A New Orleans federal jury on June 12 returned a Defense verdict in favor of Janssen and Bayer in the second bellwether trial in multidistrict litigation (MDL) over unstoppable bleeding allegedly caused by their blood thinner Xarelto. It was the second win for the drug companies in the 15,000-case litigation.
In the case, widower Joseph Orr said that the companies failed to warn doctors of Xarelto’s dangers, and therefore were responsible for the stroke that killed his wife Sharyn Orr in May 2015.
Representatives for the Orr family stressed that, notwithstanding the label language, U.S. doctors were victims of an informational imbalance. “Physicians outside the U.S. knew as early as 2013 that patient monitoring and a simple blood test would be useful in predicting and identifying patients that are most likely to suffer serious bleeding. But American doctors were told otherwise,” attorneys for the family said in a statement after the verdict. Sharyn Orr was an academic adviser at Tulane University and was 67 at the time of her death, according to the Plaintiffs.
The Orr family is represented by Andy Birchfield of Beasley Allen Crow Methvin Portis & Miles PC and Brian Barr of Levin Papantonio Thomas Mitchell Rafferty Proctor PA. The drugmakers are represented by Beth Wilkinson of Wilkinson Walsh & Eskovitz and Susan Sharko of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. 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.
Lawyers for the Plaintiffs state that they will continue to press forward with the legal claims of thousands of innocent victims of Xarelto, and they urge the makers of Xarelto to inform U.S. doctors of the simple, widely-available blood test that can be used to identify patients most likely to suffer serious bleeding while on Xarelto. A third bellwether trial is scheduled to start on August 7, 2017, in Jackson, Mississippi.
The Plaintiff in the third bellwether trial is Mississippi woman Dora Mingo, who was prescribed Xarelto after developing a blood clot in her leg after hip replacement surgery. Ms. Mingo took Xarelto for just 21 days before suffering severe anemia and a life-threatening gastrointestinal bleeding. She had to be admitted to the ICU and undergo a surgical procedure and multiple blood transfusions.
In addition to the federal bellwether trials in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, there are several state court cases in Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia set for trial later this year.
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