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MDL Court Sets Dates for Xarelto Bellwether Trials

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All federal Xarelto lawsuits, which were consolidated into the Eastern District of Louisiana in December 2014, involve patients who took the drugs and then suffered serious side effects. According to the latest case list from the court, there are now nearly 1,700 cases pending, with more expected to join the litigation in the coming months.

On September 18, 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Eldon Fallon issued a case management order. In it, he set the dates for future bellwether trials, and outlined the processes for discovery.

Court Sets Dates for Xarelto Bellwether Trials

According to the Judge’s order, the initial bellwether trials will take place on the following dates:

• February 6, 2017 (Eastern District of Louisiana)
• March 13, 2017 (Eastern District of Louisiana)
• April 24, 2017 (Mississippi, District to be determined)
• May 30, 2017 (Texas, District to be determined)

The order adds that the court believes the early bellwether trials will “further the efficient progress of this litigation.” Typically, bellwether trials help gauge how the juries will respond to the evidence. They can also help pave the way toward future settlement negotiations between the parties.

Though the court set the first bellwether trial to begin on February 6, 2017, the order does state that the parties can request that the trial be moved by a month and this issue is to be addressed at the November 2016 status conference.

The court also stated that the locations for the third and fourth bellwether trials are subject to change.

Court Outlines Schedule for Discovery

In addition to setting dates for the bellwether trials, the court also outlined the continuing processes for discovery:

• Defendants are to continue to produce documents through July 29, 2016.
• Plaintiffs are allowed 50 depositions of Defendants, including current and former employees of Bayer and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the Xarelto manufacturers. Discovery of Defendants is scheduled to end by September 23, 2016. There are no limitations on third-party depositions.
• Unless the parties agree to an exception, there will be no discovery beyond the bellwether discovery pool unless further ordered by the Court.
• The initial discovery pool consists of 40 Plaintiffs. The parties are to meet to discuss how they will choose those Plaintiffs, and are to report on that no later than December 18, 2015. All cases are to be selected by January 11, 2016.
• All depositions for the bellwether discovery pool are to be completed by July 15, 2016.

The case management order also outlined the schedule for expert witness discovery once the bellwether cases are chosen.

Xarelto Bleeding Risks

The FDA approved Xarelto for reducing the risk of blood clots in patients going through knee and hip replacement surgery in 2011, and later that year for reducing the risk of stroke in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation. Within just a year of being on the market, the drug was linked with 356 adverse events, according to the Institute of Safe Medicine Practices (ISMP) QuarterWatch report. By the first quarter of 2013, that number had risen to 680.

Types of injuries that may result from taking Xarelto include gastrointestinal bleeding, internal bleeding at other areas, brain hemorrhaging, and pulmonary embolism.