What Happened In The MassTorts World Last Week? 2018-Jun-18

Friday, Jul 20, 2018

New York Judge Garguilo recently announced none of the claims against the opioid manufacturers would be dismissed, indicating that each of the plaintiffs' cases was adequate. The defendants named in the litigation are Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson and many others. Judge Garguilo stated the statute of limitation still applied to the cases, limiting the recovery of damages to three years prior to the filing of the lawsuit.

Lawsuits filed against the prescription opioid manufacturers claim that the manufacturers tried to downplay the risks of opioid addiction and considered profit over public safety. A common argument by the drug makers is that the state law is preempted by federal Food and Drug Agency regulations, so they should not be made liable to resolve damages incurred at a more local level.

More than 600 lawsuits have been filed at the state, city, and county-level. A multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2804; In Re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation) was formed on December 5, 2017, in the Northern District of Ohio presided over by Judge Dan A. Polster.


Friday, Jun 15, 2018

The Texas JPML on Wednesday granted consolidation request for 16 opioid lawsuits by the defendants Purdue Pharma, McKesson Corp. and other opioid makers and distributors from Texas counties.

Considering the common ground for all these cases, the panel decided that a single pretrial judge should take charge of these 16 cases and any tag-along cases that may follow against all defendants.

More than 400 opioid-related lawsuits are centralized as a part of a 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 state court trial against Opioid Big Pharma industry and its affiliates is slated to begin in May 2019 in Oklahoma.


Friday, Jun 15, 2018

AbbVie Inc. won yet another lawsuit on June 14 over claims that its AndroGel caused a man's deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This is the fifth testosterone replacement therapy bellwether trial, which began on June 5, in the Illinois State Court for the plaintiff Robert Rowley.

Rowley filed a lawsuit in 2014 after suffering from DVT in April 2013 and in late 2015. He blamed Androgel use for both the incidents. The federal jury dismissed the plaintiff's allegation that AndroGel use led to his blood clot. Last month, plaintiff Arthur Myers and his wife lost to AbbVie, as the jury stated that the drug was not responsible for his bilateral pulmonary embolism that occurred in February 2008.

Testosterone Replacement Therapy lawsuits are centralized before U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly in the Northern District of Illinois as a part of a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2545; In Re: Testosterone Replacement Therapy Products Liability Litigation).


Thursday, Jun 14, 2018

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit confirmed dismissal order for all Lipitor diabetes cases passed by U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel in 2017 since there was no reversible error for the decision.

In the dismissal order issued by Judge Gergel, almost all of the plaintiffs’ expert witness testimony was excluded and a motion for summary judgment was filed by the drug maker, arguing that the plaintiffs failed to prove their case without an expert opinion. The plaintiffs appealed the federal court’s decision to dismiss almost 2,000 cases from the MDL, and an opinion was issued by the Fourth Circuit’s three-judge panel on June 12 supporting the lower court's take on Lipitor litigation.

Pfizer’s Lipitor is a cholesterol-lowering drug facing litigation over the risk of Type-2 diabetes in female patients. More than 3,000 women filed product liability cases against Pfizer in the federal court, which were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation ( MDL No.2502; In Re: Lipitor (Atorvastatin Calcium) Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation (No. II)) in South Carolina.


Wednesday, Jun 13, 2018

Endo International announced a $200 million settlement, thus resolving 1,300 Testosterone product liability cases. The company stated this "master settlement agreement" will conclude "all known" cases and the deal does not include any admission of wrongdoing. The plaintiffs are required to release their claims from a settlement fund where the amount will be deposited by the company.

About 900 testosterone lawsuits are federally-filed against Endo and several other drugmakers for hiding potential risks of TRT. Additional lawsuits are also filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and in state courts.

Testosterone Replacement therapy lawsuits were consolidated as a multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2545 ) in June 2014 before U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. All the lawsuits claim similar allegations that the drugmakers falsely marketed the TRT drug and failed to provide adequate warnings to the consumers.


Wednesday, Jun 13, 2018

Zimmer NexGen knee implant multidistrict litigation may end soon as counsel heading a group of consumers confirmed about a final confidential settlement for nearly 300 lawsuits.

The counsel for the plaintiffs told the U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer, the 7-year ongoing litigation would be resolved soon after minor administrative task completion. The undisclosed amount if approved would be divided among plaintiffs who filed lawsuits against Zimmer claiming complications occurred due to the defectively designed knee implant.

Zimmer NexGen knee implant lawsuits were consolidated in 2011, as a part of MDL 2272  (In Re: Zimmer NexGen Knee Implant Products Liability Litigation) in the Northern District of Illinois.


Wednesday, Jun 13, 2018

Pradaxa, manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. is an anticoagulant prescribed to prevent blood clots and reduce the risk of stroke. The drug which was approved by FDA in 2010, allegedly caused serious injuries like internal bleeding in several patients. Some reports indicate Pradaxa use led to gastrointestinal bleeding, heart attack, stroke, brain hemorrhage, kidney bleeding, and death.

In 2014, the drug maker agreed to settle more than 4,100 lawsuits for $650 million. More than 2,400 lawsuits, filed after that settlement, are pending in the state court against Boehringer Ingelheim. The first two trials held in March 2018 and May 2018 concluded verdicts in favor of the defendants. The next set of trials are slated to begin in September 2018 and February 2019.

In December 2017, Judge Herndon recommended termination of Pradaxa multidistrict litigation (MDL 2385; In Re: Pradaxa [Dabigatran Etexilate] Products Liability Litigation), which was formed in 2012 in the Southern District of Illinois.


Wednesday, Jun 13, 2018

On June 8, 2018, plaintiffs and defendants in the federal litigation over kidney injuries linked to Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) submitted proposals to the Court for the first bellwether scheduling order and trial date. After an initial disagreement, both the parties agreed upon May 2020 as the date to begin the first bellwether trial.

The proposed agenda indicates the parties will review with Judge Checchi a tolling agreement, updates on plaintiff and defendant fact sheets, schedules for depositions, discovery limits and other issues.

More than 4,500 lawsuits against popular heartburn drugs Nexium, Protonix, Prevacid are pending in the federal court alleging the manufacturers failed to warn about the potential risk of chronic kidney disorders.

Similar cases have been centralized as a part of multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2789; In Re: Proton-Pump Inhibitor Products Liability Litigation [No. II]) in the District of New Jersey before Judge Claire C. Cecchi for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.


Tuesday, Jun 12, 2018

Los Angeles Superior Judge Stephen Moloney announced a mistrial in Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder lawsuit alleging asbestos in the talc developed mesothelioma in the 94-year-old plaintiff, Ilene Brick. Considering the woman's death last week, the California Judge declared that the trial would not progress since certain damages were no longer allowable to the plaintiff.

Brick's attorneys claimed her prolonged exposure to the talcum powder containing asbestos caused deadly cancer in her. However, the defendants argued that her pleural mesothelioma was caused by the Kent brand of cigarettes which she smoked for four to five years in the 1950s.

Thousands of cases have also been filed against J&J by plaintiffs and their families claiming exposure to asbestos-containing talc has allegedly caused ovarian cancer. A multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2738; In Re: Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Products Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation) was formed in 2016 in the District of New Jersey, presided over by Hon. Freda L. Wolfson, U.S.D.J./ Hon. Lois H. Goodman, U.S.M.J. for coordinated pretrial proceedings.


Tuesday, Jun 12, 2018

According to a case management order dated May 29, 2018, the federal bellwether trials for Atrium Medical Corp.’s C-Qur hernia mesh will begin on February 19, 2020. A settlement conference for the first lawsuit selected for trial is to be convened latest by January 6, 2020.

The order further states that the counsel for plaintiffs and defendants must pick 8 cases each by July 20, 2018, for inclusion in the initial discovery pool. Only those hernia mesh lawsuits filed on or before April 1, 2018, which have plenary jurisdiction in the District of New Hampshire would be eligible. For the expert discovery, the plaintiffs and defendants are required to select 4 trial pool cases each, by March 1, 2019, from the initial discovery lot.

Atrium C-Qur surgical mesh is used for inguinal hernia repair procedure. Allegations against the mesh claim that the polypropylene used in C-Qur is biologically incompatible with human tissue and has been reported to cause organ perforation and even death in some cases. More than 470 lawsuits claiming C-Qur hernia mesh complications are a part of a federal multidistrict litigation ( MDL No. 2753 In Re: C-Qur Mesh Products Liability Litigation) in the District of New Hampshire overlooked by Hon. Judge Landya B. McCafferty.


Monday, Jun 11, 2018

Xarelto:

Lawsuits against the anti-clotting drug Xarelto, alleged to cause internal bleeding and infection in patients, are piling against the drug makers Johnson & Johnson and Bayer Corporation. Xarelto is used to treat deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism to reduce the risk of stroke and clotting. Earlier bellwether trials have resulted in the favor of the manufacturers. There are more than 21,000 lawsuits claiming the manufacturers downplayed the risks of Xarelto. U.S. District Court Judge Eldon Fallon is overseeing the pretrial proceedings and bellwether trials in the multidistrict litigation (MDL - 2592  In Re: Xarelto Products Liability Litigation) in the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Invokana:

Lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals for type-2 diabetes medication Invokana continue to grow claiming the patients suffered amputations, diabetic ketoacidosis, and kidney damage. Considering the adverse effects of the drug, FDA ordered a black box warning to be included with Invokana, Invokamet and Invokamet XR. The first Invokana amputation trial is slated to begin in September 2018. Invokana injury lawsuits are mounting in the consolidated multidistrict litigation (MDL) before the U.S. District Court Judge Hon. Brian R. Martinotti in the District of New Jersey (MDL No: 2750).

Mirena:

The popular birth control device Mirena's manufacturer Bayer Healthcare continues to face product liability lawsuits for failing to warn patients about health risks of the IUD. Plaintiffs allege Mirena use led to vision problems, headaches, neck pain, and pseudotumor cerebri (PTC). More than 2,400 Mirena lawsuits are pending as a part of the multidistrict litigation (MDL 2434 In Re: Mirena IUD Products Liability Litigation (uterine perforation and migration) and MDL 2767 In Re: Mirena IUD Levonorgestrel-Related  Products Liability Litigation (NO. II)).

Taxotere:

Accusations from breast cancer survivors and other cancer patients against chemotherapy drug Taxotere continue to grow as a part of the multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2740 In Re: Taxotere (Docetaxel) Products Liability Litigation) before Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt in the Eastern District of Louisiana. About 7,820 lawsuits pending against Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC accuse the drugmaker of hiding the risk of permanent hair fall associated with Taxotere. The first four cases selected for bellwether will go to trial in January 2019.


Monday, Jun 11, 2018

U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson dismissed 95 Plavix lawsuits against Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi-Aventis as the patients involved in the MDL failed to respond to the court orders. It remains unclear whether the patients will represent themselves or retain new counsel after the attorneys withdraw the case.

Plavix is an oral antiplatelet prescribed to reduce the risk of a future stroke or heart attack. Lawsuits against the drug maker claim adverse effects like gastrointestinal bleeding, and severe bleeding even with ordinary wounds. Similar cases are consolidated as part of a multidistrict litigation MDL No. 2418 (In Re: Plavix Marketing, Sales Practices, and Product Liability Litigation (No. II)) in the District of New Jersey.


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