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The U.S. District Judge presiding over all federal Xarelto lawsuits has ordered the parties to select two large waves of cases for discovery, which may put 1,200 cases in a position for trial dates in courts nationwide.
There are currently more than 18,000 product liability lawsuits pending as part of a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) before U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon in the Eastern District of Louisiana, each involving similar allegations that users and the medical community were not adequately warned about the risk of uncontrollable bleeding on Xarelto.
Following a handful of early bellwether trials, which were held before Judge Fallon to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation, no progress has been made in negotiating Xarelto settlements or another resolution for the claims.
In a case management order (PDF) issued on February 27, Judge Fallon laid out the rules for selecting 1,200 additional cases to go through case-specific discovery over the coming months, including two waves of 600 cases each.
The first wave will include 200 cases selected by the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC), 200 selected by the defendants, and 200 randomly selected by the Court. Plaintiffs and defendants have until April 16, 2018 to submit their picks for the first wave of individual case discovery cases. The court will make its random selections on April 30.
“After an opportunity to review the party-selected cases, the parties shall meet and confer to determine the criteria for eligibility to be included in the random selection pool. These criteria shall take into consideration the age of the plaintiff, the injury alleged by the plaintiff, the indication for which the plaintiff was prescribed Xarelto, the venue of the plaintiff and any appropriate other criteria,” the order indicates. “There will be reasonable variety and balance regarding the types of cases selected by the parties.”
The second wave will include another 600 cases selected the same way, with plaintiffs and defendants submitting their selections on August 16, and the Court making its random selections on August 30.
While the order does not contemplate a schedule for completing discovery or trial, the process is likely to result in the remand of hundreds of cases back to their originating districts, which may result in the drug makers facing simultaneous trials in courts nationwide.