The first bellwether trials in the Xarelto multidistrict litigation are scheduled to begin on August 1, 2016. Eldon E. Fallon, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Louisiana, announced that fifty plaintiffs would form a bellwether trial pool to go through discovery before next August. More trials are scheduled to take place over the following two months.
Plaintiffs allege that Xarelto, a blood-thinner introduced by Johnson & Johnson in 2011 to replace generic warfarin, is unreasonably dangerous because it has no antidote in case of uncontrolled bleeding. While Xarelto does have some advantages over warfarin, warfarin has an easily administered antidote that can stop bleeding, while Xarelto does not. Bleeding while on Xarelto can lead to hospitalization, transfusion, or lasting injury.
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What is Multidistrict Litigation?
Since dozens of patients have filed Xarelto lawsuits in federal court against Johnson & Johnson, many of these cases have been sent to the District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana for coordinated pretrial proceedings, known as multidistrict litigation (MDL).
With so many cases to decide, representative cases are picked to be decided in bellwether trials. During bellwether trials, the strengths of claims and defenses can be tested, and the verdicts can help guide a future settlement. Bellwether trials are often the first step towards the eventual settlement of an MDL.