February 17, 2015 — The judge overseeing all federal Xarelto lawsuits has appointed twelve attorneys, including two co-lead counsel, to leadership roles in the litigation.
U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon established the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in an order (PDF) filed on February 9.
Attorneys with leadership roles have many responsibilities, including:
- Coordinating and conducting all pretrial discovery
- Examining witnesses and introducing evidence
- Selecting “bellwether” trials
- Pursuing settlement options
- Communicating pertinent developments to all plaintiffs and their counsel
- Other functions as necessary
Judge Fallon oversees about 90 lawsuits involving Xarelto. All of the lawsuits were filed on behalf of people who were seriously injured or died from severe bleeding after taking Xarelto.
Plaintiffs accuse Bayer of downplaying information about its serious bleeding risks, including the risk of fatal bleeding and Xarelto’s lack of a reversal agent.
The litigation is remarkably similar to one involving Pradaxa (dabigatran), a blood-thinner made by Boehringer Ingelheim. Last year, about 4,000 lawsuits settled for $650 million, or about $162,500 per claimant.
Judge Fallon appointed attorney Brian Barr to the co-lead counsel in the Xarelto litigation. He said, “Our experience with litigating the Pradaxa lawsuits (also a blood thinner) will give us a good head start in the discovery process.”
As the Xarelto litigation proceeds, it is likely that attorneys will choose certain cases for “bellwether” trials to go before a jury. If the jury decides to award compensation, it can help attorneys negotiate a settlement or other resolution for lawsuits with similar injuries.