It has been about 4 years since the first Xarelto complaint was filed. In December 2014, a multidistrict litigation (MDL 2592) was created transferring all complaints filed throughout the federal court system to U.S District Judge Eldon Fallon in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Currently, a total of more than 20, 000 Xarelto claims are pending in both state and federal Xarelto dockets against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries including Janssen Pharmaceutical (the manufacturer of Xarelto) and Bayer Healthcare (the marketer of the drug).
Xarelto is a billion dollar blood thinner created to prevent blood clots and protect people from strokes. Xarelto was originally approved for sale by the FDA in November 2012. While Xarelto has been found to be more successful than an older blood thinner, warfarin (Coumadin) in preventing more strokes, it has also shown that it comes with more dangerous potentially deadly, side effects.
Over the last year, the plaintiffs involved in the MDL 2592 have fought tooth and nail against the defense on three separate cases. Here is a brief recap:
Bellwether #1- Defense Verdict
On April 24, 2017, the first Xarelto bellwether trial commenced. The plaintiff in the case was Joseph Boudreaux – Case No (14-cv-02720). Plaintiff claimed that as a result of the Xarelto, he suffered a severe gastrointestinal bleed for which he had to undergo blood transfusions. The trial lasted until May 03, 2017. Plaintiff’s case rested on one central allegation: that the Defendants did not provide proper safety information to his doctor that would have led his doctor to perform further tests. However, the jury returned a verdict for the defense ruling that the Defendants provided adequate instructions for the safe use of Xarelto.
Bellwether #2- Defense Verdict
A few months after the jury returned its verdict in favor of the defense on the Boudreaux case, the second trial started. The case was Joseph Orr v Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., et al. (15-cv-03708). Plaintiff Sharyn Orr took Xarelto to prevent blood clots due to atrial fibrillation. She died after suffering a stroke in 2015. Her surviving spouse and children filed the action. Much like the first case, the defense seemed to have adequately argued that the Xarelto label sufficiently addressed the risk of uncontrolled bleeding. As a result, verdict for the defense was rendered by the jury on June 12, 2017.
Bellwether #3- Defense Verdict
Dora Mingo v Janssen and Bayer et al. (15-cv-03469) was the third bellwether trial for the Xarelto MDL 2592. Ms. Mingo, a resident of Mississippi claimed that Xarelto caused her to suffer internal bleeding and anemia. Similar to the previous two bellwether trials, the jury in this case also cleared the manufacturers of Xarelto from any liability. Jury verdict was rendered on August 18, 2017.
Bellwether #4- Trial moved to 2018
Although the first three bellwether trials have all been defense verdicts, a different set of circumstances in the fourth bellwether could break the chain of wins enjoyed by the defendants. The fourth bellwether trial in the MDL 2592, initially set for trial in October 2017, has been continued until early 2018. Judge Fallon will most likely issue an updated pre-trial schedule in the upcoming months. The fourth bellwether involves the case of William Henry. Plaintiff took Xarelto for about ten months before he suffered internal bleeding in December 2014. He died three years later.
Upcoming Monthly Status Conferences
Parties in the MDL 2592 will hold a monthly status conference on January 30, 2018 and another one on February 27, 2018.
The lawyers at Paglialunga & Harris, PS are reviewing cases for individuals who have experienced side-effects as a result of taking Xarelto. If you or somebody you know used Xarelto and experienced these side-effects, please contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation.