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Negotiations to Settle Abilify Gambling Claims Continues in Federal MDL

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In a recent court filing, parties involved in hundreds of federal Abilify gambling lawsuits report that negotiations for a global settlement are continuing, and indicate that a stipulation will be filed next week regarding “no pay” case, which would be excluded from any potential deal.

Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals currently face about 1,100 claims in the federal court system, each raising similar allegations that the drug makers failed to adequately warn consumers and the medical community about the risk that Abilify may cause sudden urges to gamble or engage in other destructive behavior.

Plaintiffs maintain that they would have avoided devastating Abilify gambling losses if warnings had been provided about the importance of monitoring for signs of uncontrollable urges to engage in impulsive behaviors.

Given similar questions of fact and law, the litigation has been centralized in the Northern District of Florida before U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers, who has been pushing the parties to negotiate Abilify settlements that would avoid the need for hundreds of individual cases to go before juries.

On June 5, attorneys for plaintiffs and the defendants issued a joint proposed agenda (PDF) for an upcoming case management conference that will be held on June 12, indicating that the parties continue to meet to create the framework for a global settlement to resolve the litigation.

In advance of the meeting next week, the parties indicate that they anticipate submitting a stipulation for consideration by the court about which categories of claims would not be resolved as part of the negotiations, known as “no pay” cases.

The discussions come after Judge Rodgers issued an order last month, giving the parties until September 2018 to finalize a framework for settling Abilify claims, which would avoid the need for additional cases to be scheduled for trial.

Judge Rodgers previously scheduled three cases for early trial dates, which were expected to begin on June 18, August 6 and August 27, to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that may be repeated throughout other claims. However, the parties reached an agreement to settle all three of those Abilify cases in late April.

As part of the coordinated pretrial proceedings before Judge Rodgers, if the parties fail to reach an agreement to settle Abilify claims, each of the individual cases may ultimately be remanded back to U.S. District Courts nationwide for separate trial dates in the future.

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