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Parties Argue Over Delays in Testosterone Replacement MDL

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The testosterone replacement therapy MDL has been in progress since June 2014. Both sides have been engaged in pre-trial proceedings like discovery and coordination efforts with state courts.

So far, the MDL court has determined that all potential bellwether trials must involve the product AndroGel, a testosterone replacement product made by AbbVie. AndroGel is by far the most named product in testosterone replacement lawsuits. Because of this large majority, the court determined that only cases with claims for AndroGel should be eligible for selection in the initial bellwether trial pool.

Despite the narrowed field, however, both sides have asked the court for more time to prepare their cases for early trial dates. In a joint status report dated November 18, 2015, the parties discussed their differing reasons for requesting a delay—and their vastly different timelines for completing what they need to get done.

Plaintiffs Ask for an Additional 90 Days to Prepare for Bellwether Trials

The original MDL schedule had the first bellwether trials beginning in October 2016. The parties now express concern that they don’t have enough time to prepare for trial by that date, and have asked the court for an extension.

Plaintiffs propose both sides be given an additional 90 days, and that the number of cases proceeding to expert discovery be increased from 6 up to 12. Further, they suggest the first trial involve a clotting injury, and then future trials alternate between cases involving cardiovascular injuries and clotting injuries.

These changes would move the first bellwether trial to January 2017. “This is a reasonable delay of the original trial schedule,” they state, “that still keeps the MDL moving in an efficient matter.”

Defendants Ask for Over a Year Delay to Make Trial Preparations

The defendants disagree with the plaintiffs’ proposal, and ask for significantly more time. If all the details of their proposal were to be accepted, the first bellwether trials would not begin until at least the end of 2017, creating almost a year delay.

AbbVie wants to move the deadline to complete core fact discovery from January 2016 to June 2016, the deadline to complete choice of bellwether trials from March 2016 to August 2016, the deadline to complete fact discovery and expert discovery for trial cases from July 2016 to February 2017, and the deadline for dispositive and Daubert motions from September 2016 to September 2017.

AbbVie says these new deadlines “are realistic given the amount of work that remains to be done.” Plaintiffs disagree, stating that AbbVie is asking for a prolonged delay “to address an issue that AbbVie has known about for months,” and that they should have already had their files ready. They add that any amendment to the current schedule that would delay trials until later in 2017 “is too much of a departure from the original trial schedule and needlessly delays the MDL.”

Plaintiffs Claim Testosterone Replacement Products Lacked Appropriate Warnings

Plaintiffs filing complaints against AbbVie and other manufacturers of testosterone replacement products claim that the companies failed to provide adequate warnings about the risks of heart attacks, strokes, and other injuries. Several studies have linked these products to an increased risk of cardiovascular events.

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  1. Jay says:
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    Neither side has clean hands when it comes to the delays in setting the bellwether trials.

    Hopefully the additional time allowed under the plaintiff’s proposal gives the parties enough time to settle more of outstanding factual disputes prior to the first round of bellwether trials.