January 14, 2015 — Law360 reports that opening arguments have been made to a jury in Philadelphia by lawyers for a man who developed bladder cancer after taking Actos.
The plaintiff, John Kristufek, is a retired high-school teacher who used Actos for four years before developing bladder cancer in 2009. His bladder had to be surgically removed in July 2011. In July 2012, he filed a lawsuit in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
Kristufek’s lawyers told the jury that his doctor immediately took him and other patients off Actos after learning about the risk of bladder cancer.
This is the second Actos lawsuit to go to trial in Philadelphia. In October, a jury hit Takeda with a $2 million verdict after finding that the drug-maker failed to warn about the risk of bladder cancer.
Takeda Pharmaceuticals is accused of concealing evidence linking Actos and bladder cancer, despite knowing about those risks as early as 2004.
There have already been eight trials involving bladder cancer injuries from Actos. Only one involved a lawsuit in the federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL), where 3,935 cases are pending before Judge Rebecca S. Doherty in a federal court in Louisiana.
That trial ended in an eye-popping $9 billion jury verdict, mostly in punitive damages, in favor of the plaintiffs. Last October, it was reduced to $36.8 million under state law capping punitive damages. Takeda has not appealed.
A major factor in the record-setting jury verdict was Takeda’s destruction of critical documents on 43 current and former employees, including top executives involved in marketing Actos. Judge Doherty has told jurors they can assume the documents contained vital evidence to support plaintiffs’ claims of negligence against Takeda.
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