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Actos Trial Jury Returns Defense Verdict in Las Vegas, Plaintiffs Plan to Appeal

Las Vegas Actos Trial Jury Returns Defense VerdictOn May 22, 2014, a jury returned a verdict in favor of the manufacturer defendant in a Las Vegas Actos trial. The suit was filed by two women who developed bladder cancer after taking the diabetes drug. The women sought $60 million in compensatory damages plus billions more in punitive damages. Their lawyers say that they plan to appeal the verdict.

Actos is manufactured by Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. It is a brand name for pioglitazone, which is prescribed to help control blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetes. It has been sold in the United States since 1999. The two plaintiffs in the Las Vegas Actos trial were each diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2012, after taking the drug for between one and two years.

Takeda hid documents, disrespected the court

In a Louisiana Actos trial that ended in April, the drug maker Takeda was hit with a $6 billion punitive damages penalty. The juries in both the Louisiana and the Las Vegas Actos trials were instructed by the judges that Takeda had destroyed documents and that the jurors should assume that those documents would help the plaintiffs.

That was not the only problem for the manufacturer – in the Las Vegas case, the judge ordered discovery sanctions against Takeda. The judge found that Takeda’s lawyers violated evidentiary orders nine times and were generally disrespectful and disruptive in the court. Plaintiffs’ lawyers have argued that the rude behavior by the Takeda lawyers was an intentional attempt to have the judge declare a mistrial. Instead, as a cure, the judge ordered that the jury would receive an instruction that the plaintiff’s frequent objections, which were necessary because of defense discovery abuses, were not to be construed against the plaintiffs. She also reserved the right to impose monetary penalties if the defense lawyers continued to act unprofessionally at trial.

Lawyers for Actos plaintiffs plan to appeal verdict

In Las Vegas, the Actos trial lasted three months. The jury deliberated for two days before returning the defense verdict. The Actos lawyer for the plaintiffs was stunned by the result. Adam Levine, who is both a doctor and lawyer in Florida, expects that the jurors struggled with deciding whether the plaintiffs, who were both in their 80s, would still have developed bladder cancer if they had not taken Actos.

While the jury verdict in favor of Takeda is a setback for Actos lawsuits across the country, the plaintiffs’ lawyers plan to appeal. Because of the sanctions that the judge imposed based on the behavior of Takeda’s lawyers, they may request a mistrial.

Many eyes will be watching any appeal or retrial of the Las Vegas Actos bladder cancer case. Thousands of plaintiffs across the country have sued Takada claiming that the drug manufacturer hid the risk of bladder cancer from consumers and medical professionals.

In 2011, the Federal Drug Administration warned the public that using Actos for more than one year may increase the risk of bladder cancer. In large scale product liability cases, the results of a few initial cases may set the tone, convincing the defendant manufacturer whether to try or settle future cases.

  1. Las Vegas Review-Journal, Japanese company wins Las Vegas lawsuit over diabetes drug Actos,

  2. Las Vegas Review-Journal, Lawyers: Actos not “snake oil” for diabetes,

  3. Las Vegas Review-Journal, Las Vegas judge grants sanctions request for lawyers’ disrespectful behavior,