All of the heparin lawsuits filed in federal courts throughout the country as a result of contaminated blood thinner will be transferred to Toledo, Ohio. The cases will be consolidated for pretrial litigation as part of a Federal procedure known as a multi-district litigation, or MDL.
The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ruled Friday that all federal lawsuits filed by individuals who allege that they suffered an allergic-type reaction or death after receiving contaminated heparin, will be coordinated by Judge James G. Carr, of the U.S. District Court in Toledo. This is a common procedure in complex product liability lawsuits or other cases where many people allege injuries as a result of the same act or serious of acts.
At least 30 lawsuits have already filed in various Federal courts on behalf of individuals injured by blood thinner sold by Baxter Healthcare. Hundreds more potential heparin lawsuits are being reviewed by lawyers throughout the United States on behalf of people who died or suffered severe allergic reactions resulting in extreme nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, excessive sweating or decreased blood pressure.
About half of the heparin supply in the United States was recalled earlier this year after it was discovered that the blood thinner was causing severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reactions and hypotensive events. Subsequent investigations by health officials discovered that a cheaper counterfeit ingredient supplied by a plant in China was in the heparin, and neither the manufacturers or distributors discovered the problem before selling the injectable heparin
As additional lawsuits are filed as a result of injuries allegedly caused by the recalled heparin, they will be transferred into the MDL. If the heparin lawsuits do not settle or resolve during pre-trial proceedings, they will be returned to the court where they were originally filed for trial.