Top Mass Torts Updates Of February 2018

Friday, Feb 2, 2018

Roundup Weed Killer: MDL No. 2741, in re: Roundup Products Liability Litigation was created in October 2016, before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, in the Northern District of California. The defendant, Monsanto, will face the first trial on June 18, 2018, in the Superior Court for the County of San Francisco. About 3,500 plaintiffs now represent nearly 2,200 cases filed in state and federal courts.

Another product liability lawsuit has been filed by a man from Arizona under this MDL, who alleges that Monsanto’s Roundup was the reason for his diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The plaintiff further stated that he used Roundup on his property for over 20 years, without receiving any warning of the potential development of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and holds Monsanto responsible for the failure to warn him and other consumers.  

The Daubert Hearings, scheduled earlier for December 2017, are now set to begin on March 5, in order to consider the admissibility of expert witness testimony on the link between Roundup and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a decision taken by Judge Chhabria.

The Judge also bifurcated the proceedings to first address the general causation link before considering any case-specific issues about whether the weed killer caused any individual plaintiff’s diagnosis.


Monday, Feb 5, 2018

Finally, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation gave a nod for centralization of all the federally-filed Onglyza and Kombiglyze XR lawsuits in a single U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky on 2nd February for the purpose of coordinated pretrial proceedings. The resulting MDL: 2809-In Re: Onglyza and Kombiglyze XR Products Liability Litigation is to be presided by Honorable Judge Karen K. Caldwell.

The court records show more than 80 product liability lawsuits are pending in the federal court system filed by individuals who developed congestive heart failure and other side effects accusing Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca as the defendants.

More cases are expected to be added to this litigation as plaintiffs continue filing cases nationwide, who feel they developed heart failure or other health problems due to the lack of adequate warnings on the diabetes drug.


Monday, Feb 5, 2018

A decision to centralize at least 39 lawsuits involving the Stockert 3T Heater-Cooler System into a multidistrict litigation in Pennsylvania was taken on 1st February by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. This puts an end to the long wait for lawsuits awaiting this decision, claiming the 3T Heater-cooler systems manufactured by the Sorin Group spread bacteria during surgeries, which led to serious infections or patient deaths. The pretrial proceedings will be held under U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III.

The lawsuits further allege that the defendants, Sorin Group and Livanova, knew or should have known about the infection risks yet withheld information from consumers and the medical community. The lawsuits further allege that the defendants failed to prevent contamination of the devices at their manufacturing facilities resulting in the release of defective pieces onto the market.


Tuesday, Feb 6, 2018

A new case management order has been released by the federal court overseeing nearly 522 plus proton pump inhibitor (PPI) lawsuits. The drugs in question include Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix, and others. The plaintiffs allege that PPIs cause kidney injuries including acute interstitial nephritis, chronic kidney disease, and end-stage renal disease. The PPI lawsuits have been centralized in the District of New Jersey before Judge Claire C. Cecchi for coordinated pretrial proceedings.

The new case management order released on February 5, communicates among other things, the form, procedure, and schedule for the completion and service of Plaintiff Fact Sheets (PFS). Each plaintiff involved in this litigation is expected to submit a PFS that is “substantially complete in all respects.” Plaintiffs whose lawsuits are currently pending have 120 days from the date of the Order to serve their respective PFS and duly executed authorizations, with the relevant documentation attached.

Plaintiffs who file or have PPI lawsuits transferred to the MDL in the future have 90 days from the date of service of the first Short Form Answer received and filed by a defendant.

The defendants are AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, Procter & Gamble Co., McKesson Corp., Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., Pfizer Inc., and Pfizer subsidiary Wyeth.

Further, a growing number of lawsuits continue to join the Proton Pump Inhibitor MDL; each allegation holds the drug manufacturers responsible for withholding information about the risks associated with long-term use of the medications.


Thursday, Feb 8, 2018

Boston Scientific Corp.’s appeal to reverse a 2014 transvaginal mesh verdict was declined by the federal court. A total of $18.5 million was awarded by the jury belonging to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia to the four plaintiffs named in the litigation, who suffered serious complications following the implantation of BSC’s Obtryx transvaginal mesh devices.

BSC was successful in settling two of the cases out of court for undisclosed amounts since the trial, but it went ahead and appealed the remaining awards to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. This appeal was denied as the Appeals Court disagreed with the company’s contentions, finding that Boston Scientific had failed to provide any evidence of prejudice or confusion.


Wednesday, Feb 7, 2018

Filing of product liability lawsuits has been on the rise against Bayer Healthcare by women who allege that the intrauterine device (IUD) maker failed to adequately warn the medical community and the end users about the associated risks. Recently, two new lawsuits have been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York alleging that the side effects of a Mirena IUD caused severe headaches, vision problems, ringing in the ears and other symptoms of pseudotumor cerebri (a medical condition involving a dangerous build-up of fluid pressure around the brain).

These cases will join the 200 plus centralized lawsuits involving pseudotumor cerebri or intracranial hypertension complications from Mirena IUDs filed against Bayer as a part of MDL: 2767, established in April 2017, for coordinated pretrial proceedings in the Southern District of New York before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer.


Friday, Feb 9, 2018

The first Bard IVC Filter bellwether belonging to MDL: 2641 in re: Bard IVC Filters Products Liability Litigation is scheduled to convene on March 14 this year before U.S. federal Judge David G. Campbell, in the United States District Court District of Arizona.

The pre-trial discovery stage is in progress. The first bellwether will be tried in two phases. The first phase will determine liability and compensatory damages to be followed by a second phase where a decision will be taken whether punitive damages should be awarded.

The court also allowed the manufacturer to present evidence pertaining to its blood clot filters’ 510(k) clearance at the first bellwether trial by overruling plaintiffs’ motion made on January 29. However, Judge Campbell made it clear that he will not consider the evidence as proof that the filters were approved by the FDA.

About 3,000 IVC filter lawsuits are pending in the consolidated action against C.R. Bard for its Recovery, G2, G2 Express, G2X, Eclipse, Meridian, and Denali IVC filters wherein plaintiffs claim that due to manufacturing and design defects, Bard filters are more dangerous than other IVC filters and that Bard failed to warn about the higher risks.


Thursday, Feb 15, 2018

While preparations are in full swing for the first bellwether trial for 3M Bair Hugger System lawsuits, scheduled to begin in April 2018, there comes a Class II Recall as categorized by the FDA for the forced air warming blankets belonging to the following lot numbers: R10359, R10360, R10361, R10362, R10363, R10364, R10365, and R10366. The recall was made by the company after design defects were noticed which would prevent the affected blankets from warming patients during surgical procedures. More than 33,000 cases (each containing 5 units), sold worldwide are expected to be returned.

This recall does involve concerns about the airflow design but seems unrelated to the 3M infection cases which are consolidated in the District of Minnesota as MDL 2666- (In Re: Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming Devices Products Liability Litigation) before United States District Judge Joan N. Ericksen.

The court documents indicate more than 4,200 Bair Hugger lawsuits are pending which are filed on behalf of plaintiffs who developed serious and debilitating deep joint infections, allegedly related to the use of 3M’s forced-air warming blankets during their hip or knee replacement surgery.


Monday, Feb 5, 2018

With an almost settlement reached between the plaintiffs and the defendant of the Zimmer Knee Implant MDL No. 2272 for an undisclosed amount, there is a chance that this 7-year ongoing litigation will finally see an end. The settlement amount, if approved, will be divided among the plaintiffs who filed Zimmer Lawsuits following complications faced by the NexGen high-flex components which included loosening of the implant to the failure of the replacement knee, and revision surgery.

The Zimmer lawsuits were consolidated in 2011, as MDL No. 2272, In Re: Zimmer NexGen Knee Implant Products Liability Litigation, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois before Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer.


Tuesday, Feb 20, 2018

Early February, a group of five women who manage the ‘’Essure Problems’’ Facebook group comprising more than 35,000 women who experienced painful and debilitating injuries when the coils migrated, perforated the uterus or fallopian tubes, caused allergic reactions, infections or other complications, met with FDA chief Scott Gottlieb, demanding removal of Essure from the market.

The group presented data and photos of broken coils, stillbirths, injuries and other problems linked to the Essure coils to support the recall; however, the FDA chief put their request on hold until the safety study, designed to examine the side effects of Essure coils is completed by Bayer which involves 2,800 women (it is not expected to be completed until 2023).

Although the product is banned in countries like Australia and Brazil and suspended across Europe, in the U.S. it still continues to be available though with a black-box warning and a patient checklist to be completed prior the implant.

Hundreds of Essure lawsuits are filed against Bayer by women across the country, each raising similar allegations that the birth control device maker failed to adequately warn the medical community and women despite knowing about the serious risks.


Thursday, Feb 1, 2018

Another product liability lawsuit has been filed by a woman from South Carolina against Johnson & Johnson and others, alleging that the use of talcum powder sold under their names, led to her diagnosis of ovarian cancer and the need for hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, full surgical staging and other treatments. She further holds them responsible for not warning about the potential risks associated with their products for years, in spite of knowing about the same. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina.

J&J is defending nearly 7,000 Talcum Powder lawsuits nationwide, filed by women who claim they developed ovarian cancer due to the long-term use of products promoted for feminine hygiene by the defendants. The motley of lawsuits are filed under MDL No. 2738- In re: Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Products Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation formed in 2016, presided by Hon. Freda L. Wolfson, U.S.D.J./ Hon. Lois H. Goodman, U.S.M.J., in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey; hundreds of lawsuits are also filed in Missouri 22nd Circuit Court, St. Louis; cases are also filed in California and Delaware state courts.


Friday, Feb 2, 2018

Taxotere: – MDL No. 2740: in Re Taxotere (Docetaxel) Products Liability Litigation was created on October 4, 2016, under Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt in the Eastern District of Louisiana; the bellwether trial dates are set for January 28, 2019; April 8, 2019; July 15, 2019; and November 4, 2019. There are 7,500 cases filed under this MDL as per the 26th January Joint Status Report submitted by both the parties. The Plaintiffs of the currently pending cases were ordered to produce product information as per the Case Management Report dated 12th January, to be submitted within a period of 15 days from the Order entry date. The rest of the Plaintiffs will have 30 days in hand once a Short Form Complaint has been filed by them with the Court.

A permanent alopecia lawsuit was filed against Sanofi over its chemotherapy drug’s side effects by a Pennsylvania woman in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Allegations included including failure to warn, negligence, fraudulent misrepresentation and concealment, and several others.


Monday, Feb 5, 2018

Another Ethicon Physiomesh product liability lawsuit was filed by a California woman naming Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon as the defendants as she experienced complications following the mesh implant. This case though filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, will soon join the federal multidistrict litigation, MDL No. 2782 (in re Ethicon Physiomesh Flexible composite Hernia Mesh Products Liability Litigation) presided by U.S. District Judge Richard Story in the Northern District of Georgia which was formed to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid contradictory pretrial rulings and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses, and the courts.

Allegations faced by the manufacturers include failure to warn the medical community about the risk of complications following the mesh implantation, design and manufacturing defects and withholding important safety information from patients and the medical community about the risk of complications following hernia surgery due to mesh failure, adhesions, bowel obstructions and other adverse events.

Also, product liability cases continue to be filed by plaintiffs facing hernia complications related to Bard's PerFix Plug, with a possibility of a multidistrict litigation formation against C.R. Bard and its Davol subsidiary.


Friday, Feb 9, 2018

An Invokana lawsuit was filed by a man from Illinois alleging that the side effects of this antidiabetic drug resulted in the amputation of his big toe, thereby holding the manufacturers responsible for failing to adequately warn the users and medical community about the risk.

Another Invokana lawsuit was filed by a man from Florida who had to amputate his second right toe due to ongoing ulceration and osteomyelitis, leaving him permanently disfigured. This was less than a year after he was first prescribed Invokana for treatment of type 2 diabetes. This case too shall soon join the Invokana lawsuits pending in the New Jersey federal court.

Invokana: MDL 2750, in re: Invokana (Canagliflozin) Products Liability Litigation) was created in December 2016, presided by Hon. Brian R. Martinotti, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey; the first bellwether is scheduled for September 2018. Cases are also filed in state courts, primarily in California, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. There are more than 1,000 Invokana lawsuits currently pending the federal MDL and are in the pretrial discovery phase.


Tuesday, Feb 20, 2018

A lawsuit brought by the District Attorney of Santa Clara County Counsel and the Orange County on behalf of the People of the State of California was finally allowed to move forward as per the Orange County Superior Court’s order rejecting efforts by opioid manufacturers to dismiss a lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed in May 2014, alleges that the defendants—including opioid manufacturers Purdue Pharma L.P., Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Endo Health Solutions, Inc., and Actavis PLC—engaged in a deceptive marketing scheme that trivialized the risks of opioids, resulted in rampant over-prescribing, and led to a nationwide epidemic of opioid abuse and addiction.

With this decision, the litigation can move on to the discovery of key documents to demonstrate the manufacturers’ misconduct.


Wednesday, Feb 21, 2018

As J&J is vigorously defending itself in the second ongoing mesothelioma trial allegedly linked to its Talcum Powder product, the company witnessed a dip in its stock value by 5 % earlier this month attributed to the unveiling of documents at the court that revealed the talc powder contained asbestos and other cancer-causing heavy metals.

The giant conglomerate is also facing thousands of ovarian cancer lawsuits filed on behalf of women who allegedly developed ovarian cancer linked to the use of Talcum Powder for feminine hygiene purposes.


Friday, Feb 23, 2018

In August 2017, Proton Pump Inhibitor Lawsuits were centralized in the District of New Jersey naming AstraZeneca (maker of Nexium and Prilosec) and Procter & Gamble (maker of Prilosec OTC) as the defendants, alleging that they failed to adequately warn consumers and the medical community about the serious kidney risks associated with their drugs used to treat symptoms of heartburn, acid reflux, ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems. The MDL now has more than 650 lawsuits filed which are currently in the discovery stage.

However, due to the ongoing issues and delays involving document production from both the manufacturers’ end, the plaintiff lawyers have sent letters to the presiding U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi, twice. The first letter sent on February 13, requested her to consider scheduling bi-weekly teleconferences to address the ongoing issues and delays involving document production by AstraZeneca. This was followed by the second letter on February 16, asking her to order P&G to release documents per the court set dates and to have a specific hearing related to P&G’s discovery issues.


Friday, Feb 23, 2018

Pfizer, Inc., has one more Viagra lawsuit filed against it by a bereaved widow who claims that Viagra was responsible for the development of her husband’s melanoma diagnosis and death. Owing to the growing number of lawsuits filed against the manufacturer of Viagra, the cases were centralized in 2016 as MDL No. 2691 (In Re: Viagra, Sildenafil Citrate, Products Liability Litigation), before Judge Richard Seeborg, in the Northern District of California, and comprise more than 500 lawsuits. Bellwether trials are set to begin in 2019. Allegations include that Pfizer failed to adequately warn the public and the medical community about the risk of skin cancer linked with Viagra, defective design, gross negligence, and fraudulent misrepresentation and concealment.


Monday, Feb 26, 2018

A motion for summary judgment filed by the makers of Abilify, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, was rejected by Judge M. Casey Rodgers presiding over all the federal Abilify lawsuits.

The Abilify lawsuits were centralized in October 2016 as MDL No. 2734 (In Re: Abilify Compulsive Behavior Products Liability Litigation) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. Hundreds of product liability lawsuits are a part of this MDL where the drug makers are facing allegations of failure to warn the patients and the medical community to look out for symptoms of uncontrollable urges to gamble, binge eat, shop and engage in a risky sexual activity. Plaintiffs state that they could have escaped from the effects of gambling losses had earlier warnings been provided to them. The path is now clear for a series of bellwether cases to head trial way. The plaintiffs are further seeking sanctions against the manufacturers of the antipsychotic drug.


Tuesday, Feb 27, 2018

Closely following the heels of the Eli Lilly settlement announcement to resolve all Axiron lawsuits belonging to the MDL 2545 earlier this year, the makers of Testim gel have now reached an agreement to settle all Testim Lawsuits. The defendants named in the Testim lawsuits are Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, Endo Pharmaceuticals, and GlaxoSmithKline and this move would resolve more than 1,300 cases filed by men who suffered heart attacks, strokes and blood clots due to their use of Testim gel.

MDL No. 2545 when consolidated in June 2014 before U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois eventually grew to a size of more than 6,000 lawsuits. The Axiron and Testim settlements are expected to reduce the total number by one-third.

A 45-day stay has been issued for all cases pending against the Testim manufacturers so that the details of the still-undisclosed settlement could be finalized under a Master Settlement Agreement. The forthcoming bellwether trial dates for April 6 and September 10 were vacated by the court. The Testim defendants have made it clear that the settlement will not involve any admission of wrongdoing or liability.


Wednesday, Feb 28, 2018

The Atrium C-Qur hernia mesh lawsuits, which includes all types of C-Qur mesh, were centralized early 2017. Hon. Judge Landya B. McCafferty is presiding over the Atrium Medical Corp. C-Qur Mesh Products Liability Litigation MDL 2753 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire.

A recent complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico, by a New Mexico woman is seeking compensation for the debilitating injury she suffered by a polypropylene mesh manufactured by Atrium Medical Corporation. She had to undergo an additional bowel resection surgery after facing complication. The claimant seeks both compensatory and punitive damages for the claims of negligence, design defect, manufacturing defect, failure to warn and breach of warranty. The polypropylene material used in different hernia products.


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