A motion filed last week is calling for all Darvon lawsuits and Darvocet lawsuits filed in various federal district courts throughout the United States to be centralized before one judge for coordinated handling during pretrial proceedings as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.
The request comes in anticipation of what many expect will be thousands of similar claims that may be filed on behalf of individuals who allege that they suffered health problems from the recently recalled painkillers, such as heart arrythmia, heart attacks, strokes and other cardiac issues.
According to the motion filed on December 15, plaintiff Kristine Esposito has proposed that each Darvon or Darvocet lawsuit filed in any federal district court be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York and that the Panel assign Judge Jack B. Weinstein to preside over the cases.
Esposito’s complaint is currently pending in the Eastern District of New York, and at least three other complaints involving nearly identical claims have been identified in other courts. However, many Darvocet recall lawyers anticipate that thousands of claims will ultimately be filed, as the painkillers have been used by millions of people in the United States.
Both Darvocet and Darvon contain the active ingredient propxyphene, which is designed to relieve mild to moderate post-surgical pain. However, Darvocet also contains acetaminophen, which is the active ingredient in Tylenol, and it has grown to become one of the 25 most commonly prescribed medications.
A recall of Darvon and Darvocet was issued on November 19, after the FDA determined that propoxyphene-based painkillers may increase the risk of potentially fatal heart rhythm abnormalities, including heart arrythmia. The medications were also previously linked to a risk of overdose and suicide, leading federal regulators to determine that the overall health risks of Darvon and Darvocet outweigh the potential benefits.
Consolidation of Darvocet and Darvon recall lawsuits before one judge as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, is designed to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid contradictory rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the court, witnesses and parties. While the pretrial management of the cases in an MDL is often managed similar to how a Darvon or Darvocet class action lawsuit would be handled, each claim will still remain an individual lawsuit.
The MDL Panel has already released a schedule for its next hearing on January 27, so oral arguments on the motion for Darvon and Darvocet lawsuit consolidation may not be heard until a hearing scheduled for March 30th in San Diego, California.