Brendan A. McDonough works in Weitz & Luxenberg’s Drug and Medical Device Litigation practice group.. He plays a leading role in the firm’s efforts against Philips Respironics to hold the company responsible for injuries caused by their defective CPAP and BiPAP sleep apnea machines, which were recalled in June 2021.
“Our clients are suffering on a daily basis,” Mr. McDonough says. “Many of them have had to stop working, they have bills piling up, and their lives are essentially put on hold.
“At Weitz & Luxenberg, thinking about our clients and the harm they’ve suffered is what keeps us motivated. It is why I went to law school.
Sometimes the legal process takes years, but our clients keep us focused. We want to secure for them the best outcome possible.”
Recalled Philips CPAP and BiPAP Sleep Apnea Machines
Mr. McDonough is currently representing Weitz & Luxenberg clients injured by Philips Respironics’ recalled CPAP, BiPAP, and mechanical ventilator devices, which are used in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.
“Philips recalled these devices because the polyurethane ‘sound abatement’ foam in the airway of the device degrades and off-gases, releasing toxic and potentially carcinogenic compounds that are then inhaled by the user all night long while they sleep,” Mr. McDonough says. “Recent FDA inspections reveal the company was aware of this problem at least as far back as 2015.”
The foam used in the recalled devices is subject to degradation via “hydrolysis,” which is when water breaks a chemical bond. Normal operation of the devices involves hot, humid air being forced through the device airpath where the foam is located.
“The recall affects millions of users,” Mr. McDonough adds. “So this is a legitimate health crisis. We are fighting for our clients injured by Philips’ devices, but we are also fighting to prevent future similar harms to the innocent and unsuspecting public.”
Mr. McDonough has lectured nationally about the chemical risks of the degradation and the off-gassing of the polyester polyurethane sound abatement foam in the CPAP machines.
Defective Hip Implant Lawsuits
Mr. McDonough also represents Weitz & Luxenberg clients injured by metal-on-metal and modular hip implants, including the Stryker Rejuvenate/ABG II Modular Hip Implant, Stryker LFIT V40 CoCr femoral heads, and DePuy ASR/ASR XL.
The manufacturers, Stryker and DePuy Orthopaedics, have both recalled specific hip implant models because of significant complications. Sometimes, the materials used in the hip implant may corrode. Metallosis and fracturing are other serious problems with some models. When orthopedic implants fail, patients may need to undergo revision surgeries.
Revision surgeries require patients to face the risks and challenges of surgery all over again. In addition, revision surgeries are more complex and costly than initial surgery.
Our Clients Always Come First
“When I first speak with clients, my goal is to listen to them, to understand what their problems are, and to have an honest conversation with them about what we can do to work together to meet their needs and resolve their issues,” Mr. McDonough said.
“I get a lot of satisfaction in knowing that our client will have some peace of mind, be able to pay medical bills, put money away for children or grandchildren, whatever the case may be. It’s extremely gratifying to feel that justice has been served,” Mr. McDonough says.
I Want to Give Our Clients a Voice
“The great thing about being an attorney is that I’m in a position to advocate for people who can’t advocate for themselves,” Mr. McDonough says. “I can use my background in biological and biomedical engineering to help people harmed by defective medical devices and drugs every day.”
“These giant medical device and pharmaceutical corporations should be ensuring that what they’re selling to the public is safe and effective, but instead they cut corners for profit. When they do, our clients’ health and livelihoods are what hang in the balance.
“These companies think the scientific issues are too complex; that lawyers, judges, and juries won’t understand; and that our clients won’t have anyone who can fight on their behalf.
“They think they can get away with it. They’re wrong.
“At Weitz & Luxenberg, we make sure our clients get the representation they deserve,” Mr. McDonough says.
Additional Legal Experience
Prior to joining Weitz & Luxenberg, Mr. McDonough served as a law clerk to the Honorable Ann Marie Donio, U.S.M.J. in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. He first worked here as a biomedical engineer and paralegal after graduating from Cornell University’s College of Engineering.
He was involved in the complex technical preparation for trial, assisting attorneys with the recalled DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implant litigation, analyzing tens of thousands of technical documents, and preparing the attorneys for the depositions of the engineers and experts. Motivated by this work, he went to law school and then worked here as a summer and part-time law clerk.
In 2017, Mr. McDonough was welcomed back as a lawyer engineer. Like his colleagues, Mr. McDonough cares about helping our clients achieve a just resolution.
Addressing an emerging legal issue, Mr. McDonough successfully defeated a medical device manufacturer’s repeated efforts to manipulate the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to remove cases from state court to federal court, where the defendant can have certain advantages. After a prolonged briefing effort, he succeeded in persuading the court to return the cases to state court. Mr. McDonough co-authored an article educating plaintiff attorneys on how to defeat this procedural abuse called “Snap Removal” in an article in Trial Magazine in 2020.
Mr. McDonough is licensed to practice law in New Jersey, New York, and the United States District Courts for the District of New Jersey, the Eastern District of New York, the Southern District of New York, and the Western District of Pennsylvania.
He earned his J.D. from Rutgers School of Law in Camden, New Jersey, and his B.S. in biological and biomedical engineering from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
Outside of work, Mr. McDonough enjoys running with his dog, going to concerts, and reading. Other passions include hiking, traveling, playing the guitar, basketball and chess.