October 4, 2016 — A panel of federal judges have centralized Abilify lawsuits in a Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2734) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.
The transfer order (PDF) will centralize 22 lawsuits in 12 district courts. The judges have also been notified of another 20 cases pending in 14 districts.
The litigation will be overseen by the Honorable M. Casey Rodgers, who has not yet had the opportunity to preside of an MDL.
All of the lawsuits allege that Abilify (aripiprazole), an atypical antipsychotic that treats a variety of mental disorders, causes impulse-control problems in uses. Plaintiffs each claim they experienced compulsive gambling behaviors as a result of taking Abilify.
Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals are accused of selling a defective medication and failing to provide adequate warnings about its risks. Lawyers say the drug-makers should have known that Abilify could cause compulsive gambling behaviors.
The Northern District of Florida was chosen because it is where two lawsuits are already pending. All parties support centralization and expressed unanimous support for the district.
Like a class action, centralizing the lawsuits should streamline the litigation process and bring a faster legal remedy. Coordinating the lawsuits also eliminates duplicative discovery, prevents inconsistent pretrial rulings, and conserves the resources of everyone involved.