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The first bellwether trial out of several thousand of testosterone drug lawsuits pending nationwide ended in a mistrial this week, following the onset of a sudden illness by one of the plaintiff’s attorneys. As a result, a second bellwether case set to begin early next month, involving heart issues allegedly caused by Androgel, will be the first to go before a jury.
Following only a week of testimony, U.S. District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly declared a mistrial on Monday, in an Androgel heart attack lawsuit filed by Jeffrey Kondrad, which was selected to be the first of more than 6,500 cases filed by individuals nationwide to go to trial.
According to a docket entry (PDF) on June 12, the next bellwether case will begin as previously scheduled on July 5, involving a lawsuit filed by Jesse Mitchell. However, based on the Court’s observations during four and one-half days of trial in the Konrad case, as well as its understanding of the issues and evidence that will be presented in the Mitchell case, the amount of time allocated for that trial has been reduced by one day, allowing each side a total of 39 hours to present their case.
Following the Mitchell trial, a third Androgel bellwether trial is expected to begin on September 18, followed by a fourth case against AbbVie that will begin on January 8, 2018.
Additional bellwether trials have also been scheduled involving other testosterone drugs, with cases involving the use of products manufactured Auxulium Pharmaceuticals set to begin in early November 2017 and April 2018.
It is not clear whether the Konrad case will be reset for another date as part of this series of early trial dates, which 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 outcomes of these bellwether trials are not binding on other claims, they are being closely watched by lawyers involved in the litigation, as they may influence eventual negotiations to reach testosterone settlements, which would avoid the need for thousands of cases to be set for individual trial dates in U.S. District Courts nationwide.