On January 30, 2017, Judge Eldon E. Fallon of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana issued Case Management Order No. 2D which reset the start dates for the first four Bellwether trials. These four cases were selected out of the pool of 40 Bellwether Cases – which were intended to be a representative sample of the “universe” of cases comprising the entirety of all cases filed in the Xarelto MDL. These initial trials will help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and witness testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation.
XARELTO AND RISK OF BLEEDING
Xarelto was originally approved for sale by the FDA in November 2012. By early 2013 the Food and Drug Administration had received over 2,000 “Serious Adverse Event” reports filed during the drug’s first full year on the market, and 151 were deaths. In January 2014, the FDA issued a warning/precaution stating the FDA was aware of a risk of bleeding. The warning recommended blood transfusions or blood replacement if there were symptoms of blood loss in a patient who took Xarelto and also referenced the fact that there is no antidote or reversal agent for Xarelto.
THE MDL AND BELLWETHER TRIALS
In December 2014, MDL 2592 was established in the Eastern District of Louisiana by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation and, on January 29, 2015, Judge Fallon held the initial Xarelto MDL pretrial conference. And now, after extensive pretrial preparation, the first case is set for trial in April 2017.
The first two Bellwether trials will be conducted in the Eastern District of Louisiana. The first is JOSEPH BOUDREAUX, scheduled for April 24, 2017, followed by JOSEPH ORR on May 30, 2017. Thereafter, the third and fourth trials will be in June 2017 in the Southern District of Mississippi and July 2017 in the Northern District of Texas.
Plaintiff Joseph Boudreaux’s case was filed in December 2014 and alleges that he was prescribed Xarelto to reduce the risk of stroke due to atrial fibrillation. Less than a month after he began taking the drug it caused him to suffer severe gastrointestinal bleeding that resulted in hospitalization and the need for several blood transfusions.
The second Louisiana Bellwether case is Joseph Orr who filed his case following the death of his wife Sharyn Orr. His complaint asserts that Sharyn was prescribed Xarelto in May 2015 because of atrial fibrillation and, one month later, she suffered a brain bleed and died after 10 days of suffering.
The Plaintiffs allege that the drug makers failed to adequately warn doctors about the lack of an antidote.
Similar claims were raised in the litigation over Pradaxa, which was introduced before Xarelto hit the market. More than 4,000 Pradaxa lawsuits were ultimately filed by users of that drug who suffered bleeding injuries. Following several years of litigation, the manufacturer ultimately agreed to pay $650 million in Pradaxa settlements, with an average of about $150,000 per claim.
The lawyers at Paglialunga & Harris, PS are reviewing cases for individuals who have experienced complications following use of Xarelto. If you or somebody you know used Xarelto and experienced complications, please contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation.