What Happened In The MassTorts World Last Month? 2017-Nov

Monday, Nov 27, 2017

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania reversed a 2015 defense verdict awarded to Janssen Pharmaceuticals by the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on account of insufficient evidence that Risperdal was the cause of the plaintiff's breast growth. However, the jury did find that the drug maker illegally marketed the drug since it was only approved by the FDA for use in adults and the plaintiff was only 6 at the time when he was prescribed this drug. The Court has also ordered a new trial to be limited to the issues of causation and damages.

No class action has been established yet for Risperdal cases. Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas has more than 5,500 Risperdal cases filed, which have been centralized under Complex Litigation Center (CLC) for management before a single judge, given the common issues of law and fact that apply to all Risperdal lawsuits across Pennsylvania. J&J was expecting this rise when it canceled the tolling agreements for thousands of cases.

Formation of a multi-district litigation for federally-filed cases may result if a future need arises. No class action filings have been made so far. Thousands of cases are filed in the state courts of California, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and other courts across the country. Janssen has settled several Risperdal cases in the days leading up to their scheduled jury trials. In 2013, the company agreed to pay more than $1.39 billion as a part of a settlement agreement resolving claims that it illegally marketed Risperdal for use in children, among other allegations. Allegations include unlawful marketing, failing to warn about gynecomastia links and higher risks of gynecomastia as compared to other similar drugs, false promotion, and insufficient warnings.

The Pennsylvania litigation has convened eight Risperdal gynecomastia trials since February 2015. Several Risperdal lawsuits have been settled by the drug maker, both before and during trials for an undisclosed amount. The defendant settled the cases without admitting any wrongdoing and continues to deny liability for the related injuries.


Monday, Nov 20, 2017

Going forward, Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) cases will follow a number of new deadlines ordered by the federal court post the 5th Case Management Conference scheduled this November. Nearly 300 PPI cases are filed in the District of New Jersey by patients who developed renal issues allegedly linked to PPI usage. The drugs include Nexium, Prilosec, PrevAcid, and others.

Allegations hurled by the plaintiffs include that the defendants knew of the kidney failure and other kidney complications, yet failed to provide the patients and doctors with appropriate warnings.

All federally-filed PPI lawsuits were centralized in the District of New Jersey, for coordinated discovery and other pretrial proceedings in August, earlier this year, before Judge Claire C. Cecchi.


Thursday, Nov 16, 2017

J&J and its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics were ordered to pay $247 million to a group of 6 plaintiffs by a Texas jury for the alleged injuries linked to their DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implant. The case is the fourth bellwether to go to trial and is a part of the federal multidistrict litigation, MDL No. 2244, established for coordinated management before U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade in the Northern District of Texas. The jury's decision was based on the fact that the defendants knew about the defects, yet failed to warn the medical community and the patients and that they sold a defective product. More than 9,000 lawsuits are filed across the country. DePuy Pinnacle hip implants are linked to an increased risk of hip failure.


Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017

Mirena lawsuits' MDL 2767 linked to intracranial hypertension also called pseudotumor cerebri were centralized in April 2017 before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. This MDL is moving forward speedily. With the first phase of discovery initiated, depositions are taking place proving to be a critical time for the plaintiffs. The defendant, Bayer, continues to maintain that its Mirena is a safe and effective method of birth control. The Daubert Hearings are scheduled to begin early 2018.


Saturday, Nov 11, 2017

Although J&J is witnessing a 'win some - lose some' situation in the ovarian cancer lawsuits linked to its Talcum Powder and Shower to Shower talc products, it won the first Mesothelioma case. The decision was taken by a jury in Los Angeles Superior Court rejecting the plaintiff's claim that she developed mesothelioma (a type of cancer of the tissue that lines the lungs, stomach, heart, and other organs) after using J&J's Talcum Powder.


Friday, Nov 10, 2017

After a three week trial, the federal jury ruled in favor of Cook Medical in what was the first trial over the significant injuries caused by their Celect IVC filter brand. The jury failed to find the company at fault for the plaintiffs' injuries that included migration and perforation of the vena cava.

All Cook IVC filter lawsuits are centralized since October 2014 under MDL No. 2570 (IN RE: Cook Medical, Inc., IVC Filters Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation), presided by Judge Richard L. Young, in the Southern District of Indiana. IVC filters are designed to trap blood clots and stop them from traveling to the heart and lungs. However, the rising complaints of device migration, detachment of components, perforation, and filter fracture led to the filing of thousands of lawsuits against the manufacturers.

The trial for the first Bard IVC Filter lawsuits will begin on March 13, 2018, a part of the MDL: 2641-IN RE: Bard IVC Filters Products Liability Litigation formed in August 2015, and under U.S. Federal Judge David G. Campbell in the U.S. District Court District of Arizona.


Thursday, Nov 9, 2017

The first Philadelphia Xarelto trial began as per schedule this November. The plaintiff, an Indiana woman, alleged she suffered serious internal bleeding while on Xarelto for treating Atrial fibrillation. Compensations have been demanded on the grounds that the drug manufacturer failed to warn the patients about the risks and the lack of treatment in cases of uncontrolled bleeding. The verdict for this mass tort may come in by close of this year. However, reports of witness tampering stalled the beginning of the litigation, which finally commenced later.

Nearly 1,300 additional lawsuits await trial in Philadelphia. Trials have already begun for the lawsuits, which are a part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL- 2592 Xarelto Products Liability Litigation) in Louisiana federal court where over 18,000 cases have been filed. The verdicts for the first three trials were in favor of the defendants who support a strong argument that in spite of them asking the FDA to make changes in the warning label, the FDA stated that it was not necessary.

Xarelto (Rivaroxaban) is an oral anticoagulant, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals that was approved by the FDA in July 2011 in the United States.


Wednesday, Nov 8, 2017

Luzerne County has filed a federal RICO-based lawsuit against various opioid manufacturers and wholesale distributors accusing them of racketeering and illegally marketing painkillers that are highly addictive. The suit is filed in US district Court of Pennsylvania against Purdue, Pharma, Endo, Janssen, and Teva among others, claiming to recover the costs incurred in the increased marketing and prescription, with the result of spikes in addiction and overdose, making it a national opioid epidemic. Defendants are also facing allegation of false and deceptive marketing practices and including pushing the opioid painkillers for treatment of chronic pain to boost the prescriptions for the drugs. The wholesale distributors are accused of intentionally overlooking their legal duties under federal and state law to monitor, detect, investigate, refuse, and report suspicious orders of prescription opiates.


Friday, Nov 3, 2017

A new Talcum Powder lawsuit has been added to the nearly 5,500 existing talcum powder cases filed against giant conglomerate Johnson & Johnson across the country. This case has been filed in Connecticut by the family of a deceased woman who suffered ovarian cancer allegedly caused by J&J's product. MDL 2738 (In re Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Products Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation) was formed in October 2016 before Hon. Freda L. Wolfson, U.S.D.J., in the U.S. District for New Jersey which involved centralization of the federally filed cases. Talcum Lawsuits are also filed in state courts in Missouri, New Jersey, and California.

Essure lawsuits filed against Bayer in various federal and state throughout the nation, witnessed the addition of another lawsuit filed by at least fifty plaintiffs from Texas, Florida, Illinois, and other states alleging that Essure birth implant caused severe injuries.

Abilify Lawsuits are witnessing a steep increase in the number of cases filed against drug makers Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company alleging serious financial damages from compulsive gambling addiction losses. A Louisiana woman has filed the latest lawsuit claiming compensation for the losses she incurred from the gambling addiction as a direct result of her Abilify prescription. Claims against the drug makers include failure to warn the public in spite of being aware of the link between compulsive behavior development and Abilify. The Abilify lawsuits are centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, under MDL No. 2734 (In Re: Abilify Compulsive Behavior Products Liability Litigation), in October 2016, before Chief Judge M. Casey Rodgers. Trials are expected to commence by the end of 2017.

MDL No. 2804 (In Re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation), set for a JPML consolidation hearing November 30, 2017, is joined by a new group of plaintiffs against Opioid manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors; these include unions and locals that would make it a proliferating MDL, if approved.


Wednesday, Nov 1, 2017

A federal judge presiding over the Bair Hugger MDL No. 2666 in the District of Minnesota ordered two Bair Hugger warming blanket lawsuits to be ready for the bellwether trials on and after April 30, 2018. Plaintiffs of nearly 3,500 lawsuits allege they suffered from the use of Bair Hugger system used during their knee and hip replacement surgeries as contaminants had a chance to enter the patients' open surgical wounds and exposed them to potentially deadly infections, such as Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), resistant to antibiotics.


Wednesday, Nov 1, 2017

Plaintiffs of the Stryker LFIT V40 Femoral Head Products Liability Litigation have filed the master complaint under MDL No. 2768, trials for which will commence September 16, 2019, onward. This would now help to streamline the litigation process wherein the new plaintiffs would be able to file their lawsuits using a standard short form. Case Management order is scheduled to be released by the first week of December 2017, followed by a selection of bellwether cases and case-specific discovery. The date for the first bellwether trial is set for September 16, 2019. The defense has been questioned on the deposition questionnaire finding them well beyond the limits of appropriateness.

The presiding Judge Talwani informed that a patient's procedure, surgeon, hardware, and medical history after the surgery would be considered core medical information. She also suggested defense attorneys seek guidance from the plaintiff's legal teams in order to identify core questions that would prove less burdensome for the plaintiffs.

Stryker LFIT V40 Femoral Head cases were filed for the alleged complaints of severe injuries requiring frequent revision surgeries, claiming them to be defective.


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