NEW ORLEANS – A federal district judge in New Orleans has ordered that 1,200 product defect lawsuits against leading prescription painkiller Xarelto be prepared for trial in federal courts across the country. The decision by U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon marks a significant milestone in multidistrict litigation (MDL) filed by thousands of individuals who have suffered serious medical complications after taking Xarelto. In conjunction with his ruling to prepare 1,200 cases for remand to their original trial courts, Judge Fallon ordered the lawsuits to be selected in two groups of 600 cases. Within each group of 600 lawsuits, 200 will be selected by the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC), 200 selected by the defendants and 200 selected randomly by the court. The initial round of 600 lawsuits will be selected by April 30, and the second group will be identified by August 30. Once selected, each lawsuit will be subject to case-specific discovery. The Xarelto MDL includes a total of more than 18,000 lawsuits.
These cases are important, and the facts need to be heard by juries in open court, said Andy Birchfield of the Beasley Allen law firm and co-lead counsel of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee. We are prepared to take these lawsuits to court one-by-one anywhere in the country until Xarelto’s makers take the basic steps necessary to correct the known health and safety risks associated with this drug. The lawsuits charge that Xarelto developers Bayer Healthcare (OTC: BAYRY) and Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), downplayed Xarelto’s risks of serious medical complications and aggressively marketed the drug as an alternative for warfarin in patients needing blood thinners to reduce the risk of dangerous clots. The lawsuits charge that doctors and patients were not fully informed of the risks, which have resulted in thousands of life-threatening complications. The case is In re: Xarelto (rivaroxaban) Products Liability Litigation, case number 2:14-md-02592 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.