Federal judge delays Xarelto bellwether trials because of NBA All-Star games

NBA All-Star games

Courtesy of the NBA All-Star Weekend New Orleans Instagram page

Oct. 26, 2016 — San Diego, CA — The four cases selected to be tried first in the Xarelto multidistrict litigation have been pushed back one month because the initial trial dates interfered with the NBA All-Star games.

Though some members of the parties’ counsel may be basketball fans, counsel members asked U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon to push back the trial dates because of the potential issues the games might pose. This could include accommodation issues for out-of-town party members and other “logistical issues.”

The first bellwether trial was scheduled for Feb. 6, 2017 in the Eastern District of Louisiana, located in the city of New Orleans. The NBA All-Star games will be held the next weekend from Feb. 17 to Feb. 19. The games were relocated to New Orleans in July after the state of North Carolina implemented its restrictive gender bathroom law, HB2.

Judge Fallon initially set the trial dates back in August, after counsel members narrowed down potential cases from a pool of 40.

Since the NBA All-Star games were moved, those trials were pushed back a month and are scheduled to begin as follows:

  • First trial –  March 13, 2017 in the Eastern District of Louisiana
  • Second trial –  April 24, 2017 in the Eastern District of Louisiana
  • Third trial – May 30, 2017 in the Southern District of Mississippi
  • Fourth trial – To Be Set in the Northern District of Texas

The four cases selected to be tried first best represent the MDL as a whole and were chosen by both plaintiffs and defendants, though Judge Fallon stepped in to help determine the final four when the two parties could not reach an agreement.

The cases selected feature plaintiffs who either have the heart condition atrial fibrillation and took Xarelto to reduce their risk of stroke or who don’t have afib but took Xarelto to treat deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. Three of the four bellwether plaintiffs suffered gastrointestinal bleeds as a result of taking the medication, and one suffered a bleed in the brain.

The bellwether trials feature the following cases:

  • Boudreaux, Jr. et al v. Janssen Research & Development LLC et al  (2:14-cv-02720)
  • Orr et al v. Janssen Research & Development LLC et al (2:15-cv-03708)
  • Mingo v. Janssen Research & Development LLC et al (2:15-cv-03469)
  • Henry v. Jansen Research & Development LLC et al (2:15-cv-00224)

Why Bellwethers?

Bellwether trials serve many purposes in multidistrict litigation and are beneficial to both parties in the program.

Bellwether trials are chosen from the pool of cases, which can often reach into the thousands, to best represent the program as a whole. They are tried first and provide the opportunity for both parties’ counsels to test theories and defenses in a trial setting, as Judge Fallon wrote in the 2008 article “Bellwether Trials in Multidistrict Litigation,” along with associates Jeremy T. Grabill and Robert Pitard Wynne.

In employing the bellwether method, counsel members are able to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their arguments and see how they “play out” before a jury, the article notes.

Bellwether trials can also “enhance and accelerate” the MDL process by providing guidance for future settlement negotiations. The verdicts handed down in these first few trials are not binding on future cases — meaning, if a jury hands down a $100,000 verdict in favor of plaintiffs in the first bellwether trial, it does not mean all other plaintiffs in the MDL will receive a $100,000 verdict.

The verdicts handed down in these trials can help steer any subsequent settlement negotiations, however, and provide guidance on how similar claims may fare before future juries, according to the article.

Xarelto Lawsuits

There are more than 11,800 lawsuits consolidated in the Xarelto MDL in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

The lawsuits allege the makers of the blood thinning drug Xarelto, Johnson & Johnson unit Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer Healthcare, failed to adequately warn the public about the potential risks of the drug. Plaintiffs in these cases allege suffering serious and sometimes fatal bleeding episodes after taking Xarelto, including gastrointestinal bleeds, brain bleeds, and rectal bleeds.

If you or a loved were injured as a result of taking Xarelto, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Hood National Law Group can help you get the justice you deserve. Call us today at 1-800-214-1010 to speak with a member of our legal team. We can help you determine if your case qualifies with a free case evaluation.

Philly judge opts for bellwether method in Xarelto mass tort

Oct. 26, 2016 — San Diego, CA — The state court judge overseeing a Xarelto mass tort program in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas has decided to use the bellwether method to decide which cases to try first, The Legal Intelligencer reported.

Judge Arnold New’s decision differs from many other mass tort programs currently being tried in state courts, including the Risperdal and pelvic mesh litigations, which have been using the first-in, first-out method in selecting which cases should be tried first, according to the Intelligencer’s article.

Employing the bellwether method in mass torts is beneficial because the cases best represent the program as a whole and can help steer both parties towards settlement negotiations.

There are currently over 1,000 filed cases in the state mass tort program, according to a search of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas’ case listing.