Plaintiffs seek to consolidate Invokana suits in state, federal courts

Oct. 10, 2016 – San Diego, CA — Plaintiffs suing the makers of the diabetes drug Invokana are looking to consolidate lawsuits in both state and federal courts, The Legal Intelligencer reported last month.

In a petition filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on Sept. 23, plaintiffs asked to consolidate the roughly 87 pending cases into a mass tort program, the Intelligencer reported.

Plaintiffs with a case pending in federal court across the Delaware River reportedly petitioned the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to consolidate some 56 federal claims less than a week before the state court petition. The lawsuits are pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Attorneys for plaintiffs in both the state and federal court actions argued consolidation would increase the efficiency of litigation, according to the Intelligencer.

“In addition to significant financial savings, consolidation of these cases will promote the convenience of the parties and efficiency during pretrial proceedings, duplicative discovery will be eliminated, and there will be no risk of inconsistent judicial rulings,” the state court petition said as reported by the Philadelphia-based publication.

The state and federal lawsuits all allege a similar claim: that the type II diabetes drug Invokana caused serious health problems including kidney failure and diabetic ketoacidosis. The defendants in the cases are Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson, and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma.

A spokesperson for Janssen Pharmaceuticals told the Intelligencer it is reviewing the recent filings and is “committed to defending against the lawsuits’ allegations.”

There are similar lawsuits pending in state and federal courts across the country, the bulk of which are centered in the Midwest, the Intelligencer reported. According to the publication, about 150 suits are pending in Missouri and Illinois, with about 100 pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois alone.

The petition to consolidate state court claims would affect only those pending in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas should the judge grant the motion. If the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation agrees to consolidate those cases in the District of New Jersey, however, it would affect all pending cases filed in federal courts nationwide.