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Will the Xarelto Bellwether Trials Lead to Settlement?

Posted on 12/12/2017Back

Will the Xarelto Bellwether Trials Lead to Settlement?

On December 5, a Philadelphia jury found Johnson & Johnson and Bayer AG responsible for a woman’s injuries that she claims resulted from using Xarelto. The jury awarded Plaintiff Lynn Hartman $27.8 million in damages; $1.8 million for compensatory damages and $26 million in punitive damages. This was the fourth bellwether trial in the Xarelto litigation and the first win for the plaintiffs. The jury concluded that the companies had issued inadequate warnings about the risks of bleeding that are associated with taking Xarelto.

Xarelto is typically prescribed to patients recovering from a knee or hip replacement surgery. The blood thinner is Bayer’s top-selling product, controlling 15% of the anticoagulant market.

It is common for blood thinners to carry the risk of internal bleeding, which requires an emergency antidote to control the bleeding. Xarelto, however, does not have an antidote and it cannot be flushed out through dialysis. This means it is extremely important for Xarelto users to monitor their bodies’ reactions to the drug. The lack of adequate warnings of uncontrolled bleeding and monitoring is what these cases revolve around.

History of Xarelto Bellwether Trials

Bellwether trials are used in large litigations to serve as examples of likely outcomes for the rest of the cases. There have now been four bellwether trials in the Xarelto litigation. The defense has won three cases tried in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, and the plaintiffs just succeeded for the first time in Pennsylvania state court.

The first Xarelto bellwether trial in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of
Louisiana was tried in May 2017. The plaintiff, Joseph Boudreaux, Jr., used Xarelto for about a month before he developed severe gastrointestinal bleeding. Mr. Boudreaux was prescribed Xarelto to reduce the risk of stroke from atrial fibrillation. He was hospitalized for five days and forced to undergo several transfusions due to the bleeding event he experienced. He has since required follow-up medical care (Case No. 2:14-cv-02720). This case resulted in a defense verdict.

The second trial also took place in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The plaintiff was Joseph Orr. He is the husband of a woman who died of a cerebral hemorrhage, or uncontrollable bleeding in the brain, after taking Xarelto for one month (Case No. 2:15-cv-03708). This case also resulted in a defense verdict.

The third bellwether trial took place in August 2017, again in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The plaintiff was Dora Mingo, who claimed that Xarelto was defectively designed and required warnings because the defendants failed to instruct physicians to use Neoplastin PT at the initiation of therapy to identify patients at an increased risk of bleeding. This resulted in yet another defense verdict.

The fourth bellwether mentioned above just finished on December 5, 2017 in Philadelphia with a plaintiff’s verdict against Bayer in the amount of $28 Million in damages against J&J and Bayer. The jury found the companies had provided inadequate warnings about the risks of bleeding associated with Xarelto. The Plaintiff, Lynn Hartman, took Xarelto for more than a year before suffering a gastrointestinal bleed.

There are more than 20,000 cases pending and still more trials to come. It is a virtual certainty that the recent plaintiff’s verdict will be appealed. However, it was important for plaintiffs to get a win. Since Plaintiffs have now won a case, additional trial victories by plaintiffs will help determine the future of this litigation and, ultimately, a potential settlement.

For questions on Xarelto, please contact Senior Partner Stuart Goldenberg.

 

Category Dangerous Drugs