Smith & Johnson is proud of the role it played as counsel of record for Grand Traverse and Marquette counties. These two clients are projected to receive nearly 5MM in monies from the recent opioid settlement. S & J represents 36 counties and cities across Northern Michigan who collectively are projected to receive over 26MM from this settlement. Litigation is ongoing against the remaining defendants in that federal litigation with additions monies projected to provide additional monies to these Northern Michigan clients.

Learn more about Marquette County’s settlement here.

Lawsuits filed by Timothy Smith, on behalf of 36 Northern Michigan municipalities, are projected to bring in $26 million to those cities and counties to combat the opioid epidemic, with nearly $430,000 allocated to Leelanau County. This is just a partial settlement with just 4 of the defendants in the lawsuit. Smith & Johnson, as counsel of record for 36 cities and counties across Northern Michigan and across the Upper Peninsula, is proud of the role it has played to bring close to $800 million to the citizens of Michigan to reimburse municipalities for the monies spent cleaning up the epidemic these companies created and for future prevention and treatment of opioid addiction in our communities. The litigation against the remaining defendants in the lawsuit will continue and we anticipate additional monies from the remaining manufacturers, distributors and retailers. We couldn’t have accomplished this without the invaluable assistance of County Administrator Chet Janik and all the commissioners who decided to take a stand against these companies and hold them accountable.

Read the full article in the Leelanau Enterprise here.

Attorney Timothy Smith

Lawsuits filed by Timothy Smith, on behalf of 36 Northern Michigan municipalities, are projected to bring in $26 million to those cities and counties to combat the opioid epidemic, with just short of $3 million awarded to Grand Traverse County and nearly $215,000 to the city of Traverse City. This is just a partial settlement with just 4 of the defendants in the lawsuit.
Smith & Johnson, as counsel of record for 36 cities and counties across Northern Michigan and across the Upper Peninsula, is proud of the role it has played to bring close to $800 million to the citizens of Michigan to reimburse municipalities for the monies spent cleaning up the epidemic these companies created and for future prevention and treatment of opioid addiction in our communities. The litigation against the remaining defendants in the lawsuit will continue and we anticipate additional monies from the remaining manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. We couldn’t have accomplished this without the vision and leadership of Chris Forsyth, Deputy County Administrator, and all the commissioners here in Grand Traverse County.

Drunk driver in vehicle

Governor Whitmer recently signed legislation allowing for clean slate expungement of convictions for first violation of operating while intoxicated (OWI). The new House Bill, signed into legislation on Monday, August 23rd, is expected to give nearly 200,000 one-time OWI offenders another chance to have a clean record. Another bill, also passed Monday, continues to enforce the .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) level for driving, which was proposed to increase to .10.

The bills provide a second chance of expungement for first-time offenders of the following offenses while operating a vehicle:

  • With a BAC of .08 or higher
  • Visibly impaired by any controlled substance, such as alcohol
  • Under the age of 21 and with a BAC of .02 and higher
  • While under the influence of any bodily amount of cocaine or any Schedule 1 controlled substance

Governor Whitmer said, of the bills: “No one should be defined by a mistake they have made in the past. These bills allow Michiganders to move on from a past mistake in order to have a clean slate. We must clear a path for first-time offenders so that all residents are able to compete for jobs with a clean record and contribute to their communities in a positive way.”

If you have a prior OWI conviction, you could be eligible for a clean slate. The team at Smith & Johnson can help determine your eligibility and help you file the correct paperwork with the correct court to ensure a clean record. Contact attorney Tim Smith at (231) 946-0700 today to see if you’re eligible for expungement due to a single offense OWI conviction.


Expungement Opportunities for Other Offenses

Up to 1,000,000 Michigan residents may also be eligible to have their criminal record expunged after Michigan’s new “Clean Slate” law went into effect on April 11, 2021.

Eligible offenses: Expanding eligibility to up to three felonies and an unlimited number of misdemeanors, with certain conditions on the types of offenses that qualify. No more than two assaultive crimes can be expunged, and no more than one felony conviction for the same offense if the offense is punishable by more than 10 years’ imprisonment. 

Waiting period: Adjusting the waiting period to apply after a person’s monitoring by the justice system ends (i.e. sentencing, probation, release from incarceration, parole — whichever occurred last) if they remain conviction-free. The waiting period will be three years for misdemeanors, five years for serious misdemeanors or one felony, and seven years for multiple felonies. 

Traffic offenses: Expanding eligibility to most traffic offenses. This excludes convictions for traffic offenses that cause injury or death, and Commercial Driver License violations. 

Marijuana misdemeanors: Creating a streamlined process to apply for expungement of misdemeanor marijuana possession and use that would not have been considered crimes after recreational marijuana was legalized in Michigan. Judges must grant expungements if prosecutors don’t object. 

Multiple offenses in one day: Treating multiple felonies or misdemeanors arising from the same 24-hour period as one conviction for the purposes of expungement. None of the offenses can be assaultive, involve the use or possession of a dangerous weapon, or carry a maximum penalty of 10 or more years in prison. 


What convictions will not be eligible for expungement through the application process? 

Felonies that carry a maximum punishment of life in prison, attempt to commit a felony for which the maximum punishment is life, felony domestic violence (if the person had a previous domestic violence misdemeanor), child abuse, most criminal sexual conduct offenses, and traffic offenses causing injury or death. Smith & Johnson attorney Timothy Smith can help you navigate this new law and get you set with a “clean slate”. Affordable flat fees and the consultation to discuss your eligibility is always free.

If you or a loved one have been injured due to a defective IVC filter, our team of mass tort personal injury attorneys at Smith & Johnson are ready to represent you and get you the compensation you are owed. Contact attorney Tim Smith today to see if you qualify for the IVC Filter litigation. We are the first firm in Northern Michigan to file an IVC Filter case in Michigan Federal Court and are counsel of record in numerous other mass tort cases including Municipal Opioid Litigation, Hernia Mesh Litigation and ParaGard IUD litigation.

Blue Illustration of Human Upper Torso/Chest with Red Heart and Inferior Vena Cava Highlighted

What Are IVC Filters?

Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are small medical devices designed to keep blood clots from moving to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism. Unfortunately, the problem many patients are facing with the IVC filter is its tendency to embed deeply and breakage upon removal. Some complications of deeply embedded IVC filters include fragmentation or fracture of the device causing organ punctures, shards that are left behind, and other serious injuries.

What Are Dangers of IVC Filter Usage?

The IVC filter manufacturers at the center of this litigation include Bard, Cook, and Argon Medical Devices. The IVC Filter is prone to breakage and collapse, causing clotting and/or risk of serious damage to the vena cava wall. Some potential injuries caused by this device include:

  • Pieces that are fractured that can puncture the lungs, heart or inferior vena cava
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Inability to remove the filter
  • Blood clots that clog the filter
  • Device migration
  • Persistent chest pain
  • Respiratory issues
  • Uncontainable bleeding
  • Shards of the filter left in the heart
  • Fluid gathering around the heart (known as cardiac tamponade)
  • Death

IVC Filter patients have reported migration of the filter to other body parts and the forming of blood clots in lower extremities. Poor device manufacturing and/or an insufficient device can be responsible for putting patients at risk for these types of injuries. The problem could be a result of inadequate safety testing or a flaw of the design or manufacturing process itself.

In many personal injury cases, further investigation into the companies themselves is necessary to determine whether their negligence was intentional or not. Regardless, they should be held accountable for the risk at which they put their patients.

Get the Compensation You Deserve

Smith & Johnson is proud to help represent injured victims of the IVC Filter device and get the fair settlement they deserve. If you or a loved one was injured or killed by complications from the IVC Filter, seek legal representation with the personal injury attorneys at Smith & Johnson today. Contact Attorney Tim Smith at 231.946.0700.

Smith & Johnson is the only firm that is counsel of record in northern Michigan in Federal Court for many major mass tort cases, such as Municipal Opioid Litigation, ParaGard IUD litigation, Hernia Mesh Litigation, and IVC Filter Litigation.

Exposure to Paraquat has been linked to an increased risk of Parkinson’s Disease. If you or a loved one has been exposed to Paraquat and has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, you may qualify to participate in the Paraquat lawsuit, and Smith & Johnson will help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact personal injury attorney Tim Smith to learn more today.

What is Paraquat?

Though it was first produced over 130 years ago, its application as an herbicide was not popularized until the mid-20th century. Today, it is used as an herbicide agent on more than 100 different types of crops.

Is Paraquat Safe?

According to the American Council on Science and Health, Paraquat’s relative toxicity of glyphosate, another popularly used herbicide which is known to be toxic, ranges from 33-250. A lethal dose for an average person is around 2.5 grams, and it is even more toxic when inhaled.

Paraquat Has Been Linked to Parkinson’s Disease

In February 2011, the National Institute of Health (NIH) conducted a study— the Farming and Movement Evaluation (FAME)— exploring claims that exposure to the popular herbicide Paraquat could be linked to a greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Following the study’s release, Syngenta, a Swiss herbicide manufacturer, claimed on its website that data from the study showed that farmers who use Paraquat are less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than the general population. This claim was highly debated by the study’s authors, who attested that the data from the study showed that individuals were roughly two and a half times more likely to develop Parkinson’s after being exposed to Paraquat (or a similar herbicide—Rotenone).

FAME Study Finds Paraquat is a Parkinson’s Disease Risk

FAME drew data from the Agricultural Health Study, a larger project that tracked more than 80,000 farmers, agricultural workers, and their spouses. FAME researchers identified 115 individuals who had developed Parkinson’s, studying 110 of these individuals who were open to providing information on the herbicide they frequently used.

Syngenta held the findings in contention, arguing that because only 115 individuals developed Parkinson’s out of more than 80,000 North Carolinians and Iowans included in the Agricultural Health Study, direct correlation between Paraquat and an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s could not be proven. “The incidence of Parkinson’s disease [in the study] appears to be lower than in the general U.S. population,” explained Syngenta, trying to rationalize their website’s claim.

Dr. Caroline M. Tanner, the director of the Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Centers at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the lead author of the FAME study explained that Syngenta’s argument held no basis. Tanner argued that FAME was not a comprehensive assessment of the incident Parkinson’s among all 80,000 individuals. Rather, the study chose a group of people who did have Parkinson’s—studying that specific group against a control group.

In actuality, FAME relied on self-reporting from participants of the larger Agricultural Health Study. “There were probably quite a few people with Parkinson’s disease who did not enroll in our study,” explained Dr. Freya Kamel, a scientist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a branch of the National Institutes of Health and a co-author of the FAME study.

Syngenta said it “went to significant lengths to attempt to access the data” from the FAME study so that the manufacturer could “gain as complete an understanding as possible of the study in the pursuit of scientific rigor.” Kamel called Syngenta’s analysis inappropriate.

Kamel found the FAME study data linking Paraquat to Parkinson’s “about as persuasive as these things can get.”

A similar study conducted in 2012—the Genetic Modification of the Association of Paraquat and Parkinson’s Disease—found that individuals who used Paraquat and who also had a specific genetic variation were 11 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s, indicating that some people are put at greater risk by being exposed to the chemical.

Paraquat Banned Across the Globe

Paraquat is banned in 32 countries. Notably, though Paraquat is produced by Swiss manufacturer Syngenta, use of the herbicide has been banned in Switzerland since 1989.

Paraquat has been on the banned substances list in England and throughout the European Union since 2013. One of Syngenta’s largest Paraquat manufacturing facilities is located in Northern England, but most of the yield is sent to the United States.

China also produces Paraquat. Although it is known for being an industrial nation with lax environmental regulations, China announced in 2012 that it would begin to phase out Paraquat to “safeguard people’s lives”. All production is now exported.

Many other nations are now following suit and venturing away from the herbicide, citing research that links the chemical to health risks.

Increased Paraquat Use in the United States

However, in recent years in the U.S., Paraquat has become a popular alternative to Monsanto’s Roundup. Roundup has long been the preferred herbicidal agent for American agricultural workers, but as weeds and pests are becoming more resistant to it and lawsuits alleging dangers and injuries arise, farmers are turning to alternative herbicides and pesticides to treat their crops.

Paraquat has become the preferred herbicidal alternative, in light of the issues surrounding Roundup, especially for soybean fields, where the number of pounds used is up fourfold over the last 10 years. In 2016 alone, the United States sprayed 7 million lbs. of Paraquat over nearly 15 million acres of land.

However, it is important to note that all Paraquat products are Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs), meaning only licensed applicators are able to purchase and use the herbicide. All applicators must be “licensed in accordance with EPA regulations and state, territorial and tribal laws.”

EPA Regulatory Filing on Paraquat

In March 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in a regulatory filing that they would be further exploring the possible health risks associated with Paraquat. The filing is part of a program, sponsored by the EPA, that re-evaluates all pesticides on a 15-year cycle.

In the announcement, the agency said, “There is a large body of epidemiology data on Paraquat dichloride use and Parkinson’s disease.” The EPA plans to decide whether to place Paraquat on the banned substance or continue to allow the chemical to be sprayed on US cropland, but a final decision is not expected until next year at the earliest.

All documents related to the registration review can be located in docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0855 located at

New Research Backs FAME Findings

A December 2016 study published in Nature Chemical Biology reassures researchers who believe Paraquat to cause Parkinson’s. A CRISPR screen, an investigation into the possible agents that increase the risk of Parkinson’s for individuals exposed to Paraquat, identified a pathway required for Paraquat-induced cell death in humans. The study found that after being exposed to Paraquat, genes that may lead to Parkinson’s disease were identified using an innovative gene-editing technique. Further, the study found that Paraquat kills cells through a mechanism called oxidative stress. The study was unable to reveal the exact process that allowed the herbicide to do so, though the researchers presented multiple theories.

Paraquat Lawsuit Filed

There is currently a Paraquat lawsuit filed in St. Clair County, Illinois. The lawsuit, which was filed on Oct. 6, 2017, is filed on behalf of farmers and agricultural workers who were exposed to Paraquat and, as a result, developed Parkinson’s disease. The original defendants named in the Paraquat lawsuit were Syngenta and Growmark.

Plaintiffs in the Paraquat lawsuit claim that Syngenta and Growmark manufactured Paraquat, distributed and sold it as Gramoxone or by other names since 1964.

In an amended complaint, plaintiffs also named Chevron Chemical as a defendant, claiming that Chevron acted in concert with Syngenta and Growmark.

Plaintiffs argue that, before the recent studies linking Paraquat to Parkinson’s, they were completely unaware that the chemical posed any long-term health risks.

Can You Participate in the Paraquat Lawsuit?

If you have previously been exposed to Paraquat, or similar herbicide Rotenone, and subsequently developed Parkinson’s disease or signs of ongoing developing Parkinson’s, you may qualify to participate in the Paraquat lawsuit.

Contact personal injury attorney Tim Smith of Smith & Johnson today for a Paraquat lawsuit case consultation. Our experienced chemical exposure law team can help you assess your case and your best plan of action.

Talcum powder has been linked to forms of cancer including mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer after using talcum powder, the team at Smith & Johnson can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Talcum Powder Personal Injury Attorneys

In 1894, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) introduced what would become one of its most commonly used household products: talc-based baby powder. Made of crushed talc, a naturally occurring mineral, J&J’s baby powder was widely used as both a way to prevent diaper rash in babies and as a moisture-wicking personal hygiene solution for women. Trusting the product to keep them healthy and safe, women sprinkled talc-based powder on their underwear, genital area, or on sanitary napkins. Some did so on a daily basis for years to decades.

But as ongoing litigation against Johnson & Johnson has revealed again and again, talc powder is not a safe, risk-free product. In fact, a growing body of research and influx of personal injury lawsuits have brought light to the fact that talcum powder has been linked to multiple types of cancer.

Talcum Powder is Often Contaminated with Deadly Asbestos

 Talc naturally forms alongside asbestos, a known carcinogen. And although not every talc deposit is contaminated with asbestos, those that are pose deadly health risks for those exposed to it.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization (WHO), classifies talc containing asbestos is carcinogenic to humans. Asbestos is widely known to cause lung cancer and a rare stomach cancer called mesothelioma, but a growing body of reputable research has linked talc powder and its byproducts to ovarian cancer as well.

While Johnson & Johnson has been publicly claiming that its baby powder has been asbestos-free for decades, documents released in late 2018 showed that J&J managers, doctors, lawyers, and executives have known about trace amounts of asbestos in its talc powder since the early 1970s.

Talcum Powder’s Link to Ovarian Cancer

Research has also linked the use of talcum powder to ovarian cancer in women. Regular talcum powder use over the course of a lifetime nearly doubles a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer. While research on talc powder without asbestos is less clear, the IARC has classified the genital use of talc powder as “possibly carcinogenic” based on human studies. This means that even without the presence of asbestos, talcum based powder could be causing ovarian cancer.

This is not new information: talcum powder use was first linked to ovarian cancer in a 1982 study published in the scientific journal Cancer. Despite this, J&J and other companies continued to insist that it was safe to use. More recent research has suggested that the buildup of talc silica particles in ovarian tissue can cause inflammation that leads to cancer.

Ovarian cancer is not easily detectable and is often discovered too late or after it has spread elsewhere in the body. This makes it one of the deadliest and most aggressive forms of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society:

  • Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women.
  • Ovarian cancer accounts for more deaths than any other cancer involving the female reproductive system.
  • Even with advances in ovarian cancer treatment, the prognosis for ovarian cancer is poor, with an overall 5-year relative survival rate of less than 50%.

Talcum Powder Lawsuits

Today, Johnson & Johnson is facing more than 20,000 talc baby powder lawsuits, some of which point to asbestos contamination and others claiming the talc itself caused a plaintiff’s cancer diagnosis. The number of cases continues to rise as more victims come forward.

Some plaintiffs have seen enormous verdicts in response to their lawsuits:

  • In 2013, a jury found that J&J should have warned women of the risk of developing ovarian cancer when using talcum powder near the genitals, awarding a plaintiff $55 million.
  • In 2016, a woman’s family was awarded $72 million after a jury determined her daily use of talc powder caused the ovarian cancer that led to her death.
  • In 2018, J&J was ordered to pay $4.69 billion in punitive damages to 22 women who developed ovarian cancer after using its talc products.

While Johnson & Johnson announced in May 2020 its plans to stop selling talc-based baby powder in the United States and Canada, thousands of women are still being forced to suffer with the aftermath of the company’s decades of inaction.

Were You or a Loved One Diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer After Talcum Powder Exposure?

If you or a loved one developed ovarian cancer after regularly using talc powder, contact the experienced defective drug and toxic chemical exposure attorneys at Smith & Johnson to discuss your legal options. You may be entitled to receive compensation for medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering and other damages associated with your cancer diagnosis. Contact attorney Tim Smith at (231) 946-0700 or through our online contact form to discuss your legal options.

Thanks to Traverse City Business News for the feature in their April publication.

The VRBO case featured regarding the short-term rental agreement was uniquely impacted by the pandemic due to the fact that when it was time to put the defendants on notice of our claims, it was early 2020. Courts were shut down, and we were unsure how long it would take to progress to a jury if we placed it in suit. Rather than file and hope we weren’t stuck in litigation for years, we spent more time than usual up-front, trying to resolve it with the carriers. Persistence and thoroughly documenting every aspect of the case allowed us to secure the policy limits of $2,000,000.00 for our client. This is believed to be one of the largest Premise Liability recoveries in the history of Antrim County.

If you’re looking for an experienced personal injury lawyer in the Traverse City area, call our office today at 231-946-0700.

In the fall of 2020, attorney Tim Smith, of Smith & Johnson Attorneys, filed two of the first lawsuits in Michigan against the manufacturer of the ParaGard IUD in Michigan Federal Court.

Woman Suffering from IUD PainThe ParaGard IUD is a birth control device that doctors implant into women during an office visit. Because this highly effective IUD can prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years and is reversible upon removal, it is a very compelling birth control alternative for many women.

Unfortunately, the ParaGard IUD also has a propensity to break at its arms upon removal (also known as explant), sometimes resulting in serious injuries. Its tendency to break may require the IUD to be surgically removed, and—in some cases—the patient may even need a hysterectomy, leaving them unable to bear children.

Numerous suits against Teva Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of this product, have been filed across the country. On December 16, 2020, the Federal Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has ordered that all federally-filed cases against Teva/ParaGard be transferred to the federal court in the Northern District of Georgia to the court of Judge Leigh Martin May. At the time of the transfer order, there were fewer than 100 cases filed nationwide.

Smith & Johnson Attorneys is proud to represent two of the Michigan claimants in this important litigation. If you or someone you know has been injured by a ParaGard IUD, please contact S&J at (231) 946-0700 to discuss your legal options.

Smith & Johnson was proud to assist Dann’s House here in Traverse City in the purchase of a duplex that can service 7 residents. Dann’s House is a nonprofit that provides supportive housing for people who have experienced chronic homelessness and also suffer from persistent, severe Alcohol Use Disorder. Dann’s House doesn’t just provide a roof over people’s heads — it helps them apply for benefits and provides support for overcoming alcohol addictions. Ken Petterson, a partner at Smith & Johnson, provided the pro bono legal services to assist in the purchase and closing on the property in question. Smith & Johnson is proud of the time our attorneys donate to this community through pro bono services and participating as Directors on various nonprofit boards.