Bellwether trial dates have been selected in the litigation involving Xarelto, an anticoagulant medication that allegedly caused bleeding injuries such as gastrointestinal and intracranial hemorrhaging. Plaintiffs allege that Bayer AG and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, failed to warn that Xarelto presents a risk of uncontrollable bleeding because it lacks a reversal agent. The multidistrict litigation (MDL) pending in Eastern Louisiana consolidates more than 2,800 lawsuits. Judge Eldon Fallon is overseeing the litigation.
According to court documents, four bellwether cases have been selected from these lawsuits. The first two trial dates have been slated for February 6, 2017 and March 13, 2017 in the Eastern District of Louisiana. The third and fourth cases are slated for April 24 and May 30, 2017. Bellwether trials are selected from large pool of lawsuits in an MDL, and the outcome of these trials is often an indication of how remaining cases will proceed.
MDLs are established to make large, complex litigations more efficient. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) created an MDL for Xarelto lawsuits last year, stating “In our judgment, the considerable growth in the litigation over the past few months demonstrates that informal coordination is not practical.”
A mass tort program has also been established in state court in Pennsylvania, where over 500 lawsuits are pending in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
At a January status conference, Judge Fallon stated that “The problem in the past with selecting bellwether cases is that we didn’t drill down on the numbers of cases in order to decide what a good bellwether case is. It was a little bit random,” He went on to say that 40 cases are being selected and that “Hopefully, these 40 cases mimic the census of the entire litigation.”