A request has been put before the New Jersey Supreme Court by both parties of Abilify litigation for the creation of a Multicounty Litigation (MCL) to ensure that future cases filed end up in Bergen County to join the 47 others now pending before Superior Court Judge James DeLuca. The nine cases filed earlier in this county were consolidated in March 2016 and since then the remaining cases along with the existing lawsuits have advanced considerably and a bellwether track has been established by the judge; the first trial is expected to begin by the end of 2018. This request for MCL formation is viewed to be beneficial to all sides as it would provide a fair and more convenient, cost-effective process for all parties, witnesses, counsel, and the court.
Abilify makers, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, had developed the drug to treat bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression are now facing allegations by hundreds of plaintiffs which include breach of warranty, negligence, violation of federal drug-related statutes and regulations, negligent misrepresentation, violations of New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act, fraudulent concealment, and punitive damages.
More than 400 Abilify product liability lawsuits are filed nationwide under MDL No. 2734 (in Re: Abilify Compulsive Behavior Products Liability Litigation), centralized in October 2016, presided by Chief Judge M. Casey Rodgers in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. Recent developments indicate that the first bellwether trials may be delayed from their originally scheduled start in June 2018.
Further, Judge Rodgers has ordered to meet with the parties involved in the litigation to plan to schedule additional bellwether trials and plan a proposal to start putting claims involving multiple plaintiffs before the same jury in consolidated trials.