After multiple delays, the first of four bellwether trials in the Xarelto MDL is scheduled to begin on April 24, 2017.

Blood In Vein

Four plaintiffs who say they were injured by the blood thinner Xarelto will have to wait a little longer before seeing their day in court. At the request of both plaintiffs and defendants, the four bellwether trials intended to kick off courtroom litigation in the growing Xarelto MDL have been delayed - again.

Xarelto Trials Receive New Trial Dates

The Honorable Eldon E. Fallon, a District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana, approved the postponement on January 30, 2017. In Case Management Order 2D, Judge Fallon outlined a new schedule for the four trials, which will serve as something of a testing ground for more than 15,000 other lawsuits filed over the massively-popular anticoagulant's link to severe bleeding incidents.

The revised calendar will see a new trial begin in four successive months, starting this April:

  • Boudreaux v. Janssen (2:14-cv-02720) - April 24, 2017
    • US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
  • Orr v. Janssen (2:15-cv-03708) - May 30, 2017
    • US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
  • Mingo v. Janssen (2:15-cv-03469) - June 2017
    • US District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi
  • Henry v. Janssen (2:15-cv-00224) - July 2017
    • US District Court for the Northern District of Texas
This is the second time bellwether trials in the Xarelto MDL have been set back. While the cases were initially scheduled to begin in February 2017, the Court shelved trial dates for one month to make room for the NBA All-Star Game, held in New Orleans over the weekend of February 17th.

Xarelto MDL Consolidates 15,000+ Lawsuits

Over 15,000 patients have now filed suit against Janssen Research & Development, accusing the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary of concealing Xarelto's risks. Pharma giant Bayer, the drug's developer, is also named as a defendant. The lawsuits have been consolidated as a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in a Louisiana federal court. In New Orleans, the cases went through pre-trial proceedings as a group, allowing plaintiffs' attorneys to coordinate their legal counsel.

In their claims, injured patients say that Xarelto causes uncontrollable bleeding, including deadly episodes of internal bleeding. Take as one example the lawsuit filed by Joseph Boudreaux, Jr., whose claim has been selected as the first bellwether trial to begin on April 24, 2017. In his lawsuit, Boudreaux, a Louisiana resident, claims to have been prescribed Xarelto as a treatment for atrial fibrillation, or AFib, an abnormal heartbeat that can allow blood clots to form.

Gastrointestinal Bleeding Led To Transfusions, Plaintiff Says

Less than one month after he began to take the drug, Boudreaux was hospitalized with troubling symptoms, court documents state, including dizziness, weakness, fatigue and black stool. Doctors soon diagnosed the man with a gastrointestinal bleed, the lawsuit claims, for which he received "several blood transfusions." All of this trauma, however, could have been prevented, Boudreaux argues, if only the drug's manufacturers had adequately studied Xarelto's side effects in clinical trials.

Unlike traditional blood thinners, the drug was approved without an effective antidote, leaving doctors with virtually no way to avert tragedy. An antidote has been created, FiercePharma reports, but was recently denied FDA approval. Like many other plaintiffs, Joseph Boudreaux, Jr. claims that Xarelto's manufacturers failed to warn doctors, not only of the blood thinner's significant alleged risks, but also that the pharmaceutical lacked an available reversal agent.

The Legal Herald

About Laurence Banville

Attorney Contributor:

Laurence P. Banville, Esq. is the managing partner of Banville Law. He is a regular contributor on several topics including negligent security cases, child sexual abuse and Dram Shop and liquor liability cases.

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