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Judicial Panel Considers Consolidating Invokana Lawsuits

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Charlotte, NCOn December 1, 2016, the US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) considered consolidating Invokana lawsuits for pretrial proceedings. Although a decision has not been issued yet, a response to the motion for consolidation was filed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals and indicates the company is also in favor of consolidating the lawsuits.

Invokana lawsuits allege patients were not properly warned about the risk of diabetic ketoacidosis, a potentially serious situation in which patients develop high level of ketones. Additionally, some patients allege they developed kidney failure as a result of using Invokana. According to some reports, at least 57 separate Invokana lawsuits have been filed in 11 federal districts alleging failure to warn on the part of Janssen. Another 87 lawsuits filed in Philadelphia are under consideration for consolidation in that jurisdiction.

In October, Janssen filed a response to the motion for consolidation, noting that it agreed the lawsuits should be consolidated and transferred to a single court for pretrial proceedings. In its filing, however, Janssen noted the suits should be transferred to a judge with the ability to manage the lawsuits and prevent any abuse of the courts. The company agreed with the proposed move to New Jersey before Judge Brian Martinotti and proposed Judge Amy St. Eve in the Northern District of Illinois as an alternative.

Among arguments in favor of transferring the lawsuit to New Jersey are that Judge Martinotti has already advanced some pending Invokana lawsuits and that 37 of the 57 pending lawsuits were filed in New Jersey, meaning far fewer would have to be transferred to the jurisdiction.

Consolidation of lawsuits is done when there are similar claims made in a variety of lawsuits. Those similar suits are consolidated to prevent duplication of efforts and move the cases through the courts more quickly. Having the lawsuits consolidated, however, is not a comment on the merits of the individual suits.

Janssen had tried to have a lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania dismissed, arguing the plaintiff had no ties to Pennsylvania and getting the doctor to testify in Pennsylvania would be problematic. The plaintiff—Matthew Landes—argued because Janssen has offices in Pennsylvania, filing the lawsuit in the city would make evidence collecting more efficient.

Judge Denis P. Cohen refused Janssen's request to dismiss the lawsuit but did not give a reason for the decision.

The proposed New Jersey MDL is In Re: Invokana (Canagliflozin) Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2750.

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