The initial award was given in April 2014, and involved $9 billion in punitive damages after the jury in the lawsuit heard evidence that Takeda destroyed documents that could have helped the plaintiff’s - Terrence Allen’s - case. The defendants appealed the award and requested a new trial. Judge Rebecca Doherty rejected the motion for a new trial, and refused to throw out the award. She did, however, decrease the award to $38.1 million.
The lawsuit itself (Allen v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America Inc., 12-cv-00064, US District Court, Western District of Louisiana) has implications for future lawsuits. Judge Doherty had previously sanctioned Takeda for destroying documents and allowed the jury to hear that evidence. Although Takeda denied that its actions were improper, the judge told the jury that it could assume the destroyed files would have helped the plaintiff’s case.
In other words, even the lack of documents could work against Takeda. And it seems it already has. In November 2014, a jury fined Takeda $155,000 for destroying documents that could have helped plaintiff Richard Myers. The panel in this case found that Takeda officials intentionally destroyed the files, according to Bloomberg (11/17/14).
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Bloomberg notes that Takeda faces approximately 8,000 lawsuits in total, with 3,500 in pretrial proceedings before Judge Doherty and another 4,500 in various state courts. Whether the results of previous lawsuits will have an effect on Takeda’s handling of pending lawsuits remains to be seen.
Lawsuits allege patients were not adequately warned about the risk of bladder cancer associated with Actos.
The consolidated lawsuit is In Re Actos (Pioglitazone) Products Liability Litigation, 11-md-02299, U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana (Lafayette).