First Elmiron Bellwether Lawsuit On Track For Trial To Begin Jan. 30, 2023
Despite some delays and modifications to the bellwether schedule in the Elmiron MDL, the first trial is still expected to begin in January 2023, to help gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence testimony about permanent vision damage caused by Elmiron, which will be repeated throughout hundreds of cases pending in the federal court system.
Elmiron (pentosan polysulfate sodium) is a prescription medication used for treatment of interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome, which is often taken by users for years, since there is no cure of the underlying condition. However, there are now more than 1,700 Elmiron lawsuits being pursued by former users left with a rare form of retinal damage, known as pigmentary maculopathy.
Each of the lawsuits raise similar allegations, indicating that Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary provided false and misleading information for decades about the Elmiron side effects, and failed to warn doctors about the importance of monitoring for vision changes while taking the bladder drug, which can leave users with permanent blurry or distorted vision, as well as blindness.
Given common questions of fact and law raised in claims brought throughout the federal court system, an Elmiron MDL was established in December 2020, centralizing the litigation before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti in the District of New Jersey, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.
Elmiron Bellwether Lawsuits Being Prepared For Trial
To help the parties gauge the relative strengths and weaknesses of their claims, and promote potential Elmiron settlement negotiations, Judge Martinotti has established a “bellwether” process in the MDL, where a small group of representative cases are being prepared to go before juries.
Early in the litigation, Judge Martinotti indicated that the first Elmiron lawsuits would start going before juries in January 2023. In late 2021, the parties selected a group of 20 cases that have gone through case-specific discovery and depositions, and are eligible for the first trial dates.
In a case management order issued in October 2021, the Court outlined the schedule for preparing the claims for trial, indicating that the bellwether process would culminate in a series of Elmiron trials that were expected to begin in January 2023, March 2023 and May 2023.
Earlier this year, a complaint (PDF) filed by Maria Windham was selected for the first bellwether trial, involving allegations that a Louisiana woman developed retinal pigmentary changes, including macular degeneration, about two years after she started taking Elmiron.
On September 27, Judge Martinotti issued an amended case management order (PDF), which pushes some of the deadlines in the case. However, the trial is still expected to begin on January 30, 2023.
While the outcome will not have any binding effect on other plaintiffs pursuing similar claims, it may have a substantial impact on any attempts by the drug makers to settle Elmiron claims without the need for hundreds of individual cases to be set for trial nationwide.
October 2022 Elmiron Lawsuit Update
According to the latest docket report (PDF) issued by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML), there are currently at least 1,774 complaints pending before Judge Martinotti that are awaiting trial, and the size of the litigation continues to grow as new Elmiron lawsuits are filed by former users diagnosed with vision problems.
In addition to the claim filed by Windham, two other Elmiron bellwether claims have been selected from the initial group of 20 cases that went through case-specific discovery, including lawsuits filed by Opal Faye Broussard and Julia Manning, which are also expected to go before a jury in 2023.
Following the Elmiron bellwether trials, if the parties fail to make progress with settlement negotiations or the drug maker fails to establish that it can consistently defend the safety of the drug at trial, it is expected that Judge Martinotti will expand the number of claims being prepared for trial, and consider remanding large waves of claims to U.S. District Courts nationwide for separate trial dates in 2024.
About Elmiron Lawsuits
Learn more about the latest Elmiron lawsuit updates and criteria for claims still being investigated by lawyers.
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