U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe, who is assigned to oversee all of the MDL Avandia lawsuits in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, issued a pretrial order which calls for the first Avandia trial dates to be scheduled between June 1, 2010 and September 30, 2010.
GlaxoSmithKline PLC, who manufactures the popular type 2 diabetes drug, currently faces lawsuits from hundreds of users who claim to have suffered heart attacks, strokes, congestive heart failure, bone fractures, vision loss and other injuries caused by side effects of Avandia.
All of the federal Avandia cases are centralized before Judge Rufe to avoid duplicative discovery, inconsistent rulings and to conserve the resources of the parties and court.
On September 26, 2008, the court approved an initial scheduling proposal and discovery plan, which requires the first Avandia cases to be prepared for trial over the next two years.
The discovery plan calls for 100 cases filed directly in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to be designated as part of “Discovery Group 1.” A subset of these cases will later be selected for the “Initial Trial Pool” of cases which will be the first to go to trial.
The parties are permitted to conduct limited case-specific discovery on the “Discovery Group 1” Avandia cases, including depositions of the plaintiff, spouse or significant other of the spouse, three physicians and one Glaxo sales representative. If the Avandia lawsuit involves a death, the court will also allow Glaxo to depose coroners, pathologists and other statutory beneficiaries.
The scheduling order indicates that all case-specific discovery is to be completed by November 24, 2009, plaintiff’s expert reports are due by December 24, 2009, defendant’s expert reports are due by February 15, 2010, and the deadline for completion of Daubert motions and expert depositions was set for April 15, 2010.
This will put the court in a position to schedule the first Avandia trials for the Summer of 2010 if the cases do not settle or otherwise resolve before that time.