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Pradaxa Wrongful Death Lawsuit Results in $1.25 Million Award

court gavel and settlement moneyThe family of a woman who died from excessive bleeding filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the makers of Pradaxa, claiming that the drug had led to the patient’s death. Recently, a federal jury in West Virginia agreed with the family’s claims. The jury ordered the defendants, Boehringer Ingelheim, to pay $1.25 million in compensation to the plaintiffs.

Thousands of Pradaxa lawsuits filed nationwide

Thousands of similar product liability lawsuits have been filed against the pharmaceutical giant, alleging that the defendants failed to adequately warn doctors and patients of the potentially deadly complications of the drug. In 2012, about 4,000 of these Pradaxa lawsuits were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL). After several years of legal proceedings, the plaintiffs and defendants reached a settlement agreement that resolved all 4,000 lawsuits. The company paid $650 million under the terms of the agreement.

Allegations of the recently resolved lawsuit

The Pradaxa lawsuit that recently resulted in a $1.25 million jury award was filed by the surviving family members of Betty Knight. According to the claim, Knight had first started taking Pradaxa in October 2011. Her doctor prescribed it to treat non-valvular atrial fibrillation—a condition that raises the risk of stroke—after Knight suffered a heart attack. Pradaxa is a blood-thinning medication that inhibits the ability of the platelets to clot, which lowers the risk of stroke while increasing the risk of severe bleeding.

In May 2013, the 84-year-old Knight suffered from uncontrollable gastrointestinal bleeding. She died on September 2, 2013, and her surviving family members filed the wrongful death lawsuit in May 2015. The case went to trial during the fall of 2018. During the three-week trial, the plaintiff’s counsel presented evidence and arguments to support their claim that the defendants had engaged in fraudulent misrepresentation. As proof, one piece of evidence introduced was that Knight’s doctor had originally prescribed warfarin. But, after Knight saw a TV commercial about Pradaxa, she asked her doctor about switching to that drug.

After Knight was hospitalized in May 2013 for uncontrollable bleeding, she was briefly taken off Pradaxa. Upon her release from the hospital, she was prescribed Pradaxa again. From that point until her death, Knight endured frequent hospitalizations and remained in a weakened state. She also suffered a second heart attack.

Findings of the Pradaxa jury

The trial, which was held in the U.S. District Court for the District of West Virginia, concluded on October 17, and the jury returned the verdict on October 18. The jury found in favor of the plaintiffs’ claim of fraudulent misrepresentation. The jurors determined that the blood-thinning medication had caused Knight’s injuries, but that there was insufficient proof that the drug had caused Knight’s death. The jurors further determined that, had it not been for the defendants’ wrongful conduct, the decedent never would have used Pradaxa.

The jury awarded Betty Knight’s two children $50,000 for medical expenses and $200,000 for pain and suffering damages. The plaintiffs were also awarded $1 million in punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish a liable party for particularly egregious or wrongful conduct.

Additional resources:

  1. WebMD, Blood Thinner Basics,
  2. Lexis Legal News, Judge: Absence Of Pradaxa Antidote Isn’t A Design Defect,