What Happened In The MassTorts World Last Week? 2018-Aug-20

Friday, Sep 21, 2018
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Merrimack County Superior Court Judge John Kissinger rejected Purdue Pharma's motion to dismiss claims filed against it over opioid’s deceptive marketing in New Hampshire.

The county judge asserted that Purdue Pharma purposely downplayed the health risks of its opioid OxyContin and extensively marketed its benefits. The jury found the state's claims against the opioid manufacturer were not preempted by federal law, and they must face the trial to deal with opioid addiction accusations. Recently, Endo Pharmaceuticals announced to settle all opioid lawsuits filed against them in a separate track from the federal MDL.

More than 400 lawsuits associated with opioid injuries are centralized as a part of multidistrict litigation, MDL No. 2804 (In Re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation) in the Northern District of Ohio before U.S. District Judge Dan A. Polster. The first bellwether trial in the litigation has been scheduled for September 3, 2019.

Saturday, Aug 18, 2018
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In an order issued on August 16, the U.S. JPML agreed to hear oral arguments on September 27, in San Francisco, California, regarding the centralization of gadolinium toxicity lawsuits filed against the manufacturers of MRI contrast dyes over Gadolinium Deposition Disease (GDD).

A group of plaintiffs involved in the growing lawsuits against the makers of MRI contrast dyes, filed a motion in July requesting for a multidistrict litigation (MDL) formation for all Linear Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents (GBCA) lawsuits. The court will decide after the oral arguments whether to consolidate all gadolinium cases filed before one judge in the  Northern District of California.

There are nearly two dozen complaints against the makers of linear gadolinium-based contrast agents such as Magnevist, Omniscan, MultiHance, and others, alleging that the manufacturers failed to warn that gadolinium deposition would lead to persistent headaches, bone, and joint pain, mental acuity problems, skin thickening, and Gadolinium Deposition Disease (GDD) as potential adverse effects.

Gadolinium multidistrict litigation (MDL 1909; In Re: Gadolinium Contrast Dyes Products Liability Litigation) related to Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF), reported to occur in individuals with the renal disorder have been settled by the manufacturer and an FDA warning to avoid using the gadolinium agents in people with kidney disorders.

Friday, Aug 17, 2018
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Health Regulators in South Korea declared a temporary ban on Linear gadolinium agents as lawsuits against gadolinium MRI contrast dyes spike up across the U.S. The ban which will be in effect till the end of the year 2018, applies to a total of 13 linear agents, including Omniscan, Magnevist, and OptiMark informed South Korea's FDA Minister.

Though gadolinium agents are being used in MRI and MRA procedures in the United States, Canada, Japan, and Switzerland, European health regulators put a halt on the use of gadolinium agents in the brain and spinal MRI scans last year.  

Gadolinium agents MultiHance and OptiMark exposure have been reported to cause brain damages and complications to other organs due to gadolinium retention inside the human body. Lawsuits filed against Linear Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents (GBCA) claim Gadolinium Deposition Disease (GDD) and Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis (NSF) as potential adverse effects.

The U.S. FDA issued a black box warning about NSF for 8 MRI gadolinium agents, applicable to individuals with a pre-existing kidney disorder. Gadolinium multidistrict litigation related to NSF (MDL 1909; In Re: Gadolinium Contrast Dyes Products Liability Litigation) was created in 2008, overlooked by Judge Dan Aaron Polster in the Northern District of Ohio.

Friday, Aug 17, 2018
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In a notice published on Wednesday, the New Jersey Supreme Court granted multicounty litigation (MCL) status to all the pending and future hernia mesh lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Ethicon Inc.

The announcement applies only to Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh; the Supreme Court declined to consolidate cases associated with similar devices. The multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2782; In Re: Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible Composite Hernia Mesh Products Liability Litigation) holds more than 900 lawsuits claiming the mesh is defectively designed and is prone to break and migrate inside the body and cause severe damages.

Friday, Aug 17, 2018
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In a joint report issued on August 10, parties involved in the C.R. Bard IVC Filter litigation involving Lisa Hyde's case outlined their respective views about the exact model of the Bard filter that was implanted during her surgery.

The pretrial proceedings were carried out considering the product in question was Bard G2 Filter. However, the manufacturer alleges there is no proper evidence that Hyde received its G2 Filter during the surgery. The defendants maintain that Hyde was implanted with a Bard Denali filter while the plaintiff argues that the implanting surgeon testified it to be Bard G2. The discussion also comprised whether Hyde's case must be tried in separate phases for compensatory and punitive damages. The first phase for deciding whether liability, compensatory damages, and punitive damages must be awarded. And the second phase to decide the amount of the punitive damages, if required.

Another claim by Ms. Mulkey which was scheduled for a November 2018 trial has been postponed to March 2019, considering her health condition, Judge David G. Campbell announced.

The manufacturer and plaintiffs recently agreed on summarization of Bard’s multidistrict litigation involving 10 cases which have been remanded to the district court. These cases would not be considered as bellwether cases since legal proceedings had already begun before consolidation in August 2015. C.R. Bard faces more than 3,500 lawsuits over IVC filter complications like internal injuries due to device breakage and migration. A multidistrict litigation (MDL No.2641; In Re: Bard IVC Filters Products Liability Litigation) was formed for centralized pretrial proceedings in the United States District Court District of Arizona on August 17, 2015.

Thursday, Aug 16, 2018
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In an August 8 order, issued by U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers, a group of 40 cases has been picked for the second Abilify bellwether trial over gambling risks. Both the parties are supposed to strike off 5 cases each from this pool within 14 days from the date of the order to proceed to early bellwether process.

By October 12, the plaintiffs are required to submit a completed fact sheet as well as medical, financial and gambling record authorizations. Each side should strike of additional 5 cases and reduce the pool again to 20 for a "reasonable scope" of fact discovery.

After the completion of discovery, the parties will choose 5 cases for the final trial. The court plans to do a random replacement for any case subsequently removed from the pool.

More than 1,600 Abilify lawsuits are pending in the federal court against Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, each claiming similar allegation that Abilify makers failed to warn about the gambling effects of the drug. Abilify lawsuits were centralized in October 2016 as a part of multidistrict litigation MDL No. 2734 (In Re: Abilify Compulsive Behavior Products Liability Litigation) for coordinated pretrial proceedings in the Northern District of Florida before Judge M. Casey Rodgers.

Thursday, Aug 16, 2018
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U.S. District Judge Edward G. Smith dismissed Marilyn Adams's claims over defective Zimmer prosthetic hip implant stating she failed to file the case within the two-year statute of limitations.

Adams underwent a total hip surgery in 2011 when she was implanted with Zimmer M/L Taper Kinectiv Stem and Neck (the “Kinectiv”) with a Versys Femoral Head (the “Versys Head”), collectively referred to as Zimmer Device. She eventually got it removed in 2015 after experiencing metallosis, which is an adverse local tissue reaction allegedly due to the implant. She filed a lawsuit in February 2017 against the hip implant maker. The Pennsylvania jury stated that she was late by just a few days in filing the case.

Zimmer lawsuits filed across the U.S. claim that the Zimmer M/L Taper Hip Prosthesis and Zimmer VerSys Hip femoral head are defectively designed,  pose major health risks when paired together and have a tendency to corrode and leave metal pieces inside the body often needing the device to be removed.

Zimmer Durom Hip Cup lawsuits were centralized on June 9, 2010, in the U.S District of New Jersey before Judge Susan D. Wigenton as a multidistrict litigation, MDL No. 2158 (In Re: Zimmer Durom Hip Cup Products Liability Litigation).

Thursday, Aug 16, 2018
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In an order issued on July 30, the federal court overseeing the Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) litigation, established the form, procedure, and schedule for the completion and service of Defendant Fact Sheets (DFS).

The court announced that a completed Plaintiff Face Sheet (PFS) must be served by all the defendants either within 120 days from the date of the order's entry or within 120 days from the date on which the PFS is considered complete. If the PFS is served after July 30, the DFS must be served within 90 days from the date of PFS completion. Additionally, the order also states, any defendant can request via an email to the Plaintiffs' Counsel to get a 30 days extension to submit a completed DFS, which cannot be unreasonably withheld by the plaintiff.

The defendants involved in the litigation are AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, Procter & Gamble Co., McKesson Corp., Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., and Pfizer Inc.

More than 4,700 lawsuits are filed by individuals claiming the PPI manufacturers failed to warn them about kidney failure and other renal complications due to the long-term use of Nexium, Prilosec, PrevAcid, Protonix, or Dexilant. PPI lawsuits were centralized on August 2, 2017, as a part of the multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2789; In Re: Proton-Pump Inhibitor Products Liability Litigation [No. II]) overlooked by Judge Claire C. Cecchi in the District of New Jersey.

Tuesday, Aug 14, 2018
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An Ohio jury recently postponed the first bellwether trial date for the Opioid litigation to six months from the earlier date. U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster announced all three cases filed by the local governments against opioid manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies providing opioid drugs, would go for trial on September 3, 2019.

The move would delay the resolution of the opioid epidemic, the major concern among people across the U.S. battling to prove that prescription drugs are unsafe for prolonged use and can cause severe complications. Opioid overdose has been reported to cause abnormal breathing, unconsciousness, vomiting, and even death. Pregnant women taking opioid as a painkiller blame the drug for the alleged birth defects in their babies. As per 2016 statistics on drug overdose deaths in the U.S., 66% of events correspond to opioids addiction.


More than 400 opioid-related lawsuits are centralized as a part of multidistrict litigation, MDL No. 2804 (In Re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation) in the Northern District of Ohio before U.S. District Judge Dan A. Polster.

Monday, Aug 13, 2018
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In a landmark judgment on August 10, a San Francisco jury awarded the groundskeeper $250 million in punitive damages and nearly $40 million in compensatory damages over his alleged cancer.

De Wayne Johnson, who is nearing death, argued for about $412 million in punitive damages and $39 million in compensatory damages over allegations that Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller and Ranger Prov herbicides caused him non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) in 2014. Johnson's win serves as an example for millions struggling to prove their case against the agricultural giant. His case was the first to undergo trial among several hundred affected due to the weedkiller.

While Monsanto officials continue to deny Roundup's involvement in causing deadly cancer, a spokesperson expressed that they are planning to appeal the jury's decision and stand by the product's safety. Roundup lawsuits are consolidated as a part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2741; In Re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation), which holds more than 2,200 lawsuits, presided over by Judge Vince Chhabria, in the U.S. District Court of  San Francisco.



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