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First Xarelto Trial Stalled Over Allegations of Witness Tampering

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Philadelphia, PAAllegations of witness tampering have stalled the beginning of the Xarelto litigation. The first Xarelto trail was set to being Monday, November 6, but instead got sidelined by attempts to determine the significance of a meeting between a key witness, Dr. Timothy Aldridge, the plaintiff’s treating physician, and a Janssen sales representative.

This first trial, taking place in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, is brought by plaintiff Lynn Hartman against Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson (J&J). Hartman’s attorneys stated they were not made aware of the meeting before they deposed Dr. Aldridge. Because they only recently learned of the meeting, they did not have the opportunity to question either the doctor or the sales representative prior to going to court.

Hartman’s lawyers said that scheduled testimony from Dr. Aldridge had essentially changed from indicating that Hartman had suffered a gastrointestinal bleed complicated by Xarelto, to denying whether he knew Hartman had suffered from a gastrointestinal bleed and being hostile to Hartman’s attorney.

Lawyers representing Janssen said they believed the meeting between the witness and the Janssen rep was a routine contact that had nothing to do with the Xarelto litigation. Further, they noted that they had only recently been made aware of the meeting and advised Hartman’s attorneys once they knew.

However, Hartman’s attorneys said there were similarities between this situation and what may have happened recently with a witness in a bellwether trial involving DePuy Orthopedics, also a subsidiary of J&J.

In the DePuy litigation, the federal judge in Texas hearing the case called in the FBI and US Attorney’s Office to investigate allegations of witness tampering.

In the end, the plaintiffs asked the court to preclude Aldridge from testifying. The judge said he will review the testimony, and noted that, when the trial does get started, the attorneys might have to avoid mentioning Aldridge during their opening statements.

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