Axiron Lawsuits to be Prepared for Bellwether Trials in Early 2018

Following a series of bellwether trials next year involving individuals who suffered injuries following use of Androgel, the U.S, District Judge presiding over the federal testosterone drug litigation indicates that two Axiron bellwether lawsuits will go to trial in January and March, 2018.

There are currently more than 6,000 product liability lawsuits pending throughout the federal court system involving allegations that men suffered heart attacks, strokes, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and other injuries due to side effects of testosterone replacement therapy.

Given the similar questions of fact and law raised in complaints filed against manufacturers of various different products, Androgel lawsuits, Axiron lawsuits, Testim lawsuits, Androderm lawsuits and cases involving other popular “Low T” drugs have been consolidated for pretrial proceedings as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.

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Since June 2014, testosterone cases brought by individuals nationwide have been centralized before U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly in the Northern District of Illinois to prevent duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different courts and to hold a series of “bellwether” trials to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation.

A group of eight Androgel bellwether lawsuits have been selected for early trial dates, since that is the most widely used testosterone replacement drug on the market. Those cases are expected to go before federal juries over the Summer and Fall of 2017.

While the outcome of these trials will not be binding on other cases, they may influence eventual testosterone drug settlements that would help the manufacturers avoid hundreds of individual trials nationwide.

In a case management order (PDF) issued on August 14, Judge Kennelly outlined the process for selecting two cases filed against Lilly, which would involve injuries stemming from use of Axiron, for bellwether trials that will begin on January 29 and March 7, 2018.

The parties have until November 1 to select eight cases each, for a total of 16 potential Axiron bellwether cases. These will include four cases each involving embolisms and four cases involving cardiovascular problems. The judge has ordered the parties to determine the remaining parameters for the cases in a jointly negotiated agreement by September 16. Case specific discovery will then be completed, as well as resolution of potential pretrial motions before two cases will be selected for this second round of bellwether trials.

According to a separate case management order (PDF) issued the same day, a third bellwether selection process will begin in March 2017, involving cases filed against Actavis over injuries associated with use of their testosterone replacement products.

Following the bellwether process in the testosterone drug MDL, if the parties fail to settle or otherwise resolve large numbers of cases, individual complaints may be remanded back to U.S. District Courts nationwide for individual trial dates in the future.


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