December 15, 2015 — The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has ordered the centralization of dozens of lawsuits involving Xarelto into one federal court in Louisiana, under one judge.
The litigation currently consists of 21 lawsuits pending in 10 different district courts, with another 30 potential tag-along actions. Bayer, the manufacturer of Xarelto, opposed consolidation into one district court. All of the plaintiffs supported consolidation, but disagreed on the best location.
Bayer argued against centralization because the cases had too many unique factual issues to centralize, attorneys could informally coordinate, and the creation of an MDL would encourage a flood of copycat complaints lacking merit.
The JPML disagreed with Bayer because almost all of the lawsuits involve similar allegations, namely:
“…defendants did not adequately warn prescribing physicians or consumers of the risks associated with Xarelto, including the potential for severe or fatal bleeding and the unavailability of a reversal agent to counteract Xarelto’s anticoagulation effects.”
Furthermore, the JPML centralized lawsuits involving the blood-thinner Pradaxa (dabigatran), which involved similar injuries and allegations against Boehringer Ingelheim.
The judges selected the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, under Judge Eldon E. Fallon in Multidistrict Litigation (MDL No. 2592) for coordinated pretrial proceedings. One lawsuit and 12 potential tag-along actions are already pending in that court, which has the support of the plaintiffs and defendants as an appropriate alternative.
As the litigation proceeds, certain cases may be selected for “bellwether” trials to help determine the outcome of other cases in the litigation. Centralization will also help reduce the risk of duplicative discovery, inconsistent pretrial rulings in different courts, and more.
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