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Eliquis Lawyers Appointed to Leadership Roles in Federal Litigation

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The U.S. District Judge presiding over all Eliquis lawsuits has appointed a small group of attorneys to serve in various leadership roles, as part of the recently consolidated pretrial proceedings in the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL). 

In February, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) decided to centralize the federal Eliquis litigation before U.S. District Judge Denise L. Cote in the Southern District of New York for coordinated discovery and scheduling.

Each of the cases raise similar allegations, indicating that side effects of Eliquis caused users to suffer uncontrollable, and often life-threatening, bleeding problems.

As part of the management of the litigation, Judge Cote issued an order (PDF) on April 10, which appoints two lawyers to serve as plaintiffs’ co-lead counsel, two attorneys to serve on a Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee, two to serve as Plaintiffs’ co-liaison counsel, and 10 attorneys to serve on a Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee.

These attorneys will coordinate and manage discovery, and take actions during the MDL proceedings that benefit all plaintiffs.

Eliquis Bleeding Concerns

Eliquis is the third member of a new crop of blood thinners introduced in recent years, which have each been involved in substantial litigation over failure to warn about the risk of bleeding injuries.

Pradaxa was the first member of this new class, which was introduced in October 2010. It was followed by Xarelto in 2011, and Eliquis about a year later.

Each of the new drugs have been aggressively marketed as replacements for Coumadin (warfarin) for prevention of blood clots. However, unlike warfarin, the novel oral anticoagulants were introduced without a proven antidote available to reverse the blood thinning effects of the drug, resulting in a large number of reports involving bleed problems with Eliquis, Pradaxa and Xarleto.

Shortly after Pradaxa hit the market, several thousand lawsuits began to be filed against the drug maker by individuals who suffered severe bleeding events. Following several years of litigation, the manufacturer ultimately agreed to pay $650 million in Pradaxa settlements to resolve about 4,000 cases in 2014.

In recent years, about 15,000 similar Xarelto lawsuits have been filed in state and federal courts nationwide, each raising similar allegations that users suffered severe and often fatal bleeding complications.

While concerns over the safety of Xarelto and Pradaxa gained widespread attention, Eliquis has quietly became the most widely used member of this new class of drugs, and there is now rapidly growing litigation over that drug maker’s failure to warn about the side effects of Eliquis.

As part of the coordinated pretrial proceedings in the Eliquis MDL, it is likely that Judge Cote will establish a bellwether process, where a small group of cases will be prepared for early trial dates. While the outcomes of these trials will not be binding on other plaintiffs involved in the litigation, they may help the parties reach Eliquis settlements to avoid the need for a number of individual trials nationwide.

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