Will a social media post ruin the first Xarelto victory that plaintiffs have won in the ongoing battle for compensation? Bayer Inc & Janssen Pharmaceuticals hope that it will.
$27.8 Million Dollar Verdict For Plaintiff At Risk
There are nearly 20,000 lawsuits filed against the manufacturers of Xarelto and until the beginning of December 2017, plaintiffs were beginning to worry because the several trials to take place in Louisiana were shockingly won by the defendants. However, hope was renewed when after a month, the first of the Philadelphia mass tort ended with a huge victory for the plaintiff when the jury awarded them almost $28 million.
Although the defendants announced that they planned to appeal the decision, their argument in a post-trial movement was surprising: they alleged that several social media posts by members of the plaintiff’s legal team which featured the courtroom and sported the hashtag “#killinnazis” were, in fact, a premeditated plan by the attorneys and that the comments were “highly prejudicial inflammatory, xenophobic, and unconstitutional”. They also allege that the social media posts were intended to influence the court’s opinion of the defenses legal team.
Basically, these pharmaceutical companies are trying to say that the posts could have made jurors view the defendants as Nazis, impacting their decision regarding the case. If the judge who is reviewing this motion agrees, the trial could be thrown out, forcing all parties involved to go through an entirely new trial.
Why Was The “#KillinNazis” Hashtag Used?
One of the manufacturers of the blood thinner Xarelto is Bayer Pharmaceuticals, which used be to known under the name IG Farben and although Bayer is now a household name, many aren’t aware of the company’s past.
IG Farben donated massive amounts of money to Hitler’s campaign, supported the Nazi’s and was invested in and helped to produce Zyklon B gas – the gas used in the concentration camps killing chambers. To make matters even worse, the company actually bought Jewish slaves from the concentration camps and forced them to work in factories during WWII, including the factory that Eli Wiesel worked in.
Although the company has apologized for their involvement, many still remember the horrors that occurred.
Juries Should Be Impartial
Most people know that it is illegal for a juror to be “tampered” with – which generally means that those involved in the case can’t pay them, threaten them, or have conversations with them outside of the courtroom which may influence how they choose to side with.
While this might not be a direct way of jury tampering, it is possible that some of the jurors saw the posts including the hashtag. But is that enough to cause a new trial?
Plaintiffs Anxiously Await Outcome
Given that this is the first victory that plaintiffs have had, it’s easy to understand why the possible loss of the victory may cause stress.
These plaintiffs are already dealing with enormous stress – each one is alleging that Xarelto either caused them serious bodily harm or that it killed their loved ones. The most common side effects that are being claimed include:
- GI bleeds
- Brain bleeds
- Pulmonary embolism
- Spinal bleeds
- Liver dysfunction
In addition to this, once a patient begins to bleed either internally or externally, doctors are typically forced to perform a blood transfusion because unlike other blood thinners, Xarelto has no antidote, a fact that many weren’t aware of until after the drug had been prescribed.
The plaintiffs further allege that the company knew, or at the very least, should have known about the dangerous side effects with the drug but they failed to warn the medical community about the issues they did know of and failed to properly test for the others.
Since the drug was first released for sale on the medical market, the FDA has issued several warnings including two black box warnings, the strictest that can be given, but it still hasn’t pulled Xarelto from the market and thousands are prescribed the drug on a regular basis. Not only do the plaintiffs involved in the ongoing litigation hope that by bringing national attention to their battle, others will let their doctors know they would prefer a different blood thinner, potentially saving themselves from suffering painful and debilitating side effects.