On Wednesday, 3 October 2012, attorneys for the Pradaxa victims and German pharmaceutical company Boehringer-Ingelheim (BI) met before the the Honorable Judge David Herndon. This meeting was the culmination of months of negotiation between the two sides, and among other issues, established numerous deadlines for the completion of steps leading to five “bellwether trials.” These trials will set precedents for other Pradaxa cases going forward.
The first of the bellwether trials is scheduled to begin on 11 August 2014. Subsequent trials will begin approximately every six weeks, with the last one starting on 16 February 2015. These trials are intended to be representative of the more than 130 plaintiffs that currently have cases pending against BI. While not all of these cases may wind up being decided within the agreed upon time frame, the results will have a significant impact on other cases going forward.
Between now and then, the attorneys for both sides will have their work cut out for them. The first step is “initial disclosures,” which BI must provide by 1 November 2012. Among other things, BI will have to provide names and contact information for anyone who may have information pertaining to the case, as well as anyone to whom that information may refer, and any relevant documents. This is standard procedure that is outlined in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 26(a). Normally, both sides to a case must provide initial disclosures; however, this requirement has been suspended for the plaintiffs.
Earlier, attorneys for BI had filed a motion to dismiss cases filed against them prior to the establishment of the current multi-district litigation (MDL) on the basis that the company had provided adequate warning regarding “serious, and sometimes fatal bleeding.” Judge Herndon denied the motion last July because prescribing “...information did not include information regarding the protocol, or lack thereof, for reversing the anticoagulation effects of Pradaxa in patients who experience a severe bleeding event” - in other words, BI failed to warn patients that there was no antidote or treatment available to reverse the bleeding.
Case Management Order Number 6 – Unified Case Management Plan (MDL No. 2385 3:12-md-02385-DRH-SCW) available at http://www.ilsd.uscourts.gov/Documents/mdl2385/cmo6.pdf .
Order Denying Motion to Dismiss (No., 3:12-cv-00611-DRH-SCW) available at http://www.ilsd.uscourts.gov/opinions/ilsd_live.3.12.cv.611.2107129.0.pdf#search=%22pradaxa%22 .
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