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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Xarelto: A Thin line to Multi-District Litigation

Xarelto: A Thin line to Multi-District Litigation

By Amanda Brigman, Intern
The Cochran Firm 

Xarelto is a new generation of blood thinner and has been walking a “thin line” between helping people and harming them.  Xarelto makers, Bayer and Johnson & Johnson, are facing multiple lawsuits across the nation where plaintiffs are claiming Xarelto caused them uncontrolled bleeding (such as internal bleeding, brain hemorrhaging), and even wrongful death.    

Xarelto is an alternative to Coumadin, also known as warfarin. When using any blood thinner there is a risk of the patient developing bleeding problems. However, in the case of Coumadin - the long time go-to anticoagulant, there is an approved antidote for doctors to use that will reverse the effects of the bleeding. The plaintiffs in the case are claiming there is no approved drug that will reverse its effects. They claim the drug makers did not adequately research the effects of the Xarelto or provide sufficient warnings about the bleeding risks.

The latest motion filed in the Xarelto litigation is seeking to bring all claims and evidence before one judge for centralized case management known as Multi-District Litigation or MDL.  The plaintiffs filed a motion on October 15, and oral arguments are scheduled to begin on December 4th during the next hearing in Charleston, South Carolina. These oral arguments will be presented before the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (U.S. JPML) which will decide whether or not to consolidate the cases to one district.

As of now, the makers of Xarelto, Bayer and Johnson & Johnson, have 21 product liability lawsuits filed in 10 separate district courts across the country. If the motion is granted, it would be a relief on both parties because all of the litigation would occur in one place. There would not be multiple duplicate discovery request; pre-trial motions will be heard in front of the same judge- already familiar with the case at bar. According to a briefing schedule from the U.S. JPML, Bayer and Johnson and Johnson have until October 31st to respond to the motion.

If the motion to combine the lawsuits into a multi-district litigation is ordered by the judge, the cases will continue through the discovery and the pretrial proceeding process. If the cases do not settle out of court prior to trial, they will be transferred back to the U.S. District Court for trial where each case was originally filed.

The Xarelto proceedings are being handled as individual cases rather than a class action suit. This means for each case the plaintiff must show their injuries were directly related and caused by Xarelto. The plaintiff in each case would receive the damages awarded by the jury without having to share with other plaintiffs.

It makes sense that Bayer and Johnson and Johnson would want to combine litigation to one geographical location. Managing the numerous Xarelto cases as a Multi-District Litigation would cut down on the number of documents required and would streamline the process for all parties involved.

posted by The Cochran Firm at 9:43 AM

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