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March 2013 News

Dermalive Injections Devastates Gary Manzo

By Andrea Potter

dermaliveWhat should have been a simple cosmetic procedure turned out, instead, to be a living nightmare for Gary Manzo, 62, of Sault Ste. Marie.

In 2007, Gary chose a non-surgical cosmetic treatment option and received a series of Dermalive injections on his face. Within a year of his injections, Gary started to experience massive reactions and adverse side effects that led to financial ruin, social stigma, and emotional turmoil.

Dermalive is a cosmetic filler injected into the skin to smooth out wrinkles and other cosmetic defects. Nearly 11,000 units of Dermalive were sold in Canada between 2003 and 2007, when it was finally removed from the Canadian market. It is alleged that the Canadian importers and distributors, Intradermal Distribution Inc. and Vivier Pharma Inc., failed to warn patients and physicians of the true risks associated with the use of Dermalive.

“My reaction started with massive swelling in all the locations that Dermalive was injected. None of the doctors knew what was wrong with me. I had lumps the size of robins’ eggs growing in my face, my skin turned red, and the swelling was horrific. I was given antihistamines and prednisone, but nothing was helping. The process to find out what was happening was so traumatic–I went for biopsies and all kinds of tests, including ones for HIV. I started to have serious anxiety.”

Gary’s plastic surgeon contacted Dermalive’s distributor, but it took them three weeks to respond. The recommendation to Gary at that time was to start a series of steroid injections to try to contain the swelling and the growth of what was now diagnosed as granulomatous reaction, a condition which can leave painful and disfiguring lumps, scarring, and permanent disability such as the inability to smile. In many cases of granulomas, there is no cure.

After six years, Gary is still undergoing steroid injections and has had two surgeries. “I call this the slow slicing of Gary Manzo, death by a thousand cuts. It is that torturous,” says Gary. “I have lived with this for six years now and there is really no end in site. I am finally coping, but it will never go away. I was so disfigured that I had to sell my lucrative financial services practice which took 20 years to build. I lost my livelihood, our savings, and our house. I was no longer able to work at the same capacity. It was just devastating to us emotionally and financially. We stopped travelling, and even going out in public was too stressful.”

Today, Gary is considering yet another proposed solution platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections – which may help to reduce his scar tissue. But this just brings another round of anxiety, as Gary’s trust in medical procedures is very shaky.

Gary started to advocate for change in 2008, contacting both the FDA (USA) and Health Canada to report his side effects and to lobby for change in how drugs and products are approved in Canada. At that time, he found out that Dermalive had never been approved for use in the US. Health Canada ignored his claims and never wrote back or responded. He hopes, though, that his communications did help others who may have had adverse reactions.

A  Dermalive class action suit was certified in Canada on August 11, 2011 and alleges that the defendants were negligent in failing to warn Dermalive recipients and Health Canada of the known risks and dangers associated with the use of Dermalive. The common issues trial is slated for June 2013 and will move this class action one step forward.

“My family deserves some financial compensation,” explains Gary. I also want to have better communication around what new research is out there that can be shared by all the people around the world who are disfigured by Dermalive. There needs to be a loud and clear message to Health Canada. Canadians expect their regulatory bodies to do more research and due diligence when approving new drugs and products before they release them to the public. Government and companies need to be accountable. Personally, from an emotional standpoint, I need to speak out about this and start my own healing process. People who have been injured need to be heard.”

To keep up-to-date with the Dermalive Class Action and other class action news in Canada, subscribe to the Klein Lawyers Newsletter.

If you or someone you know has been affected by Dermalive, tell us your story.  Contact us at 604-874-7171 or fill out a confidential form.


When a Car Accident Turns Your Life Upside-Down: Navigating Through Transition (Part I of a III Part Series)

By Michèle Pankratz

transition-processWe often expect that we can simply jump from our old to new life immediately after a change, but the transition process illustrates why and how that isn’t so easy.

Change is a basic law of nature. But if your life has been turned upside-down by a motor-vehicle accident and you’ve been left with permanent injuries, you know first-hand how traumatic change can be.

Understanding the process of transition is a way you can make sense of what you’re experiencing in the aftermath of your accident and start to take steps towards accepting and building a ‘new normal’ for yourself.

As a starting point, it’s important to distinguish between ‘change’ and ‘transition.’ Change is a specific event or situation that happens, usually very suddenly, for example, the moment of your motor-vehicle accident and injury. Transition, is the lengthier emotional process triggered by a change.

We often expect that we can simply jump from our old to new life immediately after a change, but the transition process illustrates why and how that isn’t so easy.

Renowned American transition expert William Bridges identified three stages of transition we move through when we’ve experienced change: first an ending, then a ‘neutral zone,’ and finally a new beginning. Below are highlights of what you might experience in each stage:

Phase of Transition Typical Reactions Example
1. Ending A period of loss and letting go You’ve been forced out of your comfort zone and have to let go of what you’ve known. You may experience:

  • Fear
  • Resistance
  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Resentment
  • Sadness
  • Grief
  • Frustration
  • Emotional upheaval
Your injuries prevent you from returning to your previous work and you have to leave your job.
2. The ‘Neutral Zone’An in-between period when the past is gone but your new reality isn’t clear. Also sometimes called ‘the pit.’ This stage is a ‘bridge’ between the old and new. You may experience:

  • Confusion/disorientation
  • Uncertainty
  • Anxiety
  • Low energy
  • Depression
  • Low productivity/effectiveness
  • Overwhelm
  • Impatience
  • Disillusionment
  • Doubts about the possibility of a positive future
You’ve advised your employer you can’t return to your old job but don’t yet know what your new work capabilities and options will be.
3. New Beginning Acceptance and embracing of your new reality You’ve begun to embrace the realities of your new life and are building the skills you need to live in a new way. You’re even starting to see some initial positive outcomes. You may experience:

  • Acceptance
  • Adjustment
  • Increased energy
  • A more positive outlook
  • Greater openness
  • A renewed commitment to moving forward with your life
You’ve worked with rehabilitation and occupational therapists as well as a career counsellor and are embarking on a new work life.

From the work of: Bridges, William. Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes–Strategies for Coping with the Difficult, Painful, and Confusing Times of Your Life, 2004.

There’s no set time-frame for moving through each transition phase and you may even find yourself moving between them at times until you new life takes hold. By understanding the transition process, however, you can better comprehend what you’re experiencing–and why–as you come to terms with your altered life circumstances. And while the uncertainty of the ‘neutral zone’ can feel especially difficult or painful, be encouraged it can also be a time of heightened creativity and ‘re-birth’ as you work towards new solutions and opportunities.

While change is never easy, it can be particularly difficult when you’re forced to build a new life after permanent injury from a car accident. One of the most important strategies is to be patient with yourself and the transition process. Don’t push too hard or fast towards a new beginning. It’s akin to forcing a butterfly from its cocoon before it’s ready–as potentially disabling as your life change itself. Instead, guide yourself as sensitively and positively as you can through each step of your transition, reaching out for help whenever you need it along the way.

Stay tuned for other articles in this series in upcoming newsletters:

  • Part 2: Creating Your ‘New Life Blueprint’
  • Part 3: Building Your New Life

About the Author
In addition to providing organization and people development consulting services to business and government clients for the past 28 years, Michèle provides transition and ‘life re-design’ coaching, support, and resources to individuals who have experienced a significant life change and are seeking to create a new, inspired, empowered life reflecting their new realities.
Read more about Michele.

Transition as the Way Through: //

Bridges, William. Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes–Strategies for Coping with the Difficult, Painful, and Confusing Times of Your Life, 25th Anniversary Edition: 2004

Bridges, William. The Way of Transition: Embracing Life’s Most Difficult Moments, 2001.

Bridges, William. The Way of Transition: Embracing Life’s Most Difficult Moments, 2001.

Meet Matthew Cleary

The newest member of the Klein Lawyers, Motor Vehicle Accident team

matthew-cleary-klein-lyonsMatthew recently joined Klein Lawyers, in the motor vehicle practice. Matthew has experience in conducting car accident trials, mediations ad judicial settlement conference. He has worked for several years on MVA files with a stellar track record, including obtaining a number of large settlements and judgments from ICBC; including negotiating a settlement in a minor damage crash for $550,000. He will be managing car accident files and will be an integral part in the motor vehicle accident client file management. Matthew was active at UBC where he was part of the law students Legal Advice Program, helping members of the community with legal assistance and offering free advice to low-income clients with legal disputes. He has also volunteered with the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society as well as volunteered in Jakarta, Indonesia. Matthew is proficient in Bahasa Indoesia and Spanish.

Read Matthew’s bio.

Making Sense of an ICBC Insurance Policy

By Nancy Baye

icbc-policyAmong the world’s great mysteries is one real puzzler. It’s not an ancient scroll covered in hieroglyphics, an architectural wonder that defeats physics, or a creature too alien to identify. It’s the mystery of how insurance coverage from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) works.

Just to set the stage for our mystery, basic car insurance for all drivers in BC must be purchased from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, (ICBC). Additional (optional) car insurance, such as theft and fire insurance, can also be bought from ICBC or from private insurers, who offer competitive pricing and the drive to deliver the best products and service in the marketplace.

Our mystery actually begins nearly 40 years ago, when ICBC was set up as a Crown Corporation. With a primary focus on auto insurance, ICBC also provides information on licensing, vehicle registration, and car and road safety.

“Ironically, there are circumstances where it’s cheaper to pay out-of-pocket for a motor vehicle accident rather than process a claim through ICBC…”

Delving into our cryptic subject, we discover ‘Autoplan Insurance,” the mandatory auto insurance plan in BC. This plan provides basic insurance for motorists and their vehicles including coverage throughout North America, Third-Party Liability and Underinsured Motorist Protection. Third-Party Liability protection covers the cost of damages or injuries where you are at fault in a motor vehicle accident. Drivers in BC require a minimum of $200,000 in coverage, however you can purchase up to $5 million in extended coverage, often recommended since a huge lawsuit would leave you paying anything over the basic $200,000. Underinsured Motorist Protection will protect you and your passengers if you are injured and the driver at fault is uninsured or under-insured, resulting in a lack of funds to pay for your injuries or vehicle damage. Autoplan offers $1 million in this protection.

Most experts agree that further driver insurance coverage is wise. Beyond basic Autoplan, ICBC (along with independent insurers) offers optional coverage:

  • Extended Third-Party Liability coverage for more cost protection when you’re at fault.
  • Excess Underinsured Motorist Protection to protect against at-fault drivers who don’t have insurance enough to cover damage they have caused.
  • Loss of Use coverage, which will get you replacement transportation while your damaged vehicle is being fixed or if it’s a write-off.
  • RoadSide Plus, a package that includes Loss of Use, Vehicle Travel Protection, and more.

Offering a further twist to our auto insurance mystery is the fact that rules of insurance can be broken. Breaches of insurance coverage can happen when:

  • A vehicle is insured in the incorrect rate class, which details how a vehicle can be used.
  • A driver’s licence is expired or has restrictions that are not heeded.
  • The vehicle is used outside of North America.
  • The driver is intoxicated.
  • An insurance claim doesn’t accurately represent what happened.
  • A vehicle was used to intentionally cause damage.
  • The insured vehicle was used to run from the police.

Ironically, there are circumstances where it’s cheaper to pay out-of-pocket for a motor vehicle accident rather than process a claim through ICBC, especially when you risk losing a portion of the driver’s safety discount you may have earned for a safe driving record, therefore increasing your premiums. ICBC’s Claims Related Scale (CRS) is a system that starts all drivers with a base rate or level ‘0.’  Drivers move up or down this scale depending on their driving record. For every claim-free year, the driver moves down one level (or stays at ‘0’) and receive a 5% discount on their insurance. For every claim made against the driver, the driver will move up the scale and incur a higher insurance cost. The maximum discount available after years of safe driving can be as generous as 43%.  On the other hand, surcharges accumulate for accident-prone drivers and these can raise a driver’s premiums by a punishing 75%.  Find more details here at:

This is just an initial peak into ICBC hopefully we have helped untangle some of the mystery. If you have been injured in a car accident, call Klein Lawyers, today.  You owe it to yourself to ensure you get what you deserve from ICBC. After all, you are insured…aren’t you?

Who’s Talking About Klein Lawyers?

lisa-d“It felt good having a lawyer and you made me always feel calm and relaxed throughout this whole journey.  I cannot imagine how or why people who are in car accidents do not hire a lawyer. I can’t imagine doing this on my own and having to deal directly with ICBC.”

Lisa Dickinson Losorelli

Lisa’s Accident
Lisa was in a car accident in Burnaby, BC in 2009 where she sustained substantial injuries including whiplash, bodily injuries, headaches and TMJ (temporomandibular joint in the jaw). After years of rehabilitation, Michele Ma of Klein Lawyers settled Lisa’s case. Lisa is back at work.

Car Accident or Car Incident?

By Andrea Potter

car-accidentAccording to, preventable injuries cost the province of BC over $4 billion annually.  A significant portion of that cost is related to car accidents and related injuries. has a great message: “We want to significantly reduce both the number and severity of preventable injuries in BC.” We want to help spread the word and specifically on changing how people view and refer to car accidents.

Is a car accident an ‘accident’?
Only a very small percentage of car accidents are actually accidents. True accidents are situations that are totally out of the driver’s control. A sink hole appearing right before your eyes, a crack of lightening hitting a tree or a river suddenly flooding the road; these are acts of nature and usually not preventable. But most car incidents are not acts of nature, but  incidents caused by the judgment, choices, actions (or lack of) of a human being.

tree-on-carThis is why we should stop using the term car ‘accident’! By changing our perspective we can change our attitudes, our behaviour and ultimately the number of injuries and death that result from car incidents each year. The benefits are enormous. The biggest one of course, is safety. Secondary to this is the financial benefit. By changing our habits, we can lift the financial burden from individuals, the health care industry and the insurance industry.  The cost for each one of these affects every single British Columbian.

Everyone can make a difference. Don’t participate in risky behaviour when driving. Make the right choices when you are behind the wheel.

Making the appropriate choices is simple:

  • When driving, keep your mind on the road
  • Don’t be distracted
  • Most collisions are preventable and they don’t just happen to other people

Current Class Actions

classactionsKlein Lawyers, is recognized as one of the leading class action law firms in Canada. Class actions allow people to file their claims as a group, when individually they might not be able to afford to launch individual lawsuits.

Class actions create strength in numbers.  For more information go to the Klein Lawyers Class Action FAQ page or refer to the  active files below.

  • Aboriginal Sixties Scoop
  • Alberta Child Welfare
  • Champix
  • Depuy Hip Implants
  • Dermalive
  • Fosamax
  • H.R.T (Hormone Replacement Therapy)
  • Light Cigarettes
  • Pain Pump
  • Paxil
  • Propecia & Proscar
  • RCMP
  • Transvaginal Mesh
  • Vioxx
  • Woodlands
  • Zimmer Durom Hip Implant Class Action

If you have any questions regarding a Class Action, call 604-874-7171 or fill out the How Can We Help Form.

If you’re looking for a car accident lawyers in Vancouver, BC. call us today!

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