Gardasil Vaccine Lawsuits Being Prepared For Early Test Trials in Federal MDL

Bellwether trials will test allegations that side effects of the Gardasil HPV vaccine left users with severe and debilitating autoimmune complications, which will be repeated throughout hundreds of lawsuits being pursued.

In advance of a status conference later this week, lawyers report that progress is being made to prepare a group of federal Gardasil vaccine lawsuits for early test trials, which will help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence that will be repeated throughout the litigation. However, it appears likely that a California state court case will be the first in the country to go before a jury, involving allegations that the HPV vaccine left a teen girl bed-ridden.

Gardasil has been widely used for years, among both young girls and boys, to help protect against HPV infections that can be sexually transmitted and lead to the later development of cervical cancer. Although the injection has been widely promoted as safe and effective, Merck currently faces several hundred product liability lawsuits, each raising similar allegations that the drug maker failed to to disclose the risk of serious autoimmune disorders that may result from side effects of the Gardasil vaccine.

Lawsuits indicate that a number of teens and young adults have been left with severe and debilitating complications after receiving one or more injections, including postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), neurological problems, premature ovarian failure, idiopathic thrombocyteopenic purpora (ITP), chronic pain, brain fog, fatigue, headaches, nerve damage and other injuries.

Gardasil HPV Vaccine Lawsuit

Did you or a loved receive the Gardasil HPV vaccine?

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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Given common questions of fact and law presented in Gardasil lawsuits brought throughout the federal court system, the cases have been centralized as part of a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Western District of North Carolina for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings, where there are currently about 200 claims pending before U.S. District Judge Kenneth D. Bell, Sr.

In a critical ruling earlier this year, Judge Bell cleared the Gardasil vaccine lawsuits to move forward, finding that plaintiffs’ claims that Merck failed to adequately warn medical providers about the side effects users may experience are not blocked by the National Childhood Vaccine Act, which granted certain protections to manufacturers of vaccines.

The ruling allowed the parties to move forward with preparing a small group of “bellwether” cases for early trial dates, to help determine how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation.

Gardasil Lawsuit Bellwether Trial Preparations

Last year, plaintiffs and defendants selected 16 Gardasil bellwether cases eligible for early test trials, which will later be narrowed down to a smaller group of claims that will be eligible for the first trial in the federal court system.

In a joint status report (PDF) issued on June 6, in advance of a status conference scheduled for Thursday, the parties indicated that most of the depositions for plaintiffs whose claims have been selected for bellwether trials have been completed. In addition, at least 19 depositions of Merck employees and those linked to Gardasil clinical trials and Merck’s pharmacovigilance processes have occurred.

However, last month plaintiffs requested, and received, an extension to fact discovery deadlines, as well as briefing and expert discovery deadlines. The timing and schedule for the first federal Gardasil trial may be discussed at the status conference on June 13.

In addition to the federal Gardasil vaccine lawsuits, there are at least seven claims filed in California state court. The first Gardasil trial in that state is currently scheduled to begin on October 7, 2024. However, Merck has filed a motion to delay the start of the trial.

That lawsuit involves claims filed by Jennifer Robi in 2017, indicates receiving a Gardasil injection received as a teenager left her with heart problems and never pain. Last year, Robi’s mother, Katherine Suazo Robi, testified before the California State Assembly Health Committee on her experiences with the vaccine.

“My daughter was a high school athlete and honor student and had to drop out of school and has been disabled for over a decade,” she told the committee. “Jennifer has been bed-bound and wheelchair-bound for extended periods of time. The Gardasil vaccine has destroyed my daughter’s life and devastated our family.”

June 2024 Gardasil Vaccine Lawsuit Update

While the parties continue to work to prepare a group of Gardasil cases for trial, injury lawyers are continuing to investigate and file new lawsuits for individuals who experienced a variety of complications from the HPV vaccine, including:

  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome)
  • Premature Ovarian Failure
  • Premature Menopause
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)
  • Irregular Heartbeat/Tachycardia
  • Lupus
  • Neurologic Disorder
  • Brain Fog or Chronic Inability to Concentrate
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Chronic Pain
  • Severe Headaches
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Nerve Damage
  • Menstrual Disorders/Problems
  • Gastrointestinal Issues (food intolerances, nausea, vomiting)

Following coordinated discovery and test trials held in the federal MDL, if the parties fail to reach Gardasil settlements or another resolution for the litigation, Judge Bell may later establish a process to begin remanding each individual claim back to U.S. District Courts nationwide for individual trial dates in the future.


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