Philips Will File Third Party Complaints Against SoClean Manufacturers In CPAP Lawsuits Over Health Problems Toxic Foam Degrading

With thousands of former users pursuing CPAP lawsuits over cancers and other injuries, Philips plans to file a third party complaint against the makers of SoClean devices that may degrade toxic foam inside the machines

The makers of recalled Philips CPAP devices are asking a federal judge to approve the filing of a Master Third-Party Complaint, which would allow them to add the manufacturers of SoClean ozone cleaning devices as an additional defendant in the litigation.

If approved, the move could allow Philips to easily bring SoClean into CPAP injury lawsuits brought by individuals who developed cancers or other injuries linked to the degradation of a toxic sound abatement foam inside the breathing machines, attempting to hold the makers of the ozone-based CPAP cleaning machines liable for any role their devices played in accelerated the breakdown of the foam.

SoClean CPAP Cleaning Device Concerns

SoClean, Inc. has marketed its devices to help sterilize and deodorize CPAP machines, which are used by millions of Americans to treat obstructive sleep apnea and help them breath while sleeping. To be effective at cleaning the CPAP machines, SoClean uses high levels of ozone gas, which has been linked to concerns about potential health risks for consumers, especially when the devices are used in a confined space.

Questions about the safety of SoClean began to emerge in the aftermath of a Philips CPAP recall announced in June 2021, which impacted millions of DreamStation, CPAP, BiPAP and mechanical ventilators sold with a polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) sound abatement foam, which was found to be prone to degrade and release toxic chemical and particles directly into the machine’s air pathways.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a SoClean recall in November 2023, after determining that more than 7,400 complaints of problems had been linked to the ozone cleaning devices, including adverse event reports involving mildew smells, excessive ozone emissions, coughing and other health problems. The action required the manufacturer to publish a new User Manual, as well as provide a hose and mask adapter used to prevent ozone-related illnesses.

While Philips has reached agreements to resolve consumer class action claims, which sought reimbursements for owners of the recalled machines, the company continues to face lawsuits seeking medical monitoring for former users, as well as personal injury lawsuits that seek financial compensation for various health complications linked to the toxic CPAP foam, including cancers, lung damage, pulmonary fibrosis, asthma and other side effects. However, there have also been lawsuits between Philips and SoClean over the role the ozone cleaners played in the degradation of the machines.

Philips CPAP Recall Lawsuit

Was your Philips CPAP machine recalled?

Millions of recalled Philips DreamStation, CPAP, BiPAP and ventilator machines may release toxic foam particles and chemicals into the air pathway.

Learn More About this Lawsuit See If You Qualify For Compensation

Given common questions of fact and law raised in the claims, all Philips CPAP recall lawsuits have been consolidated as part of a federal MDL, which is assigned to U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti in the Western District of Pennsylvania, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.

Philips Calls for SoClean Third-Party Inclusion in CPAP Lawsuits

On March 15, Philips and Plaintiffs’ co-lead counsel filed a joint motion (PDF) calling for Judge Conti to enter a pretrial order setting forth the procedures for Philips to file a Master Third-Party Complaint against SoClean, Inc. and one of its investing partners, DW Management Services.

Approval of the Master Third-Party Complaint would allow Philips to add SoClean as a defendant in large numbers of CPAP injury lawsuits currently pending in the MDL, potentially spreading liability for injuries caused by the foam breaking down across multiple different parties. Since the recall, Philips has argued that SoClean ozone cleaning devices accelerated the breakdown of the sound abatement foam inside the machines, contributing to serious injuries users have experienced..

“The Master Third-Party Complaint shall be deemed filed in each of the individual cases for which a Plaintiff (i) has filed a Short Form Complaint against one or more of the Philips Defendants, and (ii) has identified in his or her Plaintiff Fact Sheet the use of SoClean ozone-cleaning with his or her Philips Respironics device,” the proposed motion states. “The Philips Defendants need not file a separate pleading in each of the individual cases at this time.”

The motion also indicates that CPAP injury plaintiffs should be permitted to amend short-form complaints previously filed to add the third-party defendants to their claims.

March 2024 Philips CPAP Lawsuit Settlement Update

Philips has already indicated that it hopes to reach a global settlement for CPAP lawsuits some time this year. However, negotiations to settle the personal injury claims will be complex, given the wide variety of different types of cancer and lung damage individual plaintiffs have alleged may be caused side effects of the Philips CPAP machines, including:

  • Leukemia, Lymphoma or other Cancers
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis, Sarcoidosis or other Lung Diseases
  • Chronic Asthma, Bronchitis or Pneumonia
  • Liver Injury, Kidney Injury, Heart Attack, Stroke or Heart Failure

Following pretrial motions, Judge Conti has already established a series of deadlines in Philips CPAP injury lawsuits designed to prepare cases for potential early trial dates. In addition, a court-appointed mediator is currently working with the parties to negotiate CPAP recall settlements.

However, unless Philips is able to successfully convince the court to dismiss the litigation or negotiate a resolution for the claims following mediation efforts and any early bellwether trials, Judge Conti may begin remanding hundreds of individual claims back to U.S. District Courts nationwide for individual trial dates in the future.

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