Highly experienced and renowned trial attorneys will grace the most established AAJ 2017 event in Boston, motivating everyone connected to the legal fraternity. As the agenda reflects, AAJ is focusing on Mass Torts Litigation, covering a wide span of drugs, surgical devices, and products. Neural IT a consistent participant at AAJ events list's out the current and emerging mass torts that are of utmost importance.
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There was some news on the 3M Bair Hugger Lawsuit front as well. As per the Amended Order dated June 15, 2017, six lawsuits of eight along with their sequence of order of representation were selected to be a part of bellwether trials scheduled to begin on February 26, 2018. The main allegation faced by 3M Bair Hugger System was of the increased chances of developing a post-operative deep-joint infection by patients undergoing hip or knee replacements at the site of their implant. Plaintiffs further claim that 3M and Arizant, the manufacturers, have been aware of this issue for years but have failed to alter the design of the Bair Hugger or warn doctors of this risk. Bair Hugger - MDL 15-2666, Forced Air Warming Devices Products Liability Litigation represents more than 1950 lawsuits filed in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota.
From the Stryker Hip-Implant lawsuit comes the news that 3 plaintiffs had put forth a motion to remand three claims to the Massachusetts state court. All three claims were against Surgi-Care, a Massachusetts distributor of the Stryker hip components, wherein the plaintiffs suffered hip replacement complications following implantation of Stryker's Accolade TMZF Hip Stem and LFIT Anatomic V40 Femoral Head. The manufacturer, however, argued that since Surgi-care had no power to make any changes to the design, labeling, or packaging of the LFIT V40 Femoral Heads, the plaintiffs were barred from pursuing claims against Surgi-Care; hence, it could be removed on a pre-emption basis. The plaintiffs, on the other hand, are confident that the defendant's theory for removal is baseless and does not apply to lawsuits that involve devices cleared via the FDA's 510(k) program, which was the case with LFIT V40 Femoral Heads.
IVC Filter lawsuits are also stirring up quite some news; the number of lawsuits being filed is going up with more incidents of retrieval problems coming forward along with incidents of dislocation and lodging of the filter parts to other sensitive areas/organs further leading to more surgeries and complexities. A recent study published in Cardiovascular Interventions strongly suggests that retrieval of the IVC implants must be done within 7months from the date of the implant which might otherwise lead to increased chances of complications and problems, eventually demanding advanced removal procedures.
Invokana, (a diabetic medication and SGLT2 inhibitor) was also in the news as the FDA now requires a serious boxed warning to be highlighted in the labels about the increased risk of leg and foot amputations. This decision is bagged by the results of two interim clinical trials and is applicable to all the canagliflozin drug labels. Previously, a safety warning about the increased risk of acute kidney injury and kidney failure, followed by a warning of increased risk of ketoacidosis was ordered by the FDA to be a part of the label.
Invokana Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) is filed before U.S. District Judge Brian Martinotti in the District of New Jersey. Cases have also come forward, wherein plaintiffs have further alleged that the use of Invokana resulted in an increased risk of ischemic stroke along with Urosepsis which is a dangerous type of urinary tract infection. The number of litigation filed is expected to rise as more research results are brought forth.
The jury for a second time, consecutively, ruled in favor of the defendants, J&J and Bayer, in the Xarelto Lawsuit trial. The defendant came in strong, stating that the death of the plaintiff was caused due to several other underlying conditions and not Xarelto. This verdict has further strengthened the manufacturer's count and would require a thorough preparation by the plaintiffs and their legal aid in the upcoming lawsuits. The next hearing is scheduled for this August, in Mississippi.
To begin with, the Plaintiffs of Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI) presented a motion, calling for centralization before U.S. Judge David R. Herndon of the Southern District of Illinois. This is to be followed by a July 27 hearing before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL). This time the Plaintiffs are looking forward to a positive ruling as JPMDL had denied centralization in January earlier this year. However, significant developments led to the scheduling of a second hearing. The defendants were expected to submit their responses by June end. More than 160 cases have already been filed in 28 federal district courts.
The medications in question are Nexium, Protonix, Prilosec, and Dexilant. The main allegation faced by the manufacturers: AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, Procter & Gamble Co., McKesson Corp., Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., Pfizer Inc., and Pfizer subsidiary Wyeth is that their products caused kidney injuries including acute interstitial nephritis (AIN), chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease. The details are docketed in the case Re: Proton-Pump Inhibitor Products Liability Litigation [No. II], MDL Docket No. 2789, JPMDL.
The mass-tort litigation and class actions in state courts will face a challenging time with the recent ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that has passed a limited liability lawsuits order which might restrict the ability of plaintiffs, commonly injured by the product, to join together to sue companies. According to this new ruling, the supreme court has put limits on where lawsuits can be brought against corporations, restricting jurisdiction to the state where the company is housed or the place where the alleged harm occurred. This decision had an immediate effect on Bristol-Myers Squibb litigations filed in California facing allegations against its drug Plavix, thereby, reducing the number from 592 plaintiffs to only 86, who were residents of California to move forward. A St. Louis judge immediately, post this ruling, declared a mistrial for the talcum cases wherein two out of three plaintiffs were from out of state. This verdict can also have an impact on the previous $307 million talc verdicts and on the cases to be heard in the future.
The FDA has the number of adverse events reported for the Morcellator related cancer incidents have reduced significantly; whereas, the number of Essure implants related adverse events reports have gone up. Two cases have also been shortlisted by the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in the Testosterone Replacement Therapy Product Liability Litigation, MDL 2545, against Eli Lilly and other drug companies alleging that the TRT therapy leads to the development of cardiovascular and other related conditions. On the other hand, drug maker AbbVie, also faced the first bellwether trial in a federal court in Chicago earlier this June for its low-t product, Androgel, accusing the company for its aggressive marketing strategies leading to thousands of men and their doctors to believe that they had low-t levels, which was actually a normal sign of aging.
The unpredictable rise and fall in the litigations subject to legal announcements keep the lawyers and plaintiffs on toes, and they need a strong will and melancholic temperament to keep going and succeeding. With the advent of summer, we are in the second half of 2017. Now is an ideal time to review and define what the future holds.
Another ruling went in favor of the defendant, drug manufacturer Pfizer, for its antidepressant drug Zoloft by a panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, when they ruled to uphold the April 2016 dismissal of 300 Zoloft cases on the grounds that the testimony given by the Plaintiff's end wasn't backed by a thorough scientific link. The order was passed earlier by U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe in Philadelphia. The company now confidently claims that "extensive science" supports the safety and efficacy of Zoloft and is running high on their 2016 sales that had crossed $300 million. Zoloft belongs to a group of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). MDL 2342: Zoloft (Sertraline Hydrochloride) Products Liability Litigation was set up in 2012 wherein the manufacturer faces allegations that Zoloft causes cardiac birth defects in children when taken by women during early pregnancy.