Huge Breakthrough in Lawsuits Against ECT Shock Device Manufacturers


A long-awaited major electroconvulsive therapy case that was on the eve of trial just settled to the satisfaction of the injured ECT patients and the DK Law Group, LLP by trial attorney David M. Karen in California. While the settlement amount remains confidential, as an expert in the case I am pleased to report that this resolved litigation is a significant victory. The evidence secured has paved the way for more suits against ECT manufacturers that are on the way!

The lawsuit against the ECT manufacturer had its critical breakthrough when the California judge recently allowed the case to proceed to jury trial after their motion for summary judgment was denied. The judge’s decision has effectively established the methodology for bringing this and other lawsuits against ECT manufacturers for their failure to warn of known or knowable risks of brain damage caused by ECT.

As summarized by plaintiff’s attorney Karen, the Court effectively ruled as follows:

• A reasonable jury could find that the ECT device manufacturer failed to warn plaintiffs’ treating physicians of brain damage resulting from ECT, leading to the oft-reported and acknowledged symptoms of permanent memory loss and cognitive impairment.

• A reasonable jury could find that the ECT device manufacturer was in violation of the relevant federal regulations.

• A reasonable jury could find that Plaintiffs suffered brain damage as a result of ECT.

• A reasonable jury could find that the ECT device manufacturer caused Plaintiffs’ brain damage through failure to warn their treating physicians of brain injury, or alternatively by failing to investigate and report allegations of brain damage and permanent memory loss to the FDA, so that information would be available to the public.

My task as the psychiatric expert was to establish that ECT does in fact cause chronic cognitive and mental impairment, and brain damage. I did so in part with the many scientific articles available for free on my ECT Resource Center at I will follow up this first report on the case with analyses of the implications of the lawsuit and with my scientific analysis that helped the judge understand that a reasonable jury might indeed find that ECT causes brain damage.

An excerpt from the law firm’s announcement, published for the first time below, describes their outstanding array of experts:

An assembled cast of accomplished experts in the industry all stepped up to support the ECT Plaintiffs. Including the single most compelling and critical ECT Psychiatrist in the country, the ex-Director of the FDA; the author of the ECT FDA Citizen Petition; and the preeminent NASA/JPL electrical engineer, Plaintiffs were surrounded by some of the greatest experts anywhere — all testifying on behalf of these Plaintiffs that violations of law occurred and establishing that brain injuries were and are caused by ECT.

This is the first in a series from me on the implications of this monumental lawsuit.

Meanwhile, here is the concluding portion of DK Law Group, LLP commentary on the case, including an application for anyone wishing to be evaluated as the plaintiff in potential future suits:

[Despite the array of experts] throughout the litigation, the defense for the manufacturer continued to shirk its responsibility, refusing to acknowledge the flagrant violations in FDA reporting requirements that were at the root of this litigation. Despite decades of complaints of cognitive impairment and disability following ECT, the evidence amassed demonstrated ZERO adverse event reporting on the FDA’s MAUDE database by the Defendant as of the date suit was filed.

While the manufacturers have sought to ignore it for decades, brain damage is the reason now being demonstrated as the cause for the cognitive impairment and memory loss that results after the administration of electroconvulsive shock therapy. All ECT patients are entitled to a warning of that undeniable fact. If that warning is not supplied and an ECT patient suffers the likely brain damage as a result of ECT, those that have sustained lingering cognitive impairment or disability following ECT are entitled to a remedy from the manufacturers who unlawfully failed to warn. Following the recent favorable rulings, the trial attorneys were able to conclude the matter with a confidential settlement on behalf of these Plaintiffs. The discovery obtained from the FDA and the Defendant themselves has now paved the way for help to continue to be provided to all others that have been injured by ECT so that justice can now be achieved for the world of ECT shock survivors.

If you or a loved one are still suffering from lingering side effects of ECT treatment performed within the last few years, (or were misled/advised that ECT was not the cause of your lingering issues from earlier ECT treatment) our experts have determined that brain damage is the likely cause. While testing is required, if you were not warned of the risk of brain damage or permanent impairment of cognitive ability as a risk that may occur from ECT and would like more information to determine if remedies are available to you, feel free to send the following information to: [email protected]:

Name, Address, Cell # and Email address
# of ECT sessions
Date of last ECT
State of residence
Location of treatment
Summary of post-ECT complaints and duration
Description of any Post-ECT treatment or testing

While the liability and damage evidence secured was compelling for this California trial, laws in all States vary and require individual assessment. Accordingly, don’t wait as statutes of limitation may apply to limit the time in which remedies may be sought.

“Well, what is the sense of ruining my head and erasing my memory, which is my capital,
and putting me out of business? It was a brilliant cure but we lost the patient.
It’s a bum turn, Hotch, terrible.” —Ernest Hemingway on ECT

To be continued….


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  1. We need it in the UK and for the psych drugs as well, especially those put on polypharmacy long term… year or more and the three year deadline removed because you can have your memory taken out and totally screwed up for more than three years. Arn’t there some greedy UK lawyers working on this ?

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      • It should be noted that the shock survivor who worked tirelessly to find someone to believe her and willing to take on ECT litigation had contacted over 200 law firms before DK stepped up to the plate.
        Mr. Karen and his firm are truly heroes in my eyes. I hope more suits are filed, including medical malpractice as it relates to electroshock. This quack procedure must be banned.

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    • For the UK lawyers who do not know this. Psych drugs take out your memory as well, especially benzodiazepines used in polypharmacy. I recently discovered in 2014 I was subject to high doses of pregabalin (GABA derivative doing almost the same as benzodiazepines) as well as ‘antipsychotics’, benzodiazepines and sleeping tablets. I have no memory of pregabalin what so ever, and the memory of specifically who I was before, what I did and what actually happened to me only came back gradually over 4 years. Yet you only have three years to make a claim.

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  2. Enforced, psychotropic drug induced memory loss MUST also be actionable.

    I have seen the despair as Mirtazapine, (enforced for misdiagnosed SSRI induced Akathisia) devastated memory and caused meta-memory injuries in a matter of days.

    Result – add Quetiapine: —–> “therapeutic” outcome?
    Further AKATHISIA. Increasing neurotoxicity —> Incarceration.

    Revised “diagnosis” —-> “Bipolar”.

    Change to Risperidone + Valproate: ——> “Therapeutic” outcome?

    Devastating injuries to Brain + Multiple systems/organ toxicity.

    Eventually “returned home” unable to walk or speak. Totally unrecognisable. Drug-wrecked. Destroyed.

    Tardive dyskinesia.

    Endocrine system – multiple damage –
    (Exacerbated by their failure to diagnose hyper-prolactinaemia – crying out with pain from bursting-breast enlargement).
    Thyroid tumour.
    Seborrhoea +++ —-> Extensive, disfiguring antipsychotic induced pseudo-acne.

    Immune-dysfunction —-> Skin additionally disfigured with atopy, eczema, oedema, erythema.

    Genito-Urinary system injuries.

    Gastro-intestinal ADRs: Metabolic syndrome. Fat re-distribution syndrome.

    Recurrent chest pain, possibly cardiogenic.
    (Too terrified to trust any doctor ever again – FOR GOOD REASON).

    Temperature dysregulation syndrome.

    Still subtle meta-memory injuries after five years free from all unnecessary and enforced prescription drug poisoning.

    Seven vital years of life lost within an empathy-gene-deleted, alleged “medical speciality”.

    A National Health Service provided, funded, and endorsed systematic Guantanamo.

    Physical, emotional, psychological abuse. (?et al?)

    Brutal, sarcastic, sadistic “nursing-care”.
    Parents blamed.
    “Patient” blamed, (And they dare to bleat about “pill-shaming”).
    Family left to rehabilitate with no professional support from appropriately trained and skilled, genuine “care providers”.

    Socially totally isolated. No relationship hopes. No employment hopes. Economic deprivation for life.

    All for being naive enough to discuss normal exam stress with a G.P. and to be pedalled an SSRI.

    “If I were you I would take” them said this doctor, when the suggestion was questioned.

    Coercion Negates Consent! Prescribers are largely ignorant of SSRI/SNRI induced AKATHISIA.
    Refer to psychiatrist – must be emergent severe mental illness???

    So when are those responsible for this iatrogenic total human destruction to become accountable?

    “Psychiatry” means “Never Having To Say You’re Sorry”.

    Even compensation for the memory injuries alone would help regain a token of the beautiful, fulfilling athletic, fun-loving, generous, empathetic, fund-raising, joyous life-lived before the onslaught of psychiatry’s unforgivable serial misdiagnosis, fanaticism, poisoning and deprivation of liberty.

    What a disgrace that those responsible dare to call themselves “doctor”.

    TRM 123. Retired Consultant Physician.

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    • Yep that is it and you can add lithium to that and all it’s harms to the deluded ‘doctor’ criminality. I hope the lawyers are reading your factual words. They also use the families to collude in trying to prove their assertion of mental ‘illness’ because the families are usually the ones who fucked-up the individual in the first place, are very much – also – to blame and the ‘doctors’ exploit this using them to ‘Look’ for all signs of ‘relapse’. If it’s not relapse it’s a new diagnosis of ‘autism’ because you park your car in the same place at the supermarket and don’t like certain music or do like certain music… do art, do math… etc etc

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      • Not always the case. Just like child molesters may not be family members but teachers/clergy/baby sitters. My brother and I both had a Sunday school teacher tell us we would go to Hell if we cried. She taught the pre-schoolers.

        More traumatizing than it sounds. J did better because he was a sweet, sunny boy everybody liked. I was a naughty child who day dreamed and asked questions Mrs. X couldn’t answer. J also has a lot of emotional resiliency I lacked.

        Mom and Dad were upset and angry when we told them years later. We didn’t before since we thought it was okay for Mrs. X to say that stuff. They were mystified when we both brooded over Hell, obsessed over being wicked, and stayed awake at night crying.

        “NAMI mommies” are all too real however. Not to be confused with loving family members who seek out NAMI in desperation to help suffering family members and watch aghast as they decline in every way possible and die young. A friend of mine left NAMI in disgust when they let her sister die. I told her I was leaving psychiatry. She said, “Thank God!” Donna, her sister and my friend, had died just a few years ago.

        (Hey, Donna was “meds compliant” when she died at 49 so who cares how she suffered and curled up and died? NAMI doesn’t give a rip if consumers live or die as long as they consume. They were also happy to let another friend of mine die of a grand mal seizure brought on by a neuroleptic at the ripe age of 29. Blood on YOUR hands NAMI!)

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    • Wow, what an horrific journey.
      Psychiatric drugs are quite scary.

      Psychiatrists are taught the figure of 0.5-1 % enduring memory impairment.

      I suspect how a practitioner uses that figure is important. Conceptualising it in a categorical way (as an ADR that happens to a small number of people) would have a different effect (on practice) than seeing it in a dimensional way.

      If, given “best practice” (?), an effect on memory happens to many more than 0.5-1.0, with a percentage having severe effects, the warnings (which are sometimes glossed over) should be much stronger.

      Having survived what was clearly a dreadful ordeal, it would be helpful to receive your observations on what you feel would have been a better approach to assisting you.

      Would it be “simply” a matter of a more compassionate, patient, engaged approach. Sometimes achieving a shared understanding, and truly “being with” a suffering person does make more difference than throwing pills (and labels) at them.

      If you feel inclined, and don’t mind revisiting your journey for a few moments, I would appreciate whatever comments you could make.

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  3. Great work as usual Dr. Breggin. Electroshock ought to be banned.

    In reality, psychiatry itself ought to be abolished completely, and survivors of psychiatric torture everywhere ought to be compensated for their suffering. It is great that the evils of electroshock are coming to light. The same protection and compensation ought to be afforded to survivors of any kind of psychiatric abuse, including involuntary incarceration, drugging, polypharmacy, labeling, and general psychiatric torture in all of its forms.

    Psychiatry is a pseudo-scientific system of slavery, and the sooner it is abolished, the better off we will be.

    Thank you for your great work Dr. Breggin. I wish that you would respond to emails to your website, but in the mean time, I commend you for the great work that you are doing.

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    • Yes.

      Remember Dr. Farid Fata? He paid $$$$ to the victims he maimed through unnecessary chemo treatments. He also went to prison.

      Psychiatry is made up of Farid Fatas. The only branch of medicine with a 0% recovery rate that shortens people’s lives by 25 years.

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      • Ouch! I’m not a FF. I prefer not to use drugs and talk to people. Even though talking doesn’t pay as well as drugging. It’s the easiest thing to “diagnose” MDD and write a script but largely useless. Much more involved to spend tome and work towards an understanding.

        And if you don’t have a basic kindness/compassion for the person sitting in front of you there’s little point.

        Many of my patients thus treated do recover (arguably some or many would have recovered anyway – but a lot feel supported and cared for while they do). Having said that, I’m not particularly “defensive” regarding psychiatry – it needs to be rigorously held to account – especially as it sucks a huge amount of public resources.

        “Lost Connections” by Johan Hari is probably the best thing on depression I’ve ever read (and, dare I say, I’ve read a lot).

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  4. Oh happy day! My gratitude goes out to each and everyone who helped to attain this groundbreaking settlement! From the early pioneers who spoke out such as Dr. Breggin, to MindFreedom members and other activists like Leonard Roy Frank, Ted Chabasinski, David Oaks, Celia Brown, and Mary and Jim Maddock (as well as other members of the international ‘shock committee’) and more recently, activists like Deborah SCHWARTZKOPFF , founder of ECT Justice. Well done!

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  5. Striking that there has been no media, that I can see, which has picked up this story. Complete silence. Why is that?

    And, we see 100’s of comments on many articles, bc ppl seem to be very concerned about or engaged in the topics.
    But here we have 12 comments, suggesting little interest in this topic.
    That is discouraging.
    Recognition also to Bonnie Burstow for her articles, her novel, and her efforts to have this lunatic procedure banned.

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    • I was waiting for something to appear on the lawyers’ website. Slightly worried by the fact that their latest update on the case goes back to April. And I am not sure I really understand what is going on – have the machine manufacturers made an out-of-court settlement?

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  6. My take is that the significance of the decision, beyond whatever the settlement terms are, is that the claims made against the ECT makers were not dismissed out of hand but considered reasonable and worthy of taking before a judge or jury, which sets a precedent for future cases. (Though I am prepared to stand corrected.)

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    • Those were my thoughts too oldhead – that the court decided that there was a case to answer and at that stage the manufacturers decided to pay up rather than risk a trial. But they must realise that there are more in the wings so isn’t that a rather foolhardy thing to do?

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      • They may have seen no option, which would be encouraging. It strikes me that this issue should be portrayed in the same light as the manufacture of pharmaceuticals for lethal injections, i.e. something against which there should be societal pressure.

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    • You are right. The defense submitted what’s called a “Motion for Summary Judgment” or arguments for why the District Court should dismiss the case outright based on an alleged deficiency in the evidence supporting the Plaintiffs’ cases.

      The parties submitted their evidence, and the District Court judge ruled that Plaintiffs had presented evidence to the point where trial is necessary on the issues of whether brain damage is a risk associated with ECT, whether Plaintiffs suffered brain damage, and whether the defendant-manufacturer properly warned of the risk of brain damage. The defendant was willing to agree to a settlement for a confidential sum in order to avoid trial.

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  7. “82-year-old Max Fink of New York, widely regarded as the “grandfather of shock” and the author of many books and articles on ECT, was scheduled to testify for the defense, but in the end only watched the trial from the courtroom. The defense did not call him as a witness due to incriminating statements made under oath at his deposition.”

    ‘incriminating statements made under oath’ Anyone know…care to inform us ?

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