Filing of Joint Xarelto Lawsuits Involving Multiple Parties Will Not Be Allowed After May 20

The U.S. District Judge presiding over all federal Xarelto lawsuits indicates that the filing of joint complaints involving multiple plaintiffs will no longer be permitted after May 20, indicating that each individual who experienced bleeding problems after using the drug must file a separate complaint in the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL).

There are currently more than 4,500 product liability lawsuits pending in the federal court system, which each involve nearly identical allegations that individuals suffered severe or fatal injuries due to side effects of Xarelto, when doctors were unable to control or stop bleeding that developed among users of the novel oral anticoagulant.

Since December 2014, the cases have been centralized before U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon in the Eastern District of Louisiana for coordinated pretrial proceedings, given the similar questions of fact and law. Procedurally, Judge Fallon previously allowed complaints to be filed in the MDL that contained multiple plaintiffs. However, as the litigation enters a new phase, Judge Fallon indicates that it is now appropriate to terminate the joint complaint filing procedure.

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In a pretrial order (PDF) issued March 22, Judge Fallon indicates that after May 20, all efforts to file a complaint in the MDL will be governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and joint complaints will no longer be accepted by the Clerk’s office.

The order was issued on the same day as a joint complaint (PDF) was filed on behalf of 10 plaintiffs, which each claim to have suffered Xarelto bleeding injuries. That lawsuit was filed by plaintiffs Sandra Brown, Robert Capps, Bernard Gaus, Jerome Johnson, June Pike, Claude Raye, John Rivers, Arden Runyan, Felton Schley, and Guiseppina Tubbs, which each suffered internal bleeding after ingesting Xarelto.

Xarelto Bleeding Problems

Xarelto (rivaroxoaban) is a new-generation anticoagulant that was introduced in 2011 as a replacement for Coumadin (warfarin), which has been the go-to anticoagulant treatment for decades.

The drug is part of a new class of medications designed to avoid blood clots among individuals at risk for deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, which have been promoted as easier to use than warfarin. However, since the drugs have hit the market, there have been a large number of reports involving severe and sometimes fatal bleeding problems with Xarelto and other members of this new class, including Pradaxa and Eliquis.

Each of the lawsuits involved in the Xarelto MDL raise nearly identical allegations, indicating that users and the medical community were provided inadequate warnings about the problems with uncontrollable bleeding on Xarelto, and the fact that the anticoagulant lacked a safe and effective reversal agent to allow doctors to quickly stop the blood thinning effects of the drug.

While all blood thinners carry a risk of bleeding injury, the side effects of warfarin can be quickly reversed with a widely known antidote of bleeding occurs. However, there was no Xarelto reversal agent when the drug was introduced. Plaintiffs allege that the drug makers failed to adequately warn doctors about the lack of an antidote.

Similar claims were raised in the litigation over Pradaxa, which was introduced in October 2010, one year before Xarelto hit the market.

More than 4,000 Pradaxa lawsuits were ultimately filed by users of that drug who suffered bleeding injuries. Following several years of litigation, the manufacturer of that medication ultimately agreed to pay $650 million in Pradaxa settlements, with an average of about $150,000 per claim.

As Xarelto bleeding lawyers continue to review potential cases for individuals prescribed the anticoagulant throughout the United States, the number of complaints has surpassed the number of claims involved in the Pradaxa litigation, as the drug has become more widely used in recent years.

Judge Fallon has scheduled a series of early Xarelto bellwether trials in the MDL, which are expected to begin in February 2017 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 trials will not be binding on other plaintiffs, they may help the parties negotiate Xarelto settlements that could avoid the need for thousands of individual cases to go before juries nationwide.


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