Pradaxa MDL for Hemorrhage Lawsuits

Austin Kirk

By Austin Kirk
Posted August 14, 2012


Following an order (PDF) issued last week, the federal Pradaxa litigation will be consolidated as part of an MDL (multidistrict litigation), before Judge David R. Herndon in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

The Pradaxa MDL will include all hemorrhage lawsuits filed in U.S. District Courts throughout the country, which allege that Boehringer Ingelheim failed to adequately warn doctors and patients about the potential side effects of Pradaxa and the lack of a reversal agent to allow doctors to stop bleeding problems that may develop.

Judge Herndon will preside over pretrial proceedings, coordinating discovery, deciding pretrial motions and likely scheduling a series of Pradaxa bellwether trials to help the parties evaluate how juries may respond to similar evidence that will be offered in many of the cases.

Although individuals may refer to the Pradaxa MDL as a class action, they are different legal processes. In an MDL, although the cases are consolidated for pretrial proceedings, each lawsuit remains an individual claim and each plaintiff has the burden of establishing that their hemorrhage or bleeding injury was caused by the drug maker’s failure to warn.

Unlike a Pradaxa class action, where the litigation moves forward through a class representative, in the event that the cases do not resolve during the MDL proceedings, each individual lawsuit consolidated in the MDL may be remanded back to the court where it was originally filed for a separate trial.

There are currently about 50 lawsuits that will be centralized as part of the Pradaxa MDL, however it is expected that this number will rapidly increase now that the coordinated federal litigation has been established.

The selection of Judge Herndon to preside over the MDL for Pradaxa is a good thing for this litigation. Not only is Judge Herndon known to be a fair judge, but he has also established in prior cases that he can move the litigation forward efficiently and expeditiously, with an eye towards promoting a potential Pradaxa settlement or other resolution for the litigation.

Judge Herndon is also assigned to the federal Yasmin and Yaz MDL, which was established in 2007. More than 8,800 Yaz lawsuits, Yasmin lawsuits and Ocella lawsuits have been centralized before Judge Herndon in the Southern District of Illinois, and he has quickly moved the cases forward, putting a series of “bellwether” cases in a position for trial dates that were scheduled for earlier this year. Those trial dates were ultimately postponed as the manufacturer of Yaz and Yasmin has begun settling lawsuits, following court-ordered mediation.


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