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Kendra Goldhirsch
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April 24 Marks Beginning of Xarelto Bellwether Trials

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In December 2014, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated all federally filed Xarelto lawsuits in one court in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Since then, both sides have been working toward preparing a small number of cases for bellwether trials to gauge how juries respond to the evidence. Currently, there are over 16,000 Xarelto lawsuits in the Xarelto Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) pending before Judge Eldon Fallon.

Plaintiff Claims He Was Hospitalized After Taking Xarelto

On April 24, 2017, after two delays, the first bellwether trial started in the Xarelto MDL. This case involves a Louisiana resident, who began taking Xarelto in January 2014 for the treatment of atrial fibrillation. In 2011, the FDA approved Xarelto to reduce the risk of strokes in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation. According to the complaint, a month after the Plaintiff started taking Xarelto, he experienced excessive gastrointestinal bleeding and had to be hospitalized. The plaintiff required several blood transfusions and related treatment.

Four Xarelto Bellwether Cases Headed to Court

A total of four Xarelto bellwether cases in the MDL have trial dates.  The second bellwether case set for trial is a wrongful death case, in which the husband of a woman who died of a brain hemorrhage filed suit against the manufacturer of Xarelto.  In this case, the Plaintiffs allege that the decedent started taking Xarelto and around a month later suffered serious excessive bleeding resulting in her death.

The third and fourth bellwether cases in the MDL are scheduled to begin trial in June and July 2017, respectively. The third involves a plaintiff who claims Xarelto caused gastrointestinal bleeding, and the fourth concerns a man who died from gastrointestinal bleeding after taking the drug.

Bellwether trials are test cases that can help the parties determine the direction of a litigation. Depending on how the juries respond to the evidence presented in these cases, the verdicts reached, and the damages awarded, the parties may decide to enter into settlement negotiations or may ask the court to schedule additional trials.

Xarelto Manufacturers Failed to Warn About Lack of Antidote

All of the cases in this MDL involve plaintiffs who took Xarelto at the direction of their doctors and then suffered serious bleeding events, brain hemorrhaging or death. The plaintiffs claim that the manufacturers failed to provide adequate warnings about the risk of potential bleeding events.

Plaintiffs also assert that for patients taking Warfarin, the leading anticoagulant for decades, who develops a serious bleed, they can be treated with vitamin K injections. There is no such treatment or “reversal agent” for Xarelto.  If the patient develops a bleed, they simply must wait for the drug to be washed out of his or her system, which can make side effects extremely dangerous and potentially deadly.