Judge Eldon E. Fallon recently clarified the deadline for plaintiffs to file joint complaints as May 20, 2016, and set four dates for bellwether trials in 2017.
Xarelto, the blood thinner medication manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary) and Bayer Pharmaceuticals AG, faces more than 2,800 federally-filed lawsuits in a Louisiana multidistrict litigation (MDL). Allegations against Xarelto and its makers include:
- Complaints of severe and fatal bleeding risks, and
- Providing misinformation to doctors and injured patients.
Many of the lawsuits collected in the MDL are joint complaints. Joint complaints are when multiple plaintiffs wish to file a single lawsuit to “minimize the expenses of all parties, and to promote judicial efficiency.” Joint complaints assign a lead plaintiff and charge only one filing fee.
While the May 20th deadline means the Louisiana MDL will no longer accept joint complaint filings, plaintiffs can continue to file individual complaints for inclusion into the MDL as “tag-along” cases.
Upcoming Bellwether Trial Dates
The MDL culminates in a series of test trials called bellwethers that help to determine how juries will react in future trials. Following the bellwethers and initial settlements, the MDL will disassemble and send the remaining individual and joint lawsuits back to their original courts for trial or settlement.
Judge Fallon ordered 40 cases from the thousands consolidated in the MDL to be selected for a bellwether trial pool. Both plaintiffs and defendants were ordered to select 10 cases each (20 total) while the court chose 20 cases at random following a set of eligibility guidelines. The first four bellwether trials are set to be heard on:
- February 6, 2017, at the Eastern District of Louisiana
- March 13, 2017, at the Eastern District of Louisiana
- April 24, 2017, in Mississippi
- May 30, 2017, in Texas
The 40 bellwether pool cases that have been selected will undergo depositions before a finalized list of cases is selected for trial hearings.
Most cases from the Louisiana MDL share similar details about the personal injuries and deaths of Xarelto patients and the questionable marketing practices Bayer used to sell its drug. In one case, a South Florida plaintiff who suffered near-fatal bleeding also alleges that Bayer’s controversial TV advertisement starring NBA All-Star Chris Bosh misled her in relation to the drug’s safety.
Getting legal assistance
If you’re considering filing a lawsuit for personal injuries or wrongful death against Xarelto and want to join the Louisiana MDL, contact an experienced attorney in your area as soon as possible. An attorney can help you weigh your options and inform you about your legal rights.