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A federal judge has ordered that nearly a dozen gadolinium toxicity lawsuits be transferred to various different U.S. District Courts nationwide, each involving similar allegations that the commonly used MRI contrast agents caused plaintiffs to suffer a painful and debilitating condition known as “gadolinium deposition disease”.
The complaints were all filed in the U.S. District for the Northern District of California against manufacturers of gadolinium-based MRI contrast agents, including Bayer Healthcare, GE Healthcare and other defendants.
Following venue challenges, the parties stipulated to transfer 11 of 13 cases pending before U.S. District Judge James Donato, resulting in orders issued earlier this month to send claims back to districts where each plaintiff resides.
Gadolinium is used in MRI contrast agents, such as Magnevist, Gadavist, and Ominscan, to help provide a detailed and clearer image of internal organs, allowing doctors to identify abnormal tissue in the body.
Each of the gadolinium deposition disease lawsuits raise similar claims, indicating that plaintiffs were left with serious health complications after receiving the MRI contrast injection, including nausea, pain, burning, itching, tumors, digestive disturbances, weight loss, sensitivity to medications and other symptoms caused by the build up of gadolinium in their body.
Gadolinium deposition disease (GDD) is a man-made condition, which is only known to occur among individuals who receive an MRI or MRA contrast agent. It is considered incurable and progressive, meaning that the symptoms worsen over time.
“People suffering from GDD experience symptoms consistent with the known toxic effects of retaining gadolinium,” according to allegations repeated throughout the lawsuits. “Typical clinical features of GDD include persistent headaches, bone and joint pain and clouded mental activity. People with GDD often experience subcutaneous soft tissue thickening that clinically appears somewhat spongy or rubbery. Tendons and ligaments in a comparable distribution may also be painful and have a thickened appearance. People with GDD often experience excrutiating pain, typically in a distal distribution, of the arms and legs but may also be in the torso or generalized location. This pain is often described as feeling like sharp pins and needles cutting or burning. GDD often progresses to painful inhibition of the ability to use the arms, legs, hands, feet and other joints.”
Plaintiffs allege that the manufacturers were aware of numerous case reports, studies and other data highlighting the toxicity of gadolinium when used as an MRI contrast agent, yet consumers and the medical community were not warned about the serious health risks.
The most high-profile claim to date was filed in November 2017, by action star and martial artist Chuck Norris, alleging that his wife, Gena Norris, suffered gadolinium MRI contrast agent poisoning that has left her with severe pain and burning sensations. However, that claim was not part of the recent order.
As additional gadolinium lawsuits continue to be filed in various different U.S. District Courts nationwide in the coming months and years, it is possible that a motion may be filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to establish coordinated pretrial proceedings in the claims, which would reduce duplicative discovery in common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial orders and serve the convenience of common witnesses, the parties and the judicial system.