Pradaxa Lawyers Appointed To Leadership Positions in Federal MDL

More than two dozen lawyers have been appointed to serve in various leadership positions in the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) established for all Pradaxa lawsuits filed in U.S. District Courts throughout the country, taking certain actions that benefit all plaintiffs who have experienced bleeding problems after using the recently introduced anticoagulant.

In August 2012, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) assigned the federal Pradaxa litigation to U.S. District Judge David R. Herndon, who is coordinating pretrial proceedings in the Southern District of Illinois.

Centralizing the litigation is designed to reduce duplicative discovery in dozens of cases, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and Courts.

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All of the cases involve similar allegations that plaintiffs suffered severe, and often fatal, injuries as a result of uncontrollable bleeding from Pradaxa side effects.

The complaints indicate that Boehringer Ingelheim, the maker of Pradaxa, failed to adequately warn about the risk of problems or the lack of a reversal agent to stop bleeding events that may develop while using the blood thinner.

Large Size of Pradaxa MDL Leadership Poses “Serious Concerns”

In an order (PDF) issued September 27, Judge Herndon appointed 27 different Pradaxa lawyers to serve on the Plaintiffs’ Leadership Counsel in the federal MDL, which is larger than most MDLs of this size.

Twelve attorneys were appointed to an Executive Committee, including five lawyers who will serve as co-lead counsel. In addition, 13 attorneys were appointed to serve on a Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee and another two lawyers will serve as Liason Counsel.

The attorneys serving in various leadership roles in the litigation will conduct pretrial discovery on behalf of plaintiffs in all actions consolidated in the MDL, examine witnesses and introduce evidence on behalf of plaintiffs at hearings, act as spokesperson for all plaintiffs at pretrial proceedings and perform other actions that may apply to all cases in the MDL.

Judge Herndon expressed “serious concerns” with the large size of the leadership group appointed for the plaintiffs, which was done largely at the request of the marjority of plaintiffs lawyers who petitioned the court. Therefore, the leadership counsel has only been appointed for a period of one year, with the Court requiring new applications be submitted by October 1, 2013, providing information on the exact work each Pradaxa lawyer on the leadership counsel performed over the first year of their appointment.

“The Court recognizes that stability of leadership is a vital concept to litigation of this nature,” wrote Judge Herndon in the Order. “However, if a leader is not contributing to the cause of the advancement of the litigation as a whole, then he or she need not be in a leadership position.”

According to information provided at an initial conference held with Judge Herndon on October 3, there are a total of 131 lawsuits over Pradaxa filed throughout the United States, including 120 that are pending in the federal MDL. The remaining 11 cases are pending in state courts, with four filed in California, six in Connecticut and one in Illinois.


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