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Propecia Lawsuit Settlements

A year after the Propecia MDL was formed in New York hundreds of plaintiffs from across the nation have joined the consolidated litigation. Alleged complaints range from cognitive problems to persistent and permanent sexual side effects, including erectile dysfunction and impotence. The MDL is still in the pre-trial stage of information collection, but some involved parties are already considering the possibility of Propecia lawsuit settlements.

Drug manufacturer Merck has yet to request mediation or present offers for compensation, but this may change when the MDL’s bellwether trials are scheduled – or when the first trial is set to commence. Often, settlement negotiations can prove preferable for both the plaintiffs and the defense.

Propecia MDL established in April 2012

On April 16, 2012, the U.S. Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) voted to consolidate qualifying federal Propecia lawsuit complaints into multidistrict litigation (MDL). Known as MDL 2331, the consolidated litigation is headquartered in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, under the honorable Judge John Gleeson. Upon creation, just 16 cases were transferred to the MDL; a year later that number had grown to 181 cases.

Propecia courthouseMultidistrict litigation proceedings

Soon after the MDL was formed, Judge Gleeson appointed 15 attorneys to the Executive Committee and the Steering Committee, both of which represent plaintiffs. The lawyers’ jobs will involve various pre-trial procedures, including taking testimony and filing joint motions on behalf of the plaintiffs.

As of May 2013, no bellwether trials have yet been scheduled. Bellwether trials are the first cases to move forward in multidistrict litigation, and help set the tone for other MDL lawsuits. Notably, all Propecia MDL cases are remanded to their original courts for trial; multidistrict litigation only allows for pre-trial coordination, to save time and resources. However, MDL bellwether cases often represent the most common complaints, and therefore can influence later trials. If juries find in favor of the plaintiffs, these cases can also encourage the defendants to initiate settlement negotiations.

Plaintiffs seek jury awards or Propecia lawsuit settlements

The only requirement to enter settlement negotiations is that both sides be willing. Practically speaking, however, proof of probable guilt must also be presented.

For Propecia lawsuits, Merck may be willing to settle with plaintiffs who can prove that:

  • Their side effects, such as persistent erectile dysfunction, are the direct result of taking Propecia; and
  • That the plaintiff had no similar or related pre-existing conditions; and
  • That the plaintiff can provide sufficient proof via medical records of his course of treatment, appearance of symptoms, and attempted treatments.

Propecia side effects that may qualify for settlement include: persistent or permanent erectile dysfunction, abnormal ejaculation volume, abnormal sexual function, cognitive difficulties, gynecomastia (male breast enlargement), impotence, and testicular pain.

Why plaintiffs should consider mediation

Jury trials are often costly and may drag on for years. The outcome is unknown:  will the jury side with the little guy, or will Big Pharma’s deep pockets prove too tough to fight? Furthermore, even after a successful jury verdict is reached, it can be months – or longer – before a plaintiff sees a cent in compensation. In a perfect world, plaintiffs would win their trials, and all their medical expenses, emotional trauma, and other complications would evaporate. Unfortunately, most plaintiffs don’t live in a perfect world.

Settlement mediation gives plaintiffs a chance at guaranteed compensation – monies that can fund medical treatments, couples counseling, and other major expenses related to their side effects. Historically, defendants also benefit from mediation, as out-of-court settlements help them avoid bad publicity, damaged PR, and other concerns that arise during a public trial.

At present, no Propecia lawsuit settlements have been announced. However, as the MDL moves toward scheduling the first bellwether trials, it is likely that Merck will extend offers of mediation to at least some plaintiffs.

Considerations in determining the value of each case

Judges and mediators, as well as attorneys and juries, base their decisions on proof – and on allegations.

The most common causes of action leveled against Merck include:

  • Breach of express and implied warranty
  • Defective manufacturing
  • Design defect
  • Failure to warn
  • Fraud by concealment
  • Fraudulent misrepresentation
  • Negligence
  • Strict liability

Plaintiffs seek compensatory and statutory damages for several reasons, among them:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Lost wages
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium (spouse or partner)
  • Lawsuit costs and attorneys’ fees

Some plaintiffs may also request punitive damages, which seek to punish Merck for willful misconduct, fraud, and a reckless disregard for public safety.