The decision to consolidate Xarelto lawsuits for pretrial proceedings was announced in December 2014, and affects approximately two dozen lawsuits already filed. However, the announcement of a multidistrict litigation could encourage other patients to come forward, so the number of consolidated lawsuits could grow.
The panel noted that as of the time of consolidation there were 21 lawsuits pending in 10 districts, with the plaintiffs disagreeing about where the lawsuits should be consolidated. The defendants argued against centralization, noting that there are individualized facts for each lawsuit, including the patient’s medical history and dosage; that informal coordination would take care of overlapping discovery; that attorney advertising suggested the cases lack merit; and that an MDL would encourage a flood of copycat complaints.
Judges on the panel wrote in the ruling that although there were individualized facts concerning each lawsuit, there were several important common issues, including the adequacy of Xarelto’s warning label, the results of clinical studies and the alleged need for blood monitoring.
“Almost all personal injury litigation involves questions of causation that are plaintiff-specific,” the panel wrote. “Those differences are not an impediment to centralization where common questions of fact predominate.”
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As such, the panel ruled that centralization of the lawsuits for pretrial proceedings was the best option, and transferred the lawsuits to the Eastern District of Louisiana before Judge Eldon E. Fallon. An initial status conference on the litigation is reportedly scheduled for later in January 2015.
The lawsuit is Xarelto Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2592, U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.