Avandia Statute of Limitations Motion to Dismiss Denied by MDL Judge

  • Written by: Staff Writers

A federal judge has rejected an attempt by GlaxoSmithKline to throw out dozens of Avandia lawsuits, which the drug maker attempted to argue were filed after the statute of limitations expired. 

U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe, who is presiding over the federal Avandia litigation, denied a motion to dismiss 60 lawsuits filed by former Avandia users who claim the diabetes drug caused them to suffer heart problems.

GlaxoSmithKline argued that the Avandia statute of limitations, which dictates the amount of time an injured party has to file their lawsuit, should have started as early as May 2007, when a study was released that linked Avandia to an increased risk of heart attacks and heart failure.

For purposes of deciding the motion, Judge Rufe applied Pennsylvania law, which generally requires a lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death to be filed within two years from when the plaintiff sustained their injury. However, under the “discovery rule” in Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for an Avandia lawsuit would not begin running until the plaintiff knew or reasonably should have known that their injury was caused by side effects of the medication.

In their complaints, the plaintiffs alleged that they did not know or have any reason to know about the connection between Avandia and heart problems until late summer 2010. They further alleged that they did not see any information about the Avandia heart risks until that time.

While GlaxoSmithKline argued that the media attention surrounding Avandia in 2007 should have put the plaintiffs on notice to investigate the cause of their injuries, Judge Rufe disagreed based on the available evidence in the record.

“There is certainly a point at which a reasonable person was on notice to investigate the possibility of a connection between an injury and use of Avandia, but the Court cannot, on the present record, determine that point to be May 21, 2007,” wrote Judge Rufe in an order issued September 7.

Although the first studies linking Avandia to heart risks were released in May 2007, many of the media articles published at that time indicated that the FDA was not recommending a recall for Avandia at that time.

In September 2010, the FDA finally did hold highly publicized advisory panel meetings to review the potential risks associated with Avandia. While the panel narrowly voted not to recommend that the FDA issue an Avandia recall, severe restrictions were placed on the use of Avandia following those meetings.

Many lawyers who are still reviewing potential claims have suggested that the Avandia statute of limitations would likely start running around the time of these FDA advisory panel meetings last year. Therefore, individuals with claims in states with statute of limitations that are greater than one year may still have additional time to pursue their claim through an Avandia lawyer if they did not know or have reason to know about the cause of their injury prior to September 2010.

Although GlaxoSmithKline agreed to Avandia settlements in many of cases last year, thousands of cases are still pending against the drug maker.

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  1. Dewey Reply

    I know our justice system will work regarding drug “Avandia” for a fair settlement, especially to people like myself. It almost made a statistic out of me! My cardio doctor and personal care doctor told me, do not take this anymore just after having 3 stents put in while I was in the cardio unit. My case is very real with proof and has been in litigation for nearly 3 years. I personally don’t think GSK is doing the right thing! We who have suffered and spent a lot of our retirement $’s and continue to do so for med’s need a justified settlement ASAP and GSK needs to bite the bullet and pay up!

  2. AHK Reply

    This attempt to push aside some of the cases is pretty typical of large corporations who are used to getting their way. Just because they knew that Avandia caused heart problems doesn’t mean the general public did. Of course they knew there were problems soon after it’s launch. I’m surprised they didn’t use that as a reason to throw out a bunch of cases. I suffered a couple of cases of congestive heart failure and am lucky to have a device in my chest monitoring my heart.I owe it all to GSK and Avandia, along with the constant monitoring of my fluid levels to avoid more CHF, kidney issues and a bunch of pills taken daily.

  3. Tim Reply

    Hi Everyone, My wife died of avandia use in Nov. 2007. I have been involved in a “lawsuit” since about late 2008. The “attorneys” that I thought were representing my Wife’s and I’s interests have been film-flaming me since the start. I have seen many comments from people about how they feel the same way or are frustrated by the joke of their “out of court settelment”. Well there is an old saying that goes “IF IT SMELLS LIKE A HORSE, WHEENIES LIKE A HORSE AND EATS HEY , IT PROBALBLY IS A HORSE” . If any one you out there suspect or feel that your “attorneys” seem to be representing GSK’s interests more than yours, they probalbly are. Email me if you are interested in finding a genuine fighting attorney like Erin Brockvich ( she has a web site and accepts emails) , Try contacting her. The more emails she gets the more attention will be given the issue. I would like to see a coalition of living victims and surviving family members of deceased victims started to help consolidate new findings and build a base for petitions and other activities to promote the RIGHTS of all victims and to expose the collusion of deceiving “representitives”. Sincerely, Tim.

  4. Esther Reply

    My father passed away on April 4, 2009 from a heart attack while taking Avandia he was also diagnose with congestive heart failure and suffered four different strokes throughout a eleven year span. We live in Nevada, are we in the statue of limitations to file a class action lawsuit or a personal lawsuit against Glaxo???

  5. Sherry B. Reply

    I would really like to speak with Tim who submitted a post on Nov 30, 2011 about a good attorney that he can recommend. My husband is currently suffering with debilitating complications from taking Avandia for 6 yrs. He knew that his physician was keeping a close eye on him for his continued build up in fluids (body and lungs) as a side effect of using Avandia, but he never let on to my husband how serious this could get. It never dawned on us until last month when my husband was laying in bed and saw a commercial about Avandia that people like him were suffering with the same symptoms and even dying from the complications that have resulted from taking the drug. Now, everyone I contact about representing my husband, denies to even talk to him stating they no longer handle this particular case any longer. My husband has permanent long term health problems because of years of taking Avandia and from what I have read, it’s a miracle he is even still alive, but we have to wonder if there is anyone left out there who even cares about people like him and will try to help him? Thank you!

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