Testosterone Drug Attorneys in MDL Appointed as Liaisons to State Court Litigation
The U.S. District judge presiding over all testosterone drug lawsuits pending throughout the federal court system has appointed several plaintiffs’ attorneys to serve as liaisons with state courts where dozens of additional cases are pending throughout the country, focusing on efforts to increase coordination of the litigation.
All of the complaints involve nearly identical allegations, indicating that side effects of low testostereone drugs like Androgel, Axiron, Testim and others caused men to suffer a heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or other injury.
Since June 2014, testosterone cases filed in federal district courts nationwide have been centralized before U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly in the Northern District of Illinois, as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL). The coordinated proceedings in the federal court system were established to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues in the lawsuits, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the witnesses, parties and the courts.
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There are currently about 300 complaints pending before Judge Kennelly, with many expecting that there will be several thousand lawsuits included in the testosterone MDL by the end of 2015. In addition, there are dozens of other cases pending in various state courts nationwide, including Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania, California and other states.
In a case management order (PDF) issued January 7, Judge Kennelly appointed four testosterone drug attorneys currently serving on a Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) to serve as state-federal court liaisons, to promote better coordination for the growing body of lawsuits being filed throughout the United States.
“This order is not intended to prescribe how parallel state court cases should proceed, because this Court has no desire to do so and, in any event, lacks the authority to do so,” Judge Kennelly noted. “However, the Court welcomes the opportunity to communicate with any state court about issues of common interest in [testosterone replacement therapy] cases.”
Judge Kennelly is scheduled to meet with lawyers involved in the litigation for a status conference (PDF) on January 13. According to a joint status report (PDF) submitted on Thursday, the parties are expected to update the Court on the status of the litigation and several disputes regarding depositions and discovery issues.
Testosterone Litigation Status
The federal Testosteorne MDL includes all Androgel lawsuits, Axiron lawsuits, Testim lawsuits, Androderm lawsuits, Depo-Testosterone lawsuits or other claims involving any prescription testosterone replacement therapy, regardless of the manufacturer.
As part of the coordinated pretrial proceedings, Judge Kennelly has ordered that a small group of Androgel cases be prepared to go before juries, with a series of six trials scheduled to begin about one-per-month between October 2016 and April 2017.
A separate track for early test trials involving other testosterone drugs has also been established, which are not expected to begin until at least mid-2017.
Known as “bellwether” cases, these test trials are designed to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation.
While the outcome of any early bellwether trials will not be binding on other claims, the process is designed to help parties evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their cases, potentially facilitate in testosterone drug settlements that will avoid the need for individual trials to be scheduled nationwide.
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