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CPAP Lawsuit Settlement Amounts

Thousands of CPAP machine lawsuits have been filed since medical device company Philips recalled millions of sleep apnea machines after discovering that they were causing users to inhale toxic foam particles.  Our CPAP lawyers are handling these lawsuits in all 50 states.

Thousands of CPAP Lawsuits

Thousands of additional CPAP recall lawsuits have been filed on registered against Philips in the class-action MDL lawsuit.

This post will examine how much these Philips CPAP machine lawsuits might eventually be worth by comparing them to settlements in prior mass tort cases involving defective medical devices.

CPAP Litigation Updates

April 2023: Philips’s parent company, Royal Philips NV, may reach a compensation agreement this year with some patients over the recall of its apnea products, according to an interview with CEO Roy Jakobs in the Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad. This would be for the CPA consumer class action lawsuits, not the injury and wrongful death claims. But Jakobs is hopeful for a settlement on the injury and wrongful death claims later this year or, more likely, next year, he said.  

The CPAP settlements for personal injury claims “is more complicated and is still at an earlier stage,” Jakobs said. “We probably won’t be able to clarify that until next year, but maybe by the end of this year.”

So there will not be an immediate CPAP settlement.  But it is hard not to be encouraged by these comments. 

In other CPAP lawsuit news, after recalling millions of CPAP and BiPAP devices in June 2021, Philips offered to repair the devices for customers at no cost by removing the toxic sound abatement foam. Over the last 2 years, over 1,000 recalled DreamStation CPAP devices were submitted to Philips for repair under this program. Philips eventually sent these devices back to their owners, claiming they were all fixed and safe for use. Earlier this week, however, the FDA announced that these 1,000 repaired DreamStation devices were being recalled again because Philips messed up the repairs. The repaired CPAP devices are being recalled because a mix-up during the repair process is causing many of them to malfunction and fail to provide proper breathing assistance.

March 2023: Over the last two months of 2022, 8,000 new adverse event reports related to the recalled CPAP or BiPAP devices were submitted to the FDA. This brings the total number of adverse CPAP event reports to 98,000. Furthermore, the number of reported deaths linked to the recall of CPAP devices increased by 30% during this 60-day period, which is a cause for continued concern. The CPAP lawsuits focus on product defects, but the botched recall could be a cause of action by itself.  It has been a disaster.  

February 2023: How fast will the CPAP class action lawsuit move?  That is a good question.  It depends on which side prevails.  At a monthly status conference in the Philips CPAP class action lawsuit this month, lawyers presented very different proposals for the time frame of this litigation. The plaintiffs’ proposal would have the first bellwether trial next summer.  The defendants?  Sometime in late 2025 or even 2026. Trial dates bring about settlement offers.  The plaintiffs want to push the judge to set an aggressive schedule which many MDL judges require in 2023. 

On February 14th, 2023, the FDA released updated data concerning adverse event reports associated with recalled Philips CPAP and BiPAP devices. The updated report revealed that the FDA has received 8,000 new reports of adverse health incidents relating to these recalled devices over the last three months. In total, there have now been 98,000 adverse event reports filed in relation to the CPAP machines, which is an alarming number. Moreover, the number of reported CPAP-related deaths has risen to 350, with 90 new fatalities reported since November.

August 2022: The Philips CPAP recall class action lawsuit continues progressing with the pace of pretrial discovery. One sign of progress is that we are getting closer to getting trial dates?  A “show and tell” science day has been scheduled for September 1st in the Philips CPAP Recall MDL.

Science days are a common feature in product liability MDLs. They give lawyers for both sides the opportunity to make elaborate presentations to educate the court on the complex medical and scientific issues involved in the litigation. The CPAP MDL judge gave the parties until August 18, 2022, to submit a proposal for organizing the science day.  

June 2022: Documents produced by Philips in response to the discovery in some of the early CPAP recall lawsuits make it very obvious that Philips was keenly aware of the problem with the sound foam in their devices for several years before they took any action to protect consumers. Discovery has yielded email correspondence from April 2018 between a product engineer for Philips Respironics and the company that supplied the PE-PUR sound abatement foam used in the CPAP machines.

In the email, the engineer from Philips complained that the foam was falling apart and causing CPAP users to inhale dust particles. The Philips engineer referred to numerous complaints about the issue from consumers and wanted to know what could be causing the problem. At the time, Philips understood that the foam contained potentially hazardous chemical components that could be harmful if inhaled. Despite being aware of the issue as early as April 2018, Philips did not initiate the CPAP recall until 3 years later, in June 2021 (after a new version of their Dreamstation CPAP device was ready to launch). 

April 2022:  The CPAP lawsuit is moving.   We just saw a great deal of activity from the MDL class action judge that sets the stage for the litigation.  The judge put out a bunch of orders in the Philips Recall CPAP MDL. These lawsuits have 262 pending suits in the class action – that number will balloon soon.  Judge Joy Flowers Conti has scheduled a recurring monthly status conference to keep her abreast of the advances in the litigation.  The judge also finalized her appointments to the Plaintiffs’ Class Action Steering Committee and issued a traditional common benefit fund to get the CPAP class action lawyers paid and financed. 

March 2022: There are 233 pending cases in the Philips CPAP class action lawsuit, with thousands more poised to be filed. Last month, the MDL judge appointed a 12-member plaintiffs’ steering committee and co-liaison counsel to lead the plaintiffs’ effort.

The other significant development this month is Philips is now recalling hundreds of hospital ventilator machines because they have a defective adhesive that may result in sudden failure of the device. Totally unrelated to CPAP but very related to the fact that Philips is not a company that can get anything when it comes to breathing machines.   It kills some of the “they couldn’t be that incompetent” defenses that lawyers sometimes manufacture in their own heads.

February 2022: there are now 221 pending cases in the Philips CPAP MDL, and the plaintiff’s steering committee membership will be announced sometime this week. Meanwhile, new CPAP injury lawsuits continue to get filed nationwide in larger volumes.

Other CPAP Posts:

What Is a CPAP Machine?

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines are commonly used devices for treating sleep apnea,  a sleeping disorder in which breathing is temporarily disturbed during sleep, which can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, daytime sleepiness, interrupted sleep, and snoring. Sleep apnea can lead to hypertension, heart attack, or stroke in severe cases.

CPAP therapy is a standard treatment for sleep apnea. It involves using a machine that delivers airflow through a mask over the nose or mouth to increase air pressure in the throat, preventing the airway from collapsing during inhalation.

Other therapies for sleep apnea include BiPAP therapy and Automatic Positive Airway Pressure (APAP). BiPAP machines provide two pressure settings, one for inhalation and one for exhalation. Patients who use CPAP or BiPAP machines typically use them daily when they sleep. Discontinuing therapy can cause symptoms to quickly return.

Phillips makes both CPAP and BiPAP machines.

Problems with CPAPs

In recent years, CPAP machine users have raised concerns over health problems caused by mold, bacteria, and other harmful substances present in the machines. The accumulation of these substances has been linked to respiratory infections, sinusitis, and other health problems. As a result, several lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers claiming that they failed to warn consumers of the potential health risks associated with using CPAP machines.

One of the most prominent CPAP machine manufacturers that have faced numerous lawsuits is Philips Respironics. The company has been accused of selling CPAP machines that contain mold and bacteria and failing to warn consumers of the potential health risks associated with using the machines. CPAP lawsuits allege Philips CPAP machines are defective and unsafe due to this faulty foam material that can emit harmful gases.

ResMed Has Had Its Own Problems

Another prominent CPAP machine manufacturer, ResMed, has also faced multiple lawsuits, none of which our law firm is handling. The company has been accused of selling CPAP machines with defective parts, leading to leaks and decreased effectiveness. Some users have reported experiencing discomfort and headaches due to the leaks, which have been linked to the use of the machines. The lawsuits have claimed that ResMed failed to adequately design and test the machines, producing defective products.

In addition to mold and bacteria-related issues, CPAP machine users have also raised concerns over the potential fire hazards associated with using the machines. Several lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers claiming that the machines have caused fires, leading to property damage and personal injury. The lawsuits have claimed that the manufacturers failed to adequately warn consumers of the potential fire hazards associated with the use of the machines and failed to adequately design

Philips CPAP Recall

On April 13, 2021, Philips announced the launch of the DreamStation 2, the next-generation machine in its DreamStation product family. However, less than two weeks later, on April 26, 2021, Philips announced a recall of certain sleep and respiratory care devices due to user risks related to the sound abatement foam used.

Some people did not find this to be a coincidence.  People have suggested – in, fact lawsuits have suggested – Philips intentionally timed the recall to coincide with the launch of their new product, the DreamStation 2, to profit from the recall. Patients who need breathing machines to manage their medical conditions are left with no free or safe options and are forced to purchase the next-generation product at full price.

The foam may degrade under certain circumstances, such as the use of unapproved cleaning

The Problem that Caused the CPAP Recall

ng methods or exposure to high humidity and temperature. Most affected devices are in the first-generation DreamStation product family, and Philips’s recently launched next-generation CPAP platform, DreamStation 2, is unaffected.

Philips issued the recall after discovering that the PE-PUR sound abatement foam used in the machines was deteriorating over time and causing users to inhale tiny foam particles.

This was cause for significant concern because the PE-PUR foam contained several chemical components known to be toxic and carcinogenic. The potential danger of inhaling these foam particles could be airway inflammation, kidney, liver, other organ damage, and lung or respiratory tract cancer.

Philips was apparently aware of the problems and potential dangers with the PE-PUR foam particles long before issuing the recall earlier this year. In fact, it appears that Philips deliberately held off on issuing the recall until they had a new generation of CPAP machines ready to replace the recalled devices.

Within weeks after the recall announcement from Philips, the first wave of CPAP product liability lawsuits started getting filed across the country. Plaintiffs in these CPAP lawsuits are individuals who used one of the recalled Philips devices for sleep apnea (or other conditions) for a prolonged period and were subsequently diagnosed with adverse health conditions that may be linked to inhaling PE-PUR foam particles. Health conditions that may be caused by inhalation of the toxic foam particles include:

  • Pulmonary fibrosis and similar types of acute conditions affecting the respiratory system.
  • Cancer, particularly lung, liver, or kidney cancer.
  • Damage to the lungs, liver, or kidneys.

CPAP Lawsuits Will Probably End in a “Global Settlement”

We are in the very earliest stages of the CPAP class action lawsuit. But these cases will most likely follow a similar path as other mass tort medical device lawsuits. The thousands of CPAP product liability cases currently pending in federal courts nationwide will eventually be consolidated into a “class action” MDL (Multidistrict Litigation).

Once this happens, there will be a consolidated discovery process in the cases that usually takes 18-24 months to unfold. The focus during this consolidated discovery is typically on the scientific evidence linking inhalation of the PE-PUR foam to certain cancers and other health conditions alleged by the plaintiffs. In the CPAP litigation, there will also be some level of focus on the mechanics of the alleged defect in the machines (i.e., when does the PE-PUR foam release particles, for how long, how many particles, etc.).

When the consolidated discovery phase is completed, a number of individual CPAP cases will be selected for “bellwether trials.” Actual jury trials will be held in these cases, and the results will be used to help negotiate the settlement of all the remaining cases. If the bellwether trials result in significant verdicts for the plaintiffs, Philips may have no choice but to pay a large sum to resolve the remaining claims and avoid further losses. This is referred to as a global or aggregate settlement.

What Will a Global Settlement in the CPAP Lawsuits Look Like?

To understand how a CPAP settlement might look, you must understand how global settlements in mass tort cases work.  To make this explanation simpler, we will use a hypothetical example:

Acme Inc. is defending 10,000 lawsuits in an MDL from plaintiffs alleging that Acme’s medical device was defective and caused users to suffer various health conditions, including bowel obstructions, colon cancer, and liver cancer. The consolidated discovery phase in the MDL lasts for 18 months. At the end of discovery, 10 individual cases are selected for bellwether trials. Three of the bellwether cases are picked by the plaintiffs.  Three are picked by the defendants, and the remaining 4 are picked by the MDL judge.

Over the next 6 months, half of these bellwether cases go to trial and generate the following results:

Case                                       Selected By                           Result

Smith v. Acme                      Plaintiffs                                 $2,500,000 Verdict

Jones v. Acme                      Defendants                            $750,000 Verdict

Miller v. Acme                       Judge                                     $1,200,000 Verdict

Fields v. Acme                      Defendants                            Defense Verdict

Sutton v. Acme                     Plaintiffs                                 $15,400,000 Verdict

After losing big in the 5th bellwether trial, Acme’s stock price plummets. The following day Acme publicly announced that they are negotiating a settlement of the remaining lawsuits, and the additional bellwether trials are postponed. 6 months later, the MDL judge approved the terms of a global settlement under which Acme agree to pay a total of $1.5 billion to settle and resolve all 10,000 remaining cases.

If the settlement proceeds were divided evenly, each plaintiff would receive a gross payment of $150,000. But the settlement agreement sets up a tiered system that ranks plaintiffs according to the severity of their injuries. Plaintiffs in the top settlement tier get more than $150,000 while those in the bottom tier get less.

Estimated Settlement Payout Value for Philips CPAP Lawsuits

Despite numerous variables that will impact the settlement value of CPAP cases, we can come up with an educated guess as to their eventual value based on settlement payouts in prior mass torts. Based on these comparisons, we think that the likely settlement payout on Philips CPAP claims will be as follows:

Settlement Tier                                             Estimated Settlement

Tier I                                                               $100,000 – $150,000

Tier II                                                              $60,000 – $90,000

Tier III                                                             $10,000 – $30,000

payout for cpap lawsuits

Qualifying Settlement Amount Predictions

We are pretty bold about making settlement amount predictions in tort cases. Just because they are impossible to make does not make the effort should not be made. It is impossible to predict the price of Apple stock next year. But that does not stop thousands of analysts from doing just that.

That said, determining how much the average CPAP lawsuit payout might be is a particular bear.  Because there are so many different types of injuries. Our law firm gets CPAP inquiries every day.  Prospective client has linked every imaginable injury to the CPAP.

The reality is CPAP probably does cause injuries that we have not contemplated in 2023.  But the real wild card in how much the CPAP lawsuit is worth is what victims’ lawyers can prove by the close of discovery.

Proving Philips was negligent should not be a big hurdle in this litigation.  The battlefield will be what CPAP lawsuits the judge allows to go to trial.  So the average settlement amount will be much higher than the average payout per claim, even under the best-case scenario.

Sample CPAP Lawsuit

A new CPAP lawsuit was filed on March 9, 2023, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania against Koninklijke Philips N.V., Philips North America LLC, Philips RS North America LLC, Philips Holding USA Inc., Philips RS North America Holding Corporation, Polymer Technologies, Inc., and Polymer Molded Products LLC.

The CPAP recall lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff, a North Carolina man, suffered personal injuries as a result of the use of recalled CPAP, Bi-Level PAP, and Mechanical Ventilator products. Specifically, Mr. Price suffered by lung cancer and COPD which he alleges are from his defective DreamStation CPAP.

Like all short form complaints filed in the MDL, the complaint incorporates the allegations, claims, and requested relief set forth in the Amended Master Long Form Complaint for Personal Injuries, Damages and Demand for Jury Trial filed in the same case.

Find Out If You Qualify for a Philips CPAP Lawsuit

Find out if you may be able to file a CPAP machine lawsuit against Philips and receive substantial financial compensation. Call our medical device lawyers today at 800-553-8082 to see if you have a case.

FAQs – CPAP Lawsuits

What are the CPAP Lawsuits?

The CPAP lawsuits are claims against medical device company Philips alleging that CPAP users inhaled toxic foam particles during sleep causing cancer and other health problems.

Is there a CPAP lawsuit against Philips?

There have already been hundreds of individual lawsuits filed against Philips in connection with the recalled sleep apnea devices. Thousands more are expected.

What CPAP machines are being recalled?

Almost all Philips CPAP and BiPAP machines have been recalled, including the popular DreamStation line of sleep apnea machines.