April 5, 2017 — The first trial involving uncontrollable bleeding side effects of Xarelto is scheduled to begin on April 24, followed by a second trial on May 30, unless lawyers negotiate a settlement agreement sometime this month.
Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of Xarelto, is facing around 17,000 lawsuits in state and federal courts nationwide. About 1,343 of those lawsuits are in state court in Philadelphia. Another 15,611 are centralized in federal court in Louisiana under U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon — Multidistrict Litigation (MDL No. 2592).
As part of the coordinated MDL process, lawyers choose certain cases for “bellwether” trials and use the outcome to determine how a jury might respond to evidence in other lawsuits with similar injuries.
The first trial will involve Joseph Boudreaux, Jr., a man who used Xarelto for less than a month before he developed internal bleeding. He was hospitalized and required several blood transfusions— Case No. 2:14-cv-02720.
The second trial will involve Joseph Orr, the husband of a woman who died of a cerebral hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain) after using Xarelto for about a month — Case No. 2:15-cv-03708.
The first two trials will be located in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, where the MDL is located. Unless a settlement is reached, two more trials will begin in June 2017 in other federal courts.
The third trial will be in the Southern District of Mississippi. It will involve Dora Mingo, a woman who was injured by gastrointestinal bleeding after taking Xarelto for blood clots. The fourth trial will be in the Northern District of Texas and involve William Henry, a man who died of gastrointestinal bleeding after taking Xarelto for atrial fibrillation.
All of the lawsuits accuse Johnson & Johnson of downplaying the risk of uncontrollable bleeding from Xarelto. While bleeding is the most serious side effect of all blood-thinning medications, Xarelto was approved without a reversal agent to stop bleeding in an emergency, unlike traditional blood-thinning medications like Coumadin (warfarin).
Nearly identical allegations were raised in about 4,000 lawsuits involving Pradaxa (dabigatran). The manufacturer, Boehringer Ingelheim, paid a $650 million settlement just before the first bellwether trials began, for an average payout of $150,000 per claim.
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