The motion filed by the plaintiffs involved centralizing three actions pending in the District of Southern Carolina, one action in the Southern District of Illinois and one action in the Eastern District of Virginia. The judges noted in their order that there were factors in the lawsuits that favored consolidation of the claims, including that the lawsuits made similar allegations.
“The subject actions do share factual issues arising from allegations that taking Pfizer’s cholesterol drug Lipitor can result in the development of type 2 diabetes, and that Pfizer failed adequately to warn consumers of this problem,” the federal judges noted. “The number of actions pending in this litigation might, in other circumstances, be sufficient to justify centralization.”
But, the judges wrote, almost half of the lawsuits already filed are pending in the District of South Carolina. Furthermore, the lawsuits are already moving before one judge in a coordinated manner. Finally, Pfizer reportedly told the judges that it would work with the plaintiffs’ lawyers in non-South Carolina actions, to coordinate common discovery.
According to the judges, the plaintiffs have suggested that many more Lipitor lawsuits are likely to be filed (the judges noted that they were aware of 23 more federal actions in addition to those they were considering); the judges were not willing to consolidate lawsuits based on the potential of future lawsuits.
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Based on those factors, the judges determined that a transfer and consolidation order regarding Lipitor was not necessary and denied the motion. The motion was issued in regards to MDL No. 2459, In Re: Lipitor (Atorvastatin Calcium) Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.