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The U.S. District Judge presiding over hundreds of Abilify lawsuits indicates that a global resolution for the litigation may be near, giving the parties until September to finalize an agreement that will settle claims for gambling losses and other damages stemming from compulsive behaviors linked to the popular atypical antipsychotic medication.
There are currently more than 800 product liability lawsuits pending before U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers, each raising similar allegations that Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals failed to adequately warn consumers and the medical community about the risk of compulsive gambling from Abilify.
Plaintiffs maintain that they may have avoided devastating gambling losses from Abilify if warnings had been provided about the importance of monitoring for signs of uncontrollable urges to engage in impulsive behaviors.
As a result of the lack of warnings, plaintiffs indicate that they have suffered severe gambling losses, irreparable damage to their reputation, employment and family relationships, as well as general damage to their financial security and overall quality of life.
In a global settlement order (PDF) issued on May 2, Judge Rodgers established parameters for the mediation of all cases, which will occur between May 1 and September 1, 2018, to finalize a framework for resolving the litigation, utilizing a bellwether approach.
Within the next two weeks, the parties have been directed define the characteristics of cases where plaintiffs would not be eligible for compensation under the agreement. Once they agree on the “no pay” definition, they will have another 14 days to identify all cases within the Abilify multidistrict litigation (MDL) that fall into that category. Once those cases are removed from the MDL, the parties will begin working on the mediation process for the remaining cases.
The order comes just days after the parties reached an agreement to settle three Abilify cases that were slated to go to trial this summer. The details of those settlements have not been released.
The settled cases were part of a series of early trial dates set to begin on June 18, August 6 and August 27, which were being closed watched by other parties involved in the litigation, as they were designed to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout other cases.
Judge Rodgers has set the next case management conference for June 12, at which time the parties will address the status of the Abilify global settlement efforts.