Judge Meeting with Lawyers at Initial Gardasil Lawsuit Status Conference in MDL
The U.S. District Judge presiding over all Gardasil lawsuits consolidated in federal courts nationwide will meet with lawyers involved in the litigation for the first time today, during an initial status conference, at which time the Court will review the organizational structure for the growing number of claims being brought by individuals left with long-term side effects from the HPV vaccine.
Merck currently faces a growing number of product liability complaints over it’s popular HPV vaccine, each involving similar allegations that the drug maker failed to disclose reported side effects of Gardasil, which have left some teens and young adults with severe autoimmune disorders, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), neurological problems and other complications.
Gardasil has been widely recommended for all teens in recent years, as a vaccination to protect against HPV infections that can be sexually transmitted later in life, leading to the development of cervical cancer. However, plaintiffs allege Merck withheld important safety information from families and the medical community while promoting and pushing the wider use of their vaccine among children nationwide.
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Last month, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) ordered all Gardasil lawsuits consolidated before U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad in the Western District of North Carolina for pretrial proceedings, who scheduled an initial status conference for October 11, 2022.
According to a joint proposed agenda (PDF) submitted last month, parties indicate that they will to review a wide range of topics, including the need for Master Pleadings, a proposed discovery plan, scheduling of Daubert and dispositive motions, the leadership structure for attorneys handling the cases, and whether a “Science Day” should be scheduled to allow the parties to educate the court on complex issues that will come up in the Gardasil lawsuits.
In a position statement (PDF) issued on September 20, plaintiffs indicate that they intend to present claims against Merck for failing to warn about that Gardasil can cause a variety of autoimmune and neurological injuries, which can have a devastating long-term impact on teens and young adults after receiving the HPV vaccine.
“Merck took steps to mask and downplay these risks; and Merck was also negligent in the way it conducted its clinical trials and post-marketing pharmacovigilance,” the position statement reads. “Plaintiffs further allege that, in its direct-to-consumer advertising to patients and parents, Merck misrepresented and overemphasized Gardasil’s efficacy while concealing Gardasil’s serious risks.”
In a defendant’s position statement (PDF) submitted on the same day, Merck attorneys claim neither the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), nor the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have identified any safety issued linked to the vaccine, indicating that the vaccine maker intends to aggressively defend the litigation.
October 2022 Gardasil Lawsuit Update
The Gardasil litigation remains in the earliest stages, with the first cases just being transferred to Judge Conrad for coordinated management during the MDL proceedings. However, over the coming weeks and months, it is expected that hundreds of lawsuits will be filed by individuals left with devastating long-term side effects from Gardasil, including:
- POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome)
- Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)
- Autoimmune Disorders
- Gastrointestinal Issues
- Other Long-Term Vaccine Injuries
As part of the coordinated management of the Gardasil lawsuits, it is expected that Judge Conrad will establish a bellwether process, where small groups of representative vaccine injury claims will go through case-specific discovery and be prepared for early trial dates, to help gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation. However, if Gardasil injury settlements are not reached during the MDL proceedings, each case may later be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for separate trials.
Find out if you have a Gardasil Lawsuit
Lawyers are reviewing claims for individuals throughout the U.S. who may be entitled to a settlement or financial compensation for injuries caused by a Gardasil HPV vaccine. There are no fees or expenses unless a recovery is obtained.
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