All federally filed testosterone-replacement lawsuits were consolidated into the Northern District of Illinois in June 2014. Since then, the parties have been working toward selecting a small number of cases to serve as the initial bellwether trials, which are typically used to gauge jury reactions to the evidence, and in many cases, to encourage settlement negotiations.
Judge Matthew Kennelly, who was appointed to oversee the proceedings, made the determination early on that the first group of bellwether trials would include only cases concerning AndroGel—the most popular testosterone-replacement product on the market, and the product most commonly at issue in testosterone replacement lawsuits.
Then, in August of 2016, Kennelly set up a similar schedule for determining early bellwether trials involving Axiron, another popular testosterone-replacement medication.
Now, Kennelly has outlined a process for choosing early trials for Fortesta and Testim, two other testosterone replacement products frequently mentioned in these lawsuits as being connected with serious side effects.
Series of Bellwether Trials Starts with AndroGel
Over 6,000 testosterone lawsuits are currently pending in Illinois, with the initial eight AndroGel lawsuits scheduled to go to trial in the latter half of 2017.
Plaintiffs typically claim that they took the testosterone replacement drugs, and then suffered from serious health complications, including heart attacks and strokes, as well as other blood-clot related conditions. They blame the manufacturers for failing to provide adequate warnings about the risks, and for overstating the benefits of their drugs while downplaying the risks.
Two bellwether Axiron cases are scheduled to go to trial in January and March of 2018, well after the bellwether AndroGel cases should be wrapped up. The parties have not yet decided which cases will fill these slots, but they are to be chosen from a pool of 80, cases that were recently randomly selected.
Judge Kennelly will try the different brands of products one after the other over a series of several months, with Fortesta and Testim coming after Axiron has finished up.
Judge Kennelly Outlines Process for Choosing Testim Bellwether Trials
In a new case management order filed September 16, 2016, Judge Kennelly outlined the process for choosing the Testim bellwether trials. The parties will each select 4 cases from a random pool of 60, where the only product of concern is Testim. These selections are to be completed by October 31, 2016.
Then the parties will continue with discovery through May 1, 2017, and the two final cases that will serve as bellwether trial cases are to be chosen by May 12, 2017. The first trial is currently set to start on November 1, 2017.
Fortesta Bellwether Trials to Follow Testim Trials
In another case management order filed on September 16, 2016, Judge Kennelly outlined the process for choosing the Fortesta bellwether trials. For those, the parties are each to select 3 potential cases from a random pool of 50, for a total of 6 cases, all concerning only Fortesta.
The random pool is to be established by July 14, 2017, and by August 18, 2017, the parties are to each identify their three case. Core discovery will continue from August 2017 through February 2018, with the final ruling on which two cases will proceed to trial expected in February 2018. The first trial is scheduled to begin in September 2018.