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Nevada Judge Considers Sanctions Against Attorneys for Misconduct in Actos Trial

Apr 28, 2014

A Las Vegas district judge is considering whether to impose sanctions against lawyers for misconduct during a trial over the diabetes drug Actos, manufactured by Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

Last week, Judge Kerry Earley heard arguments that Takeda’s defense team violated court orders and treated the judge disrespectfully during the trial, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. An attorney representing one of the women involved in the case against Takeda also argued that Takeda’s lawyers are engaging in intentional misconduct to cause a mistrial in the case.

Both plaintiffs in the case, Delores Cipriano of Henderson, Nevada, and Bertha Triana of Las Vegas, were diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2012, after taking Actos (pioglitazone). Their cases were consolidated for trial, the Review-Journal reports.

Earley said on April 8th that defense counsel’s behavior during the trial had been, at the least, “very disrespectful,” and also characterized some conduct as “very egregious,” according to the Review-Journal. One attorney had been reprimanded for pointing his finger at Earley and another for rolling her eyes and telling the judge she “was getting emotional.” On April 11, Earley warned attorneys about loud comments or gestures during a sidebar that could be observed by the jury.

In thousands of product liability lawsuits across the country, Takeda is accused of failing to inform consumers and doctors about the bladder cancer risk associated with Actos. In June 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety announcement warning that taking Actos for more than one year may be associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer, the Review-Journal reports, and research published in the British Medical Journal and the Canadian Medical Association Journal support this link. A Louisiana jury recently awarded $6 billion in punitive damages against Takeda in another Actos case.

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