet never disclosed those reports to pregnant women or to their physicians.
If you took Zofran while pregnant and your child was born with a birth defect, you may have a legal claim against GlaxoSmithKline. Thornton Law Firm’s birth defect lawyers specialize in helping families whose children have suffered birth defects recover the compensation they deserve. If you believe your ingestion of Zofran while pregnant caused your child’s birth defect, please call our Zofran birth defect attorneys at 888-341-1405 or tell us your story via our website here. All consultations are free and completely confidential.
his week we observed the first annual World Birth Defects Day. A group of 12 leading global health organizations created this day to raise awareness about birth defects, and to highlight how many birth defects can be prevented. The most common causes of preventable birth defects are alcohol use and folic acid deficiency. (The USA began fortifying flour with folic acid in 1998, and neural tube birth defects have fallen 35% since then.) Rubella vaccinations for girls and women likely to become pregnant would also prevent many birth defects.
Environmental exposures are also a preventable cause of birth defects. Thornton Law firm represents over 100 families whose children were born with birth defects after preventable environmental exposure to toxins. Some were exposed to unsafe prescription or over-the-counter drugs; some to chemicals in the workplace; others to toxins in the air or the groundwater of their community. We represent the children of semiconductor workers, agricultural workers, workers making furniture, plastics, textiles, personal care products, and microelectronics, and those whose parents lived in close proximity to industrial processes that released toxic chemicals.
Some telling statistics on birth defects:
8 million babies are born with birth defects each year. That is 6% of all births.
1 in 33 babies are born with a birth defect.
Birth defects are the leading cause of death in the first year of life.
A baby with a birth defect is born every 4.5 minutes.
We understand the pain that families face when coping with permanent, life-altering birth injuries and the frustration of knowing they did not have to happen. The emotional, financial, and physical strain of birth defects impacts everyone in that family for their whole life. If you believe your child was born with a birth defect caused by exposure to a toxic chemical, the birth defect attorneys at Thornton Law Firm offer free, completely confidential consultations. You can call our toll free number 888-491-9726 or tell us your story via email. All legal claims have short time limits so do not delay seeking legal advice if you believe you have a claim.
Thornton Law Firm and co-counsel recently settled a lawsuit on behalf of a child with serious birth defects whose mother was exposed to toxic substances during pregnancy while working in the semiconductor chip manufacturing industry. The settlement was reached just before trial was scheduled to begin in California state court.
The plaintiffs brought the action in 2010, alleging that the mother’s exposures to chemicals at work caused her son’s profound injuries, which will require around the clock care for the rest of his life. The boy’s injuries include a chromosomal translocation (an exchange of genetic material between chromosomes) which caused severe and intractable developmental delays. He also suffers from heterotopias, a congenital brain malformation which causes severe seizures. The mother worked as a clean room supervisor at the Defendant’s manufacturing facility in Silicon Valley, California. The mother’s work at the Silicon Valley plant resulted in exposure during her pregnancy to photoresists (light-sensitive materials) containing ethylene glycol ethers, isopropanol, acetone, fluorides and other toxic substances used in the manufacture of semiconductor chips. Silicon Valley has been a center of semiconductor chip manufacturing in the United States for several decades.
The plaintiffs’ chief medical causation expert witness was prepared to offer opinions at trial that the mom’s occupational exposures during the pregnancy caused her son’s birth defects. Plaintiffs’ industrial hygiene expert had also assessed the mother’s work exposure to the toxic chemicals.
Thornton Law Firm partner David C. Strouss was the lead attorney handling this case. The firm, and co-counsel, also currently have a significant number of similar cases pending in California, Delaware, Illinois, and other jurisdictions. These cases are also on behalf of children born with birth defects whose parents were exposed to toxic substances while working in the semiconductor manufacturing industry.
If your child has suffered a birth defect that you believe may be the result of your exposure to toxins in your workplace, please contact experienced Boston birth defect attorney David Strouss at Thornton Law Firm for a free consultation by calling 888-341-1405 or tell us your story here. Many workplace chemicals, such as glycol ethers and other solvents, have been linked to serious birth defects. The team at Thornton Law Firm has significant experience in assessing all workplace exposures related to birth defects.The consultation is free and confidential. All legal claims have short time limits; do not delay seeking legal advice.
Released in Germany in 1957 as an all-purpose sedative, but later widely used as a preventative treatment for “morning sickness,” Thalidomide caused an estimated 10,000 – 20,000 severe birth defects worldwide. The injuries associated with a mother’s ingesting Thalidomide while pregnant included birth without limbs, shortened limbs, deformed hearts and eyes, and blindness and deafness. It is estimated that 39-50% of babies born with Thalidomide-related birth defects died within a few months of birth. Thalidomide’s use increased after the drug became available over-the-counter in 1960. Before its use was banned, however, Thalidomide had been linked to birth defects in more than 39 countries.
The pharmaceutical company Richardson-Merrell (now Marion Merrell Dow) sought approval for sale of Thalidomide in the United States in June 1960. Because of a loophole in the approval process, however, Richardson-Merrell was able to distribute millions of doses of Thalidomide to more than a thousand doctors in the United States while the drug was being investigated. About 20,000 patients in the United States took Thalidomide as a result. Despite efforts to win quick approval from the Food and Drug Administration, Richardson-Merrell ran into an immovable force in the person of Frances Oldham Kelsey. Dr. Kelsey, who had only recently joined the FDA as a reviewing pharmacologist, resisted the requests for approval to market the drug and instead asked for more controlled studies related to Thalidomide’s risks. When studies showed that the drug’s use had lead to more than 10,000 severe birth defects worldwide, Richardson-Merrell pulled their application for approval. In 1962, Thalidomide was banned worldwide. Compared to other countries, only a relative handful of children in the United States were born with Thalidomide-related injuries. For her efforts, Frances Oldham Kelsey received the President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service from President John F. Kennedy in 1962 and continued her work at the FDA.
As a result of the Thalidomide tragedy, many new regulatory reforms were enacted in order to better protect American consumers. Congress passed new rules related to testing and licensing of drugs.
Unfortunately, the potential for birth defects resulting from a mother’s use of pharmaceutical drugs is still present today. A new, peer-reviewed study has found that children born to mothers who took common prescription painkillers, like Vicodin, Oxycontin, or Percocet, at or near the time of conception were more than twice as likely to be born with neural tube defects such as spina bifida. The scientists found a strong association between mothers who took these prescription opioid painkillers and a significantly increased risk of having a child with one of these serious neural tube birth defects.
If you took an opioid painkiller around the time of conception and your child was born with a neural tube birth defect, please contact attorneys David Strouss or Marilyn McGoldrick at 888-341-1405 to discuss your legal rights with our experienced team of birth defect lawyers.
Earlier this month, the FDA announced that it will require all extended-release and long-acting opioid analgesics intended to treat pain such as Percocet, Vicodin, Oxycontin, and others to have a new warning label. Among other changes, the label must now warn that “chronic maternal use of these products during pregnancy can result in neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS).” NOWS can be life-threatening and symptoms may include your newborn experiencing poor feeding, rapid breathing, trembling, and excessive or high-pitched crying.
The risks associated with fetal exposure to opioids gained greater attention with the publication of “Periconceptional use of opioids and the risk of neural tube defects” in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology. This study found that women who took opioids around the time of conception were more than twice as likely to have a child born with a neural tube defect, such as spina bifida, as compared to women who did not take opioids around the time of conception.
If you took an opioid painkiller around the time of conception and your child was born with a neural tube birth defect, please contact attorneys David Strouss or Marilyn McGoldrick at 888-341-1405 to discuss your legal rights with our experienced team of birth defect lawyers.
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