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.
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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.