December 15, 2014 — A panel of judges has centralized dozens of lawsuits involving Xarelto into a Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2592) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, overseen by Judge Eldon E. Fallon.
According to the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML), the litigation consists of 21 lawsuits in 10 district courts, with another 30 potential tag-along actions pending in even more courts.
Bayer, the manufacturer of Xarelto, is accused of failing to adequately warn doctors and patients about the bleeding risks of the drug. All of the lawsuits involve similar injuries and factual 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.”
Bayer opposed centralization in an MDL, arguing that each person’s case has too many unique factors (medical history, dosage, etc.) and it would be possible for attorneys to informally coordinate. They also questioned the merit of the cases and warned about a flood of lawsuits.
The JPML disagreed for several reasons, including the fact that the litigation has grown rapidly in the last few months. Furthermore, the panel centralized very similar lawsuits involving Pradaxa (dabigatran), another blood-thinner that was linked to severe bleeding.
The Eastern District of Louisiana was selected because one lawsuit and 12 potential tag-along actions are already pending in that court. Furthermore, all of the plaintiffs and Bayer supported the court as an appropriate venue.
Centralization will eliminate duplicative discovery, prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary. As the litigation proceeds, lawyer will select cases for “bellwether” trials that will help determine the outcome of the rest of the cases in the litigation.