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Date set for important bellwether pharmaceutical liability suits


A couple weeks ago we briefly introduced the term 'bellwether' lawsuit. For those readers who missed it or do not remember, these are suits that are expected to give both the plaintiffs' and defendants' bar in certain types of civil suits an indication of how courts and juries tend to react to certain issues and evidence that will be common among many cases about a similar issue. The outcomes in these cases will make it easier for parties to negotiate proper settlements in future cases involving similar allegation, thus allowing the judicial system to be more efficient and, hopefully, saving parties money in litigation costs.

Last January, a federal judge ordered four cases to be selected out of pool of 40 to serve as bellwethers in litigation concerning two of the largest drug manufacturers in the world. Those cases have now been calendared for trial next year, one each in February, March, April and May.

These suits involve allegations against Bayer Healthcare and a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. They concern a drug that goes by the brand name Xarelto, which won approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2011 for the treatment of individuals at risk of strokes or other blood clot problems. It was a popular blood thinner among patients who had conditions such as deep vein thrombosis, heart ailments such as atrial fibrillation or pulmonary embolism and those recovering from hip or knee replacement surgery.

Unfortunately, the drug allegedly led to side effects such as gastrointestinal bleeding, hemorrhaging in the brain and strokes. The increased risk of uncontrollable bleeding was serious enough to be fatal in some cases. The suits seek damages for these side effects and accuse the companies of failing to warn patients and health professionals of these risks.

Texas residents who have experienced problems after using the drug Xarelto may want to pay attention to the outcomes in these cases, as they will likely determine the baseline for damages in pharmaceutical liability cases based on this product, if any. Because of statutes of limitation and other legal technicalities, such individuals may wish to contact an experienced Texas injury attorney.

Source: newyorkcity.legalexaminer.com, "Bellwether Trial Dates For Xarelto Lawsuits Chosen by Presiding Judge Eldon Fallon," Laurence Banville, June 8, 2016

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