Actos Litigation Update: MDL Trial Dates Moved Up
Actos bladder cancer lawsuits make up the bulk of the 3,000 complaints against Takeda that have been consolidated in federal court before Honorable Judge Doherty. The Actos multidistrict litigation (MDL) is currently proceeding in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. The mass litigation was formed on December 29, 2011 to help streamline the pre-trial process, by eliminating conflicting judicial rulings and avoiding duplicate discovery, while allowing each plaintiff to retain the individual status of their case.
At present, the very first Actos bladder cancer trial is underway in the Superior Court of California for Los Angeles County, where claimant Jack Cooper is charging the defendant with failure to warn after being diagnosed with the disease following his use of the diabetes medication. Due to the extent of his bladder cancer and precarious health, Cooper’s case was expedited and commenced on February 19.
Actos litigation update: MDL bellwether trial dates moved up
U.S. District Judge Rebecca Doherty recently announced a novel Pilot Bellwether Program in the federal Actos multidistrict litigation, with a fast-tracked schedule that will include two bellwether trials. The first Actos MDL trial is slated to start on January 27, 2014, and the second trial will begin on April 14, 2014. This decision will impact the pending Actos bladder cancer lawsuits, with a new “hard and fast” schedule. “This court is aware that the schedule established herein will place extraordinary burdens on this court, counsel, and parties,” Judge Doherty commented on the order. “Nonetheless, this abbreviated schedule is imposed so as to serve the very important goal of moving these proceedings toward completion of this court’s responsibilities in a reasonable time frame.”
To get ready for the first Actos MDL trial, both parties have been instructed to nominate five Actos bladder cancer lawsuits each for the Pilot Discovery pool by April 1, 2013. In order to be eligible for the Discovery list, the claims must involve plaintiffs who have been medically diagnosed with bladder cancer after taking Actos. To comply with the new Pilot Bellwether Program, Doherty created the following timetable:
- April 1, 2013: Both parties nominate 5 Pilot Bellwether Discovery Pool cases
- July 15, 2013: Plaintiffs identify their nominee for the first trial, and defendants will name theirs for the second bellwether trial
- October 1, 2013: Discovery deadline
- January 13, 2014: Actos MDL pre-trial conference
In light of the thousands of pending claims – many of which were filed by plaintiffs in poor health due to bladder cancer – Judge Doherty said that the Pilot Program deadlines were considered hard and fast, and confirmed “They will not be extended, continued, or delayed by the court in any way absent extraordinarily good cause shown.”
Similar allegations cited in Actos bladder cancer lawsuits
Considered test cases, the bellwether trials will help measure how juries are likely to react to testimony and evidence presented by both defendant and plaintiffs in the thousands of pending lawsuits. In 2011, the FDA released a safety communication warning that patients who ingested Actos for more than a year may be at an increased risk for developing bladder cancer. Since the FDA Actos warning, a flood of claims by injured patients have been filed against Takeda Pharmaceuticals, with plaintiffs demanding monetary damages based on allegations that the drug maker knew of Actos bladder cancer risks but failed to warn both the public and medical community.