First Taxotere Bellwether Trial Delayed Until September 2019

  • Written by: Austin Kirk

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The U.S. District Judge presiding over all federal Taxotere lawsuits has delayed the start of the first “bellwether” trials, which will be closely watched to help gauge how juries may respond to evidence that will be repeated throughout thousands of claims brought by women left with permanent hair loss following exposure to the breast cancer drug.

There are currently more than 12,000 product liability claims pending against Sanofi-Aventis, each raising similar claims that the drug manufacturer failed to adequately warn about the risk of permanent hair loss from Taxotere, which has not been associated with other, equally effective, breast cancer treatments.

While hair loss is a normal side effect of chemotherapy, the lawsuits allege that Sanofi-Aventis provided false and misleading information, which suggested that hair would regrow following treatment. However, exposure to Taxotere has been linked to reports of thinning and balding that continues long after treatments are over.

Given similar questions of fact and law raised in complaints filed throughout the federal court system, the lawsuits are all centralized before U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo in the Eastern District of Louisiana, as part of a federal Multidistrict Litigation, or MDL. The process is designed to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different courts and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the judicial system.

As part of the coordinated proceedings in the Taxotere MDL, Judge Milazzo established a “bellwether” process, which involves a small small groups of cases that are being prepared for early trial dates, to help tests the strengths and weaknesses of each side’s position.

Last year, the first of five bellwether trials was scheduled to begin in May 13, 2019, with additional cases expected to go before juries on September 16, 2019; January 27, 2020; May 11, 2020; and September 14, 2020.

However, on March 22, Judge Milazzo issued a case management order (PDF) indicating that the trial set to begin on May 13 has been continued until September 16, delaying the start of the bellwether claims.

While the outcomes of these early trial dates will not be binding on the thousands of other women pursuing cases, they are being closely watched and will likely have a big influence on eventual Taxotere settlement negotiations, which would be necessary for the drug maker to avoid thousands of separate trial dates in U.S. District Courts nationwide in the coming years.

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  1. Patricia J Reply

    Not only do you loose hair and it never grows back their are other issues which are result of the treatment with Taxatore. In addition, your nails on your fingers and toes are effected. During my treatment my nails turned black oozed and came off they would grow back, however I still have a recurrence of my fingernails being very week & brittle. My toenails continue to discolor then they eventually will lift up become dry and dead. I have to wait to cut them when they finaly crack.& lift up if I can get to the dead nail. I have to wait until a new nail appears and moves the dead nail up. Vanity wise there is nothing I can do to cover them with polish just looking at how ugly they are is traumatizing. Moreover, I have no brows or lashes to admire nor hair I now have Alopecia, which I have to look at daily for the past nine year often I feel I am not a pretty site. I look forward to the outcome of the lawsuit, which is representing me in I pray for a favorable outcome. I have a case.

  2. Sheryl Reply

    Not only should the pharmaceutical company admit to wrong doing by concealing the fact that Alopecia would occur as a result of using taxotere, but they probably won’t. I have aches in my muscles and I don’t have any eyelashes or brows and haven’t since 2011. I am very self- conscious about my hair and my looks as well. I try not to dwell on the hair or pain in my muscles. I too am looking forward to the outcome of this lawsuit and pray for favor also in my case. Thanks for posting Patricia J.

  3. Paul Reply

    It isn’t just alopecia, eyebrows, eyelashes, hair in ears, nose everyplace. My wife’s eyes still water, people ask her if she has cancer if she doesn’t wear a wig. It’s awful for her she doesn’t even feel comfortable being seen without a hat or wig. She has hearing loss and get colds easier. Hello u need the hair in your nose and ears as well. Not vanity when the company knew years before, charged thousands and still punished people for life with their drug. I also hope for a good outcome for all involved. Really tired of companies making big profits from life threatening illness!!

  4. Empatha Reply

    I was given this drug because it was touted to my oncologist that it was the most effective one available. (A lie) At this time the drug company ALREADY KNEW of the permanent hair loss on women in Europe. This info was not shared in the US until 2015, I believe. I still have no eyebrows or lashes. My once beautiful thick hair is so thin and scraggly looking now. Plus I have a giant bald spot on the crown of my head. My hair was my best feature! I get so depressed when I have to go out in public. I rarely leave my home.

  5. Carol Reply

    My hair grew back thin and a different texture and my edges are somewhat bald due to this drug.My eyebrows are thin also and brittle toenails.

  6. Margaret Reply

    All of the above comments are true. I have a ball spot and my hair’s texture is completely different , thin and will not grow. I have no eyelashes or eyebrows
    My nails and toenails are discolored after loosing them during chemo
    I wear wigs at all times and color in brows . It takes me longer to put on make up now since 2015 also because of skin discoloration. I do hope all of us get compensated for our pain and a low quality of life!

  7. emily Reply

    Ladies unfortunately sanofi won the first trial.
    Victims need to show up to the second trial!
    If everyone in the court and sanofi saw bald headed women showing up to this trial, I know it would be a different verdict. Lets get together and go to the next trial and show these people the damage

  8. becky Reply

    any taxotere victim that is able to go to the next bellwether trial should go. if a whole lot of bald head women show up….i bet plaintiffs will win

  9. William Reply

    Hello my name is William iam writing to anyone that listing or reading this about iidi6 years ago my wife had cancer Breast cancer that is she had Beautiful black hair long eye lashes and brows very active now she not the same lady and i mean lady her looks met alot to her but now all that gone she has no hair on the top of head the sides is Bald also and the back of her hair is also bald i listen to her cry over and over again it’s been going on for 5 years even suicide cross her mind always wearing wigs coloring her eye lashes and brows she file a claim 4 years ago i she hear something after she dead and gone it took a short time for this chemical to do this to her and taking forever for her to get what she deserves this is not right not only for her but for so many ladys and i mean Lady’s

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