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

Monday, Oct 30, 2017

The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas overruled a motion filed by J&J subsidiary Ethicon requesting the court to decline the deposition notices that the Transvaginal mesh lawsuit plaintiffs had sent to company officials and included Ethicon's own strategic sourcing manager. Based on the Bristol-Myers Squibb decision, Ethicon had demanded 90 cases to be ousted as they were filed in the Philadelphia court by out-of-state plaintiffs, which left around 30 cases in the kitty. The plaintiffs put forth a strong argument stating that the plastic mesh materials used in the Ethicon mesh implants were supplied by Secant located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. A Pennsylvania judge granted a limited depositions grant of a corporate designee and the strategic sourcing manager for Ethicon, Inc. The company has faced four previous defeats when it was ordered by the jury to pay a total nearing $48 million to Ethicon transvaginal mesh plaintiffs.

TVM lawsuits allege that the manufacturers failed to properly test their products and did not provide adequate warnings regarding the risks associated with the devices including the lack of any human trial by-passing the 510(K) approval way. Lawsuits are filed against a number of manufacturers, including American Medical Systems, Inc., Boston Scientific Corp, and C.R. Bard, Inc


Tuesday, Oct 24, 2017

Plaintiffs of the first two Xarelto bellwether cases have now decided to approach the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit presenting appeals to overturn the verdicts of their cases. This decision followed Judge Fallon's decision of denying new trials to both the plaintiffs in September. Their trials were a part of the 18,000+ lawsuits filed in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana MDL 2592 with additional cases filed in the federal and state courts across the country. Both appeals have a few common and individual facts. The defendants' stand regarding the safety and efficacy of Xarelto stays, stating that Xarelto's FDA-approved label contains accurate, science-based information on the benefits and risks of this life-saving medicine.


Monday, Oct 23, 2017

J&J's appeal to overrule the $417 million verdict, which was the highest talcum verdicts so far and the first on California's list of Talcum trials was granted by Judge Maren E. Nelson, on October 20, 2017, and a new trial was ordered. The company had claimed misconduct on behalf of the jurors during the two days of deliberation after which they ordered $347 million as punitive damages and $70 million as compensatory damages to the plaintiff. The company's attorney questioned the marked contrast between the size of the verdict and the evidence presented. The judge sustained J&J's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict stating that the evidence provided was not enough to prove that the injury was caused by J&J's Talcum Powder. Punitive damages amount was struck down stating that clear and convincing evidence of malice was lacking; compensatory damages were found to be excessive because of the jury's misconduct in considering matters that were not to be included. The company still has to face nearly 5,000 cases filed by women and their families affected by the talc.


Friday, Oct 20, 2017

As a follow-up to our Opioids related news last month, we now have information that the JPML is out with their review decision regarding the motion filed to centralize the opiate lawsuits filed that created a national crisis. The resulting MDL is titled "National Prescription Opiate Litigation MDL No. 2804". The motion hearing is convened for the 30th of November at St Louis, Missouri. Defendants' list includes wholesalers of opioid drugs, AmerisourceBergen Corporation, Cardinal Health, Inc., McKesson Corporation; the list also includes primary drug makers Purdue Pharma, Teva, Cephalon, Janssen, Endo, Actavis, and Mallinckrodt, in certain litigations.
Lawsuits have also been filed by counties, cities, and states to be compensated for the costs they had to bear to manage opioid-related overdose cases.


Friday, Oct 20, 2017

Cook Celect IVC Filter Lawsuits are progressing as per schedule set by Chief Judge Richard L. Young. On October 23, 2017, the first bellwether went to trial in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The main allegations against the manufacturer included failure to warn the plaintiff of known and scientifically knowable dangers in spite of being aware of the risks. Other allegations faced by the defendants include defective design, misrepresentation, and failure to warn the medical community.


Thursday, Oct 19, 2017

The third Testosterone Replacement Therapy bellwether lawsuit is scheduled to go before the jury on November 6 with Auxilium Pharmaceuticals as the defendant for their testosterone based Testim gel. The second Auxilium trial is set for April 9, 2018. Thousands of men have filed lawsuits against Testim gel maker, claiming failure to adequately warn about the potentially life-threatening injuries like heart attacks, stroke, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis and other blood clots, and death. The company had promoted Testim gel aggressively for the treatment of "Low T" symptoms. The gel works as a reservoir of testosterone that sticks to the skin and delivers the drug through the skin.


Tuesday, Oct 17, 2017

Based on the June 2017 Bristol-Myers Squibb case ruling, a Missouri Eastern District Court of Appeals reversed a $72 million Talcum powder state court jury verdict, announced in favor of the plaintiff's family against J&J. In this case, the plaintiff's lawyers had argued that the long-term use of J&J's cancer linked products had caused the plaintiff to develop ovarian cancer that killed her, which won a favorable verdict.

The plaintiff, Jacqueline Fox, of Birmingham, AL, was among the 65 plaintiffs to file lawsuits against the talcum powder maker in St. Louis Circuit Court. Apart from two Missouri plaintiffs, the rest of the lawsuits were from outside.

Citing the similarity in the Bristol-Myers Squibb case, non-California residents could not file claims there against the New York-based manufacturer; similarly, non-residents of Missouri failed to comply with the jurisdiction limitations, which led to the reversal of the verdict. Four other similar verdicts may be affected as J&J has appealed against all of them.


Friday, Oct 13, 2017

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation was approached by a group of Plaintiffs to centralize Onglyza cases in a single federal court, alleging they suffered heart failure due to Onglyza. The outcome maybe positive as there is definitely a growing number of federally-filed cases, each showing marked similarity in allegations against the manufacturer AstraZeneca.


Wednesday, Oct 11, 2017

On October 11, 2017, Federal Court summoned for a Status Conference for Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid Lawsuits. Trial dates are expected soon for this group of proton-pump inhibitors which have 275 lawsuits pending in the multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey. 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.


Wednesday, Oct 11, 2017

Invokana cases have a case management conference to be convened on 16th of this month when both parties will get a chance to meet the judge to talk about how to handle the case.

The number of Invokana lawsuits in Invokana MDL 2750 has crossed 860 in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, filed by the plaintiffs who claim they suffered from diabetic ketoacidosis or other side effects due to their use of Invokana or Invokamet.
The Invokana cases are presided by U.S. District Judge Brian Martinotti and the trials for a small number of bellwether cases are expected to begin in September 2018. Apart from this, several federal cases are pending in the Southern District of California and the Eastern District of Missouri, as well as state court cases in California, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Allegations mainly involve kidney failure, heart attacks, and diabetic ketoacidosis, with a recent addition of increased risk of leg or foot amputations following a warning released by the FDA in May 2017.


Wednesday, Oct 11, 2017

A jury in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York, awarded a 24-year-old male $1 million for the complications he faced and might have to face in the future regarding Risperdal linked gynecomastia. The boy was prescribed Risperdal at the age of 9 and stated he was traumatized as a youth due to the growth of male breasts. Risperdal Lawsuits are on since February 2015, witnessing favorable verdicts for both the parties. Many cases have been settled out of court as well


Friday, Oct 6, 2017

The request to vacate the conditional transfer of one Taxotere lawsuit was denied by the JPML panel on the grounds that the transfer would further expedite the litigation process as a whole. The case was initially filed in Delaware state court then moved to the U.S. District Court, District of Delaware, before being conditionally transferred to the MDL in Louisiana. From January 28, 2019, the Taxotere Bellwether trials will begin for cases filed under MDL: 2740 set up for the purpose of coordinated pretrial proceedings of Taxotere hair loss litigations. The order was signed by Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt. This centralization is witnessing a steady rise in the filing of Taxotere hair loss lawsuits, in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, with the number nearing 1500 in the month of August. Additional bellwether trials are planned for April 8, July 15, and November 4, of 2019.


Friday, Oct 6, 2017

AbbVie faced a second loss in the Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) bellwether trial when the jury announced a verdict of nearly $140 million in favor of the plaintiff. The verdict comprised of $140,000 as compensatory damages and $140 million as punitive damages. This was the second bellwether case to go to trial in the multidistrict litigation (MDL): 2545 in the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, with over 6000 actions pending against AndroGel, Testim, Axiron, and other testosterone drug makers, presided by Judge Matthew F. Kennelly.
In this case, the manufacturer lost on the grounds of failing to warn the consumers and the medical community about the alleged link to heart attack and other side effects and that its aggressive marketing strategies risked the lives of thousands of men including the plaintiff, who suffered a heart attack just months after using AndroGel. AbbVie faced a small victory when claims were rejected by the jury in a state court in the month of August. AbbVie plans to appeal the $140 million verdict.


Thursday, Oct 5, 2017

A case was filed recently in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas by a woman who claims she suffered complications following a laparoscopic hernia repair. In this case, allegations are against Ethicon Physiomesh Composite Mesh maker, Ethicon Inc., a subsidiary of J&J, for a recurring hernia calling for a revision surgery, severe physical pain, and injuries. This case will be added to the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) where other claims are filed before U.S. District Judge Richard Story in the Northern District of Georgia. 
Ethicon Physiomesh MDL. Docket No. 2782 was created in June 2017 as a result of the centralization of federal Physiomesh Flexible Composite Hernia Mesh lawsuits and comprises over 100 lawsuits. Ethicon recalled Physiomesh Flexible Composite Mesh from the market in May 2016.


Thursday, Oct 5, 2017

Wright Medical Technology has announced an addition of $90 million to the $240 million settlement amount for the Wright hip litigation for the plaintiffs injured by the metal-on-metal hip implant products. Most of the cases were centralized four years ago in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia. The amount was added in order to settle the unresolved cases belonging to the Georgia consolidation and for cases pending in the Los Angeles Superior Court, California. The settlement window is open to the plaintiffs who changed their minds after the first settlement announcement and decided to settle, whose implants had failed after the limitations had expired, and for those who had filed after the completion of the first resolution amount. With this addition, the company aims to settle nearly all the pending cases involving its Wright Conserve, Dynasty, and Lineage hip implants. Lawsuits were filed by the plaintiffs claiming that the implants caused wear and tear releasing dangerous amounts of toxic metal ions to shed from the device and accumulate in the tissue surrounding the joint and bloodstream. Stryker Hip Plant device is facing similar litigations in courtrooms across the country.


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