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Pradaxa Lawsuits in MDL Move Forward with Bellwether Cases

Currently, more than 1,500 Pradaxa lawsuits are pending as plaintiffs seek compensation for damages related to internal hemorrhaging from the blood thinning medication. Many of the plaintiff’s claims have been consolidated into a Pradaxa side effects MDL, or multidistrict litigation, and a federal judge who is presiding over the MDL is expected to select four test cases soon.

These four cases will be tried in “bellwether” trials so plaintiffs and the defendant, Boehringer Ingelheim, will be able to get a better understanding of how a jury will view their cases.

Pradaxa side effects MDL

Pradaxa is a blood thinner that is designed to prevent stroke. When it introduced the product in 2010, Boehringer Ingelheim marketed the medication as an alternative to warfarin, which had been used to prevent stroke since as far back as 1950. Unfortunately, unlike warfarin, there is no way to stop uncontrollable bleeding if Pradaxa causes hemorrhaging.  Many individuals suffered serious injury or even death as a result of uncontrollable hemorrhaging caused by the use of Pradaxa. Other patients also experienced complications from the use of the medication, including an increased risk of thromboembolic complications and an increased risk of stroke.

Since Pradaxa was taken by many individuals throughout the country, many patients began to experience these dangerous side effects from the medication. Plaintiffs began to file Pradaxa lawsuits in 2012, and while just 21 plaintiffs originally came forward, more than 200 additional plaintiffs filed lawsuits over a single three month period. In light of the fact that so many plaintiffs suffered similar harm, cases were consolidated into MDL. An MDL means that a single federal judge will preside over many cases that are consolidated within his jurisdiction.  All of the plaintiffs will maintain their individual claims, unlike a class action where all claims are grouped into one big case.

One of the benefits of consolidating Pradaxa claims into multidistrict litigation is that the judge can make decisions that affect all cases just one time. For example, in October of 2013, attorneys for Boehringer Ingelheim asked that the judge bar plaintiffs from deposing company executives, including the Chairman of the Board of Managing Directors.  The outcome of decisions like this one affect all plaintiffs as they try to prepare their cases.

Bellwether cases scheduled to resolve Pradaxa lawsuits

Another key reason for the establishment of Pradaxa multidistrict litigation is that several representative claims can be selected from among the thousands filed to act as “bellwether claims” and to move forward to trial. Essentially, this means that certain cases that are very similar to those being brought by most plaintiffs are selected by the judge and those cases go forward into a full trial. The outcome of the bellwether trials provides more information to both the defendant and the plaintiff on how a jury is likely to find and on the amount of compensation, if any, that plaintiffs are likely to be awarded.  Using information from the bellwether trials, plaintiffs and the defendant may be better able to negotiate  a settlement.

The dates for the bellwether cases have now been scheduled, and claims will go before juries on August 11, 2014; November 3, 2014; January 5, 2016; and February 16, 2014.  Both plaintiffs and defendants have been directed to select up to three cases to submit to the judge by December 16, 2013 and the judge will then decide which Pradaxa lawsuits should go forward and be heard on the designated trial dates.