Motion Filed to Centralize Xarelto Lawsuits in Federal MDL

As a growing number of Xarelto lawsuits continue to be filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide, a group of plaintiffs are seeking to consolidated the federal cases before one judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings as part of an MDL, or Multi-District Litigation.

There are currently at least 21 product liability lawsuits pending in 10 different federal district courts involving injuries or deaths associated with uncontrollable bleeding on Xarelto, a new generation anticoagulant that is used to prevent strokes among patients with atrial fibrillation and for prevention of blood clots.

As Xarelto injury lawyers continue to review and file additional cases, it is ultimately expected that several thousand cases may ultimately be brought in the coming months, all involving similar allegations that the manufacturers of the drug failed to provide adequate warnings about the risk of severe bleeding and the lack of an approved reversal agent.

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In a motion for transfer (PDF) was filed late last week, a group of plaintiffs have called on the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to centralize all cases before U.S. District Judge David R. Herndon in the Southern District of Illinois to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.

Known as an MDL, such coordinated proceedings are common in complex pharmaceutical litigation, where a large number of lawsuits have been brought involving similar injuries associated with the same medication or product.

Xarelto Bleeding Problems

Xarelto (rivaroxoaban) was introduced by Bayer and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals in 2011, as part of a new generation of anticoagulants promoted as a superior alternative to Coumadin (warfarin), which has been the go-to blood thinner for prevention of strokes among patients with atrial fibrillation for decades.

While all blood thinners carry a risk of bleeding problems, Xarelto and other members of this new generation of anticoagulants lack an approved antidote that doctors can use to reverse the effects of the drug. While doctors can quickly stop the blood thinning effects of warfarin, users of Xarelto have reported experiencing uncontrollable bleeding that physicians were unable to stop, often leading to severe injury or death.

According to allegations raised in the mounting Xarelto litigation over bleeding problems, Bayer and Johnson & Johnson placed their desire for profits before consumer safety by failing to adequately warn about the risks associated with their new medication or the lack of an available Xarelto reversal agent.

If the U.S. JPML agrees to establish an MDL for the cases, the litigation will be managed during pretrial proceedings similar to how a Xarelto class action lawsuit would be handled during the discovery phase. However, unlike a class action, each lawsuit will remain an individual case, where plaintiffs must establish that the injury or death was caused by the drug maker’s failure to warn.

Following coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings, a series of early trial dates may be scheduled to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation. However, if Xarelto settlement agreements are not reached following the pretrial proceedings, each individual case transferred into the MDL would be returned back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for a separate trial.

The U.S. JPML is expected to hear oral arguments on the motion to establish a Xarelto MDL at an upcoming hearing session scheduled for either December 4, 2014 in Charleston, South Carolina, or January 29, 2015 in Miami, Florida.

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  • ChrisNovember 14, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    I am looking for Law firm who are taking Xarelto Claimants nationwide

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