Abilify Lawsuit Filing Procedures in Gambling Addiction MDL Streamlined

The U.S. District Judge presiding over the recently centralized pretrial proceedings for all federal Abilify gambling addiction lawsuits has outlined procedures designed to streamline the filing of new cases directly into multidistrict litigation (MDL), allowing plaintiffs to file a Short Form Complaint that adopts certain allegations outlined in a Master Long Form Complaint. 

In October, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) ordered that all product liability lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system over failure to warn about the side effects of Abilify will be centralized before U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers in the Northern District of Florida to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings and serve the convenience of parties, witnesses and the courts.

Each of the complaints raise similar questions of fact and law, alleging that Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals withheld information from consumers and the medical community about the link between Abilify and gambling, compulsive shopping, hypersexual activity and other impulsive behaviors.

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There are currently about two dozen cases pending before Judge Rodgers in the MDL. However, the litigation is expected to grow rapidly over the coming months and years, as Abilify gambling lawyers continue to review claims for individuals and families who have suffered severe losses, damage to their financial security and reputation as a result of the unusual behavior caused by the medication.

To add efficiency to litigation process, Judge Rodgers issued an order (PDF) on November 30, approving a Master Consolidated Complaint and Short Form Complaint filing process.

The Master Consolidated Complaint “contains allegations that are suitable for adoption and incorporation by reference in lawsuits filed by individuals consolidated” in the Abilify MDL. Judge Rodgers indicates that all plaintiffs with claims over Abilify compulsive behavior problems will use a Short Form Complaint when filing new claims, and all plaintiffs with existing claims that were previously filed will have 120 days to file a Short Form Complaint.

Establishing coordinated allegations is designed to assist the parties and court in addressing various pretrial motions that may be filed in the Abilify litigation.

In addition, Judge Rodgers issued a discovery conference order (PDF) on November 29, following a conference call last week, which indicates that a Science Day will be held in the near future, to bring the Court up to speed on the underlying aspects of the case. She has called for both sides to jointly file a proposal for topics to be covered by January 23, 2017.

Abilify Gambling Risk

Abilify (ariprazole) is one of the top-selling brand name medications on the market in the United States, generating sales in excess of $6 billion per year. It was introduced in 2002 for treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other major depressive disorders, but is also widely used to treat irritability, aggression, mood swings and other behavior issues.

In May, the FDA required the drug makers to update the warning label to provide information for users and doctors about the potential Abilify risk of gambling, compulsive shopping and other compulsive activities.

The regulatory agency noted that a large number of adverse event reports have been received from users describing uncontrollable urges to gamble, shop, eat or engage in sexual activity.

Addictive gambling problems on Abilify can have a severe impact on users, and plaintiffs allege that if warnings had been provided about the risk, they may have avoided devastating consequences by recognizing the potential side effects associated with the medication and stopping use of the drug.

Although warnings about the potential risk were provided to medical providers and consumers outside the United States, plaintiffs in the mounting Abilify litigation claim that similar information was withheld in the United States until recently.

Following the completion of common discovery and coordinated pretrial proceedings in the MDL, if the drug makers are unable to reach Abilify settlements or otherwise resolve the cases, each lawsuit may be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for a separate trial date.


  • DorothyDecember 7, 2016 at 3:13 am

    I was hungry all the time. Gained 60 pounds in less than two years, got more depressed than ever and I have not been able to get the weight off.

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