Gardasil Vaccine Lawyers To Meet With Court For Initial Status Conference Oct. 11

MDL Judge wants Gardasil lawyers to propose a joint conference agenda for the meeting by September 20

The U.S. District Judge recently appointed to preside over all federal Gardasil vaccine lawsuits will meet with lawyers involved in the litigation for the first time next month, for an initial status conference to discuss and organize the coordinated pretrial proceedings.

Merck currently faces dozens of complaints throughout the federal court system over it’s popular HPV vaccine, each involving concerning 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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Side effects of the Gardasil HPV vaccine have been linked to reports of serious and debilitating autoimmune injuries. Lawyers review cases nationwide.

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Earlier this 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.

In the first pretrial order (PDF) released by Judge Conrad as part of the new Gardasil MDL (multidistrict litigation), he announced that the initial status conference will be held on October 11. At that time, Gardasil vaccine lawyers representing plaintiffs and defendants should be ready to discuss, deadlines for amendments of pleadings, the need for master pleadings, scheduling issues, a proposed discovery plan, appointment of attorneys to leadership positions in the litigation and a plan for alternative dispute resolutions.

Judge Conrad has asked for the parties to propose a joint pretrial conference agenda by September 20, 2022.

Gardasil Side Effects

Following its introduction, concerns about Gardasil vaccine problems emerged after one of the lead researchers responsible for developing the HPV vaccine, Dr. Diane Harper, indicated the drug’s protection may only last a few years, suggesting the risks may outweigh the benefits.

Dr. Harper reportedly said at a conference in 2009, that while Gardasil was tested on 15 year old girls, it is commonly being given to girls as young as nine years old. She has called for more detailed warnings to parents about the Gardasil risks and to provide additional information about the unknown long-term benefits for girls who are not likely to be sexually active for several years.

Many health experts strongly support the use of Gardasil, indicating any risks are negligible and claims made by those concerned about vaccinations are often not scientifically supported.

The National Cancer Institute has heralded the HPV vaccine, saying that widespread use could reduce cervical cancer deaths worldwide by as much as two-thirds. Many also suggest men get the vaccine as well in order to promote “herd immunity,” which occurs when a large enough portion of the population is vaccinated against a particular disease that they act as a firewall, preventing that disease’s spread even to those who are not vaccinated.

In complex product liability litigation, where a large number of claims are filed throughout the federal court system by individuals who suffered similar injuries as a result of the same or similar products, it is common for the federal court system to centralize the litigation for pretrial proceedings.

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 vaccine 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.

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