By: Austin Kirk | Published: March 14th, 2013
After settlement agreements have been reached in substantial majority of all Chantix cases consolidated in the federal court system, the judge presiding over the litigation has ordered that all unresolved cases be mediated in the next few weeks.
As of the beginning of this year, Pfizer faced more than 2,500 Chantix lawsuits filed on behalf of former users of their stop-smoking drug who suffered severe psychological side effects, causing them to commit suicide, attempt suicide or suffer other injuries after engaging in unusually behavior.
Earlier this month, Pfizer announced that Chantix settlement agreements have been reached in about 80% of all cases, at an estimated cost of $273 million. The company said it expected to pay about $15 million to resolve the remaining claims.
In the federal court system, the Chantix litigation is consolidated before U.S. District Judge Inge Johnson in the Northern District of Alabama, where lead counsel have informed the Court that a “substantial majority” of the cases in the MDL have resolved.
In a court order (PDF) issued on March 12, Judge Johnson ordered all parties in any unresolved cases to meet on or before April 1 to have good faith discussions about the possibility of settlement.
If the parties are unable to settle the Chantix lawsuits, the parties must appear in Alabama for court ordered mediation that will be scheduled between April 10 and April 12. The mediator will be Fern Singer, and the parties were ordered to split the cost of mediation evenly.
These efforts may allow the entire litigation to resolve in the next few weeks.