With the first federal trial set to begin next week involving allegations that Tylenol side effects caused liver damage, a series of settlement conferences have been held in the court presiding over hundreds of similar claims brought on behalf of individuals nationwide.
A case filed by Rana Terry is scheduled to go to trial on Monday, claiming that the death of her sister, Denice Hayes, was caused by Johnson & Johnson’s failure to adequately warn about the risk of liver failure from Extra Strength Tylenol.
There are currently at least 217 similar Tylenol lawsuits pending throughout the federal court system, which have been centralized for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings before U.S. District Judge Lawrence Stengel in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.
Each of the complaints raise similar allegations, indicating that Johnson & Johnson built a false reputation that Tylenol is a safe and effective medications by withholding important safety information about the risk of liver damage, which may have caused individuals throughout the United States to suffer severe liver failure, often resulting in death or the need for a liver transplant.
Trial is expected to begin in the Terry case on September 19, to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation.
Leading up to the start of the trial, court records indicate that the parties have met for a series of Tylenols settlement conferences and calls, including an in-person and telephone conference with Judge Stengel on September 7, as well as at least three settlement conferences with U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy R. Rise on September 12 and 13.
While no information has been released about the nature of these discussions to settle Tylenol cases, or whether the negotiations were limited to only the Terry case, Johnson & Johnson may have motivation to resolve the litigation before evidence is presented at trial that suggests the company withheld important safety information from consumers and the medical community.
Tylenol is one of the most widely used painkiller medications in the United States, which has been used by millions of Americans. Federal health officials have previously suggested that Tylenol and other acetaminophen drugs may be responsible for more than 50,000 emergency room visits each year, including 25,000 hospitalizations and over 450 deaths annually due to liver failure.