Written by Aaron R. Winston
Last Updated: April 29, 2023 2:56am CDT
There is an unfortunate trend of essential products being sold on the market that come to find out are not adequately designed and must be recalled due to safety defects. With the quick technological advancements, the need for safety recalls has been a big problem of late for at-home medical devices and machines.
Although the companies that develop and sell these products are for-profit companies, they also do so to help consumers, as it is in their financial best interest to provide valuable products that help the consumers. That is not where the problem lies.
Nonetheless, these medical devices can have defects or safety issues that can cause serious side effects bringing more harm than good. The potential benefit of virtually any product will go by the wayside and present a danger if they are poorly designed or produced.
Many products and services in recent years have brought pain and suffering to those who used them, several of which we have already covered in other blog articles.
For this article, we will focus on the lawsuits and the different Philip CPAP, and BiPAP sleep apnea machine recalls. Mainly we will go into the legal situation with the DreamStation CPAP machines from Philips, the recalls, and how to qualify for the lawsuit.
As consumers, we put our trust in the producers of the products we use in our day-to-day lives. When those producers fail to maintain the standard we expect, we end up paying the price. Fortunately, the legal system can make it possible to hold the manufacturer of a faulty product liable for its shortcomings that cause us harm.
The rise of class action and multi-district litigation (MDL) lawsuits against product manufacturers for poor quality products has become more common in response to the rising tide of faulty products. While some issues of injured victims are localized and isolated incidents, others are much more widespread and affect thousands of consumers simultaneously.
When it comes to holding companies legally and financially accountable for the harm caused to the victims, it can feel like an impossible job at hand.
However, it’s a power-in-numbers situation. The more injured victims that qualify to sue the companies producing faulty products, the better the chance the lawsuits will be successful.
The most recent examples of this phenomenon include thousands of lawsuits filed against the company Philips over the alleged harm caused by the Philips CPAP sleep apnea machines.
What is Philips?
Koninklijke Philips N.V., colloquially known as Philips (not spelled
Phillips), is a multinational technology conglomerate (multi-industry) primarily focusing on healthcare technology based in the Netherlands. The company was founded in 1891 by Gerard Philips and his father, Frederik.
Initially, Philips company manufactured electro-technical products like carbon-filament lamps and lightbulbs. The company struggled and neared bankruptcy by 1895 but enjoyed a renaissance when Gerard’s younger brother, Anton, was hired.
Anton’s arrival heralded the company’s expansion into new technologies and industries that began Philips’ growth.
The company’s growth continued, producing vacuum tubes, radios, and engines by 1939. The company was forced to relocate its headquarters to the United States of America on May 9th, 1940, one day before the German invasion of the Netherlands during World War II. After the war ended, the company returned to the Netherlands and expanded into new personal and health technology forms.
As of 2020, the company has remained a primary manufacturer of several products commonly used by households. Among their medical device products is a series of bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines.
CPAP and BiPAP machines are designed to improve respiratory health while the user is asleep and act as breathing devices. These devices can go by many different names, including AVAPS, ASV, PAP, and APAP.
The Philips CPAP machines function the same way as those sleep apnea devices produced by other providers. But to start off, let’s define what a CPAP machine is for and how it works.
What is a CPAP Machine Used for?
A CPAP machine is a continuous positive airway pressure machine primarily used to treat moderate to severe cases of Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is the most commonly diagnosed sleep disorder. The constant atmospheric pressure the CPAP creates ensures the airway of the person wearing the ventilation device does not collapse or become blocked.
Doctors advise sleep apnea patients to use CPAP machines to maintain sufficient airflow and oxygen while sleeping. The constant force of the positive atmospheric pressure on the CPAP user’s airway(air blowing in from a face mask or nose mask) keeps the airway unobstructed for every inhale and exhale.
Studies show that CPAP machines to be an effective for treating Obstructive sleep apnea, which, if left untreated, can cause fatigue and potentially long-term cardiovascular issues.
In addition to treating sleep apnea, CPAP machines are used by doctors to treat the following:
- Upper airway resistance syndrome
- Respiratory distress symptoms in infants
Also, in recent history, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, on March 22, 2020, The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement suggesting to doctors that CPAP machines can be used when ventilators are unavailable for treating advanced cases.
There is no doubt that the function and purpose of the Philips CPAP machines work and have been helpful to many people, as sleep apnea machines have become critical to over 8 million Americans.
However, unfortunately, the success of Philips DreamLine CPAP machines has been marred by recent issues that have harmed its customers.
What Happened With Philips CPAP Machines?
Philips has encountered ongoing defects with its CPAP and BiPAP machines that required manufacturer safety recalls. On June 14, 2021, Philips issued a mass CPAP machine recall for a series of DreamStation Go CPAP machines, Dorma auto CPAP devices, BiPAP devices, and Mechanical Ventilator machines the company manufactures.
Philips issued the voluntary recall of almost all of its CPAP and BiPAP machines because of a discovered health risk from the Pe-pur foam, sound abatement foam, used in the recalled Philips medical devices.
This polyurethane foam is used in these machines to minimize their vibrations, which reduces the noise they make while in use. This is an important feature as CPAP machines can be noisy, making it difficult to rest undisturbed.
Unfortunately, as time went on, studies discovered that the Pe-pur foam used within the Philips CPAP machines was a significant issue that had jeopardized the health and respiratory care of its users.
Philips Pe-pur Foam Particles can Cause Toxic Gas
The Pe-pur foam particles contain diethylene glycol, which can be dangerous when mishandled. Diethylene glycol can degrade and produce toxic gases that can get caught in the machines’ airways in the form of black particles, and the users inhale those gases.
The Pe-pur foam degradation can be caused by environmental factors such as heat or humidity, meaning the machines in those climates are more likely to have degraded soundproof foam.
Additionally, Philips devices over three years old are more likely to experience foam degradation due to wear and tear during daily use.
At this point, the biggest question you may have is why diethylene glycol toxins are dangerous and how they can harm you.
When inhaled, the gases produced by degraded Pe-Per foam can produce harmful respiratory side effects that impede your ability to breathe. In more severe circumstances, inhalation of these chemicals can cause lung cancer.
The sheer risk involved with inhaling diethylene glycol makes the presence of the chemical in Philips’ sleep apnea machines a concerning development.
Despite Philips claiming the emissions from their machines are not high enough to cause serious injury and health issues, people have fallen ill after using the recalled devices.
The most common potential health risks and carcinogenic effects of exposure to these toxins include the following:
Philips CPAP Lawsuit Symptoms and Side Effects
- Major respiratory problems:
- Permanent lung injuries
- Lung cancer
- Chest pressure
- Asthma (Can be a mild to serious condition)
- Minor respiratory issues:
- Inflammation of the airway.
- Chronic coughing.
- Irritated lungs.
- Damage to the liver, kidney, or other organs.
- Irritation of the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract.
- Sinus infection.
With this unfortunate development in Philips’ history, customers who used the sleep apnea machines alleged to have been harmed and are dealing with the consequences of the dangerous and life-threatening chemicals within the soundproof foam.
Philips’ legal troubles began when FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) discovered that the polyester-based polyurethane foam used in the defective DreamLine CPAP devices failed a safety test for volatile organic compounds.
Since then, the situation has led several victims alleging harm from the Pe-pur foam to begin filing lawsuits against Philips. While it was not Philips’ intention to harm its consumers, the injured victims are suing Philips for being subject to the harmful substances within the CPAP machines used to treat their sleep apnea.
Is There a Class Action Lawsuit Against Philips CPAP Machines?
Keeping with an unfortunate trend in modern commerce of consumers suffering harm from defective devices and dangerous products, several users of Philips sleep apnea CPAP machines have begun filing lawsuits against the company for its negligence.
Several companies have experienced a similar situation with customers filing product liability or negligence claims. Philips is not unique in getting sued by claimants for alleged harm.
However, what makes this case different than many MDL lawsuits is that the lawsuit is not about medication with harmful side effects. Instead, the lawsuit against Philips concerns a medical device that is alleged to cause harm.
Philips CPAP Lawsuit Update 2022-2023
Although the lawsuits filed against Philips are still in their infancy, the number of claimants suing Philips for alleged harm they suffered while using the sleep apnea machines is quickly growing.
SoClean Lawsuit Against Philips
The claims against Philips began appearing in 2021. One notable claim was filed by plaintiff SoClean on December 2, 2021, in Massachusetts.
The legal proceedings have been ongoing for over a year now, and while exact details are sparse, there is some general information to give us insight into the scope and direction of the case.
Update on the Philips CPAP MDL
As of January 17, 2023, the most recent update from the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation shows it was determined that there were 354 CPAP lawsuits currently pending against Philips in the Western District of Pennsylvania against Philips for its sleep apnea machines by the end of the class action MDL lawsuits.
There are also around 60,000 CPAP injury claims filed administratively with Philips using a toll system to avoid the statute of limitations running out for each case.
Last October, the courts consolidated 110 Philips CPAP sleep apnea machine claims into a single Federal court suit. With so many lawsuits already filed for the recalled Philips CPAP machines, it is very likely the company will face other multi-district litigation (MDL) down the road. The MDLs help speed up the filing process by making the required claim forms sue Philips shorter and simpler to complete.
Although the number of claimants joining the MDL against Philips is steadily increasing, it will be some time before we can fully account for the total number of claims and plaintiffs involved.
As for the alleged claims made against Philips for its DreamLine breathing machines, most plaintiffs are alleging the following in their filed lawsuits:
Lawsuits Against Philips CPAP Machines
All of these claims against Philips for the alleged harm caused to claimants by the soundproof foam are serious and could compel a jury to award the plaintiffs with significant sums of money.
The more the Philips CPAP law firms can prove Philips knew about the danger of the Pe-pur foam but failed to warn the public, the more likely the bellwether plaintiff will be awarded large sums.
That’s easier said than done, as the defense lawyers representing Philips will do everything they can to stop the case from proceeding and convince the judge it is without merit. That is what defense law firms hired to represent manufacturers in class action lawsuits and mass tort cases are supposed to do.
Like a personal injury case, where a plaintiff sues a defendant for financial compensation for an alleged negligent tort, so is the case for the claimants suing Philips CPAP machine product liability lawsuits. That begs the question of what the estimated settlement will be for victims of the Philips CPAP situation.
In personal injury claims where the injured party was harmed due to the other’s negligence, settlements are the most common form of compensation.
The settlement is designed to provide financial compensation for the cost of the injuries and damages inflicted upon the victim. So is the case for the claimants in the Philips CPAP machine lawsuit. They are suing Philips, the defendant, for money.
How Much is the Philips CPAP Lawsuit Worth?
For the lawsuit against Philips, the potential settlement amount concern the toxic chemicals their customers inhaled via the CPAP machines Philips produced. So the expected settlement amount payouts for the Philips CPAP MDL lawsuit will be limited by the case’s criteria and each plaintiff’s situation of how they claim to be harmed.
Unfortunately, with the case’s bellwether trials not having a date set and no court precedent, it is still too early to make an accurate estimate of what settlement amount each Philips CPAP plaintiff can get.
However, there is a general consensus among Philips CPAP lawyers and law firms that the case is proceeding well in favor of the plaintiffs.
They are discovering info that they believe supports the alleged failure to warn they are making against Philips, which, if substantiated before a jury, should increase the settlement values for each plaintiff.
Estimated Philips Lawsuit Settlement Amounts:
Current projections estimate that the average low end of the CPAP settlement amounts could begin at $50,000.00 USD, and the upper end of the settlement amounts could end up closer to $500,000.00 USD.
The maximum settlement amounts would likely go to the families who filed wrongful death claims against Philips, alleging that the sound abatement foam caused cancer that led to the deaths of their loved ones.
However, the majority of claimants can expect to receive a settlement between $100,000.00 USD and $150,000.00 USD.
Some factors, in all likelihood, directly affect each plaintiff’s settlement amount are based on their unique circumstances around using the Philips CPAP or BiPAP device. Those factors may include the following:
What Can Affect Your Philips CPAP Lawsuit Payout Amount?
- The amount of time a claimant used a Philips Dreamliner CPAP machine. The more years of use, the greater the settlement amount.
- The particular negative side effects and adverse health issues the claimants suffered after using the Philips CPAP device. Plaintiffs who claim to have gotten cancer from the gasses produced by diethylene glycol in the sound abatement foam will receive more than those who are suing Philips, alleging the DreamLine machines caused Asthma or coughing.
These amounts are significant, but they are also not concrete, as the case could still go in another direction that could increase or decrease the settlement totals. At this point in the case, we can’t make a definitive estimate on the Philips CPAP recall lawsuit settlements that will be paid out, as the bellwether trial awards will be the best indicator for that.
The good news is the chance of there not being settlement payouts for the plaintiffs suing Philips for the recalled CPAP machines is much lower than with most mass tort and class action lawsuits. This is because Philips has already acknowledged many allegations against them about the danger of the sound abatement foam.
So, it is now the job of the attorneys handling the cases to prove the highest level of Philips’ alleged negligence they can in the CPAP incident and continue to process the claims through the legal system.
Court Precedent From Similar Cases Can Help Estimate Settlement Amounts
When it comes to the American justice system, there is a concept of court precedent. Lawyers use court precedent when suing on behalf of the plaintiff and representing a defendant.
It’s a critical concept that allows lawyers to point to details of prior lawsuits in hopes of showing the judge they are arguing in front of now (or can if they file a lawsuit) that a previous court sided with a similar argument they are making. By doing so, the lawyers, in theory, should get the same court verdict for the current claim they are arguing for or against.
Of course, it is never a straight path to a class action lawsuit victory, especially for the plaintiff. When lawyers reference previous case trial awards or settlements to estimate a potential MDL settlement, they use prior settlements from similar lawsuits as court precedent.
That is how they feel confident that the numbers are sufficient for considering the case’s prospects for financial compensation via bellwether trials and settlements.
Example Case of Court Precedent to Estimate Settlement for the Philips CPAP Recall Case:
The Allergen breast implant lawsuits can act as court precedents as they are an example of a medical device that worked but is alleged to have caused harm by having cancer-causing side effects. This led many women who were diagnosed with cancer after having breast implant surgery to sue Allergen in a class action lawsuit.
In the end, juries found that Allergen Inc, the company that made the breast implant failed to warn consumers about the risk of the increased implants causing cancer. So with the breast implant lawsuits still being active, women and their families are receiving settlements anywhere from over $100,000.00 USD to even above $1,000,000.00 USD.
Successful claims like this are what lawyers might cite as case precedent while working toward the first bellwether trials.
The remaining question is who qualifies to participate and file a claim in the CPAP recall lawsuit against Philips.
How do I Qualify to Join the Philips CPAP Class Action Lawsuit?
The Philips CPAP recall class action lawsuit requires specific criteria for a plaintiff to qualify to file a claim. That is because Philips, the defendant, has rights regardless of any harm they are alleged to have caused.
In large lawsuits, these criteria help prevent false allegations from factoring into the final settlement consideration and simplify the MDL claim process.
To qualify for participation in the Philips CPAP recall lawsuit, a plaintiff must meet the following criteria:
- The plaintiff must be under 80 years old and have used one of the recalled Philips sleep apnea devices or ventilator products.
- The plaintiff must have experienced the harmful effects of the recalled products.
- If the plaintiff does not meet the above criteria, they must have lost a loved one due to the above criteria.
Philips Has Recalled CPAP and BiPAP Machines:
Continuous Ventilator, Non-life Supporting
- DreamStation ASV
- DreamStation ST, AVAPS
- SystemOne ASV4
- C-Series ASV
- C-Series S/T and AVAPS
- OmniLab Advanced+
- A-Series BiPAP A40
- A-Series BiPAP A30
- Trilogy 100
- Trilogy 200
- Garbin Plus, Aeris, LifeVent
- SystemOne (Q-Series)
- DreamStation Go
- Dorma 400
- Dorma 500
- REMstar SE Auto
Anyone who meets these criteria is technically eligible to participate in and file a lawsuit against Philips. For a personal legal consultation, you should seek legal advice from an attorney involved in the Philips CPAP class action lawsuit to determine your eligibility.
They will be able to answer questions about your specific circumstances and how your eligibility might be affected depending on how long you used one of the Philips breathing machines and what side effects you experienced.
That said, contacting a law firm and having a free case evaluation is ultimately your decision and should not be altered by this article.
If you are eligible for participation in the Philips lawsuit, you should take the next step by speaking to a Philips CPAP lawyer and providing the required information. By doing so, you can ensure that you will remain within the bounds of the statute of limitations (SOL).
The more relevant medical records and documents you can provide, the easier you make it for the law firm to add you to the Philips class action lawsuit and maximize your settlement.
Closing Statements on the Philips Recall CPAP Machine Lawsuit
Philips’ legal troubles follow a trend of alleged negligence against some of today’s top conglomerates and companies.
While the situation with Philips’ CPAP devices involves serious allegations, the company has already conceded to some crucial facts, as the production of the Philips Respironics CPAP machines with a different sound abatement foam first indicated that in March 2020.
This is a start that should not be overlooked compared to many companies in mass torts that make mistakes and continue to deny them.
When that happens, that only makes the accompanying lawsuits a more demanding legal battle.
Fortunately, our legal system allows civil claims for alleged negligent tort caused by companies large and small to compensate the victims and act as a deterrent to keep these companies accountable and less inclined to engage in further misconduct.
It’s fair to say Philips did not begin the plans for their CPAPs and ventilator devices, knowing the alleged harm would befall its consumers. However, there is always somewhere in between as we dive into further details and other areas of the law.
Like when did Philips first find out about its CPAP machine sound abatement foam causing toxic gas, and why did it take so long for the company to warn the public?
These are questions lawyers are asking on behalf of the Philips CPAP recall victims. CPAP law firms are attempting to hold Philips responsible and recover the plaintiffs’ losses. Unfortunately, that legal process will likely take a few years to develop.
Class action and MDL lawsuits take notoriously long times. The case against Philips is no exception.
If anything, the lengthy waiting time will be made worse by the Philips CPAP recall plaintiffs having to live with the health issues they claim to have suffered from the recalled sleep apnea machines use. The cost of living is expensive enough, but the high cost of medical bills and supplies compounds that heavy burden.
Fortunately, we at Express Legal Funding understand that financial reality, which is why we provide pre-settlement funding to plaintiffs in civil lawsuits. The money can be offered to injured and damaged victims actively pursuing a case as a non-recourse cash advance. That means it is risk-free funding and is not a loan.
As the legal funding company, we purchase a piece of and place a lien on the potential settlement or trial award money and not on the client. Not like a company would do if it were giving a borrower a loan. That difference allows for the main benefit of lawsuit funding to work risk-free.
It can be a great financial option for those who need money now, can’t access funds from elsewhere, and can’t afford to put their bills on hold to wait for their case to be settled or won.
(It is important to note that the money we can provide to plaintiffs in Missouri is a loan and, therefore, not risk-free. Pre-settlement loans in states like Missouri are loans and must, technically by law, be repaid. Express Legal Funding-Missouri, LLC is licensed to give these loans in MO)
We hope you found this a helpful and easy-to-read resource to learn about the Philips CPAP recall lawsuit. If you found this article interesting, we encourage you to browse some of our reader favorites and most-read articles published on the Express Legal Funding blog.
If you have questions about whether your Philips CPAP recall claim can qualify for our pre-settlement funding service, you can contact us to learn more and apply with our risk-free consultation anytime.
About the Author
Aaron Winston is the Strategy Director of Express Legal Funding. As "The Legal Funding Expert," Aaron has more than ten years of experience in the consumer finance industry. Most of which was as a consultant to a top financial advisory firm, managing 400+ million USD in client wealth. He is recognized as an expert author and researcher across multiple SEO industries.
Aaron Winston earned his title "The Legal Funding Expert" through authoritative articles and blog posts about legal funding. He specializes in expert content writing for pre-settlement funding and law firm blogs.
Each month, tens of thousands of web visitors read his articles and posts. Aaron's thoroughly researched guides are among the most-read lawsuit funding articles over the past year.
As Strategy Director of Express Legal Funding, Aaron has devoted thousands of hours to advocating for the consumer. His "it factor" is that he is a tireless and inventive thought leader who has made great strides by conveying his legal knowledge and diverse expertise to the public. More clients and lawyers understand the facts about pre-settlement funding because of Aaron's legal and financial service SEO mastery.
Aaron Winston is the author of A Word For The Wise. A Warning For The Stupid. Canons of Conduct, which is a book in poetry format. It consists of 35 unique canons. The book was published in 2023.
He keeps an academic approach to business that improves the consumer's well-being. In early 2022, Aaron gained the Search Engine Optimization and the Google Ads LinkedIn skills assessment badges. He placed in the top 5% of those who took the SEO skills test assessment.
Aaron's company slogans and lawsuit funding company name are registered trademarks of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He has gained positive notoriety via interviews and case studies, which are a byproduct of his successes. Aaron R. Winston was featured in a smith.ai interview (2021) and a company growth case study (2022).
In 2023, Aaron and Express Legal Funding received accolades in a leading SEO author case study performed by the leading professionals at WordLift. The in-depth data presented in the pre-settlement funding SEO case study demonstrate why Aaron Winston maintains a high-author E-E-A-T. His original writing and helpful content continue to achieve unprecedented success and stand in their own class.
Aaron was born in Lubbock, TX, where he spent the first eight years of his life. Aaron attended Akiba Academy of Dallas, TX.