In December 2014, a group of plaintiffs lawyers representing individuals and families who allege that they were seriously injured by the blood thinner Xarelto, filed a motion in federal court requesting that the twenty one Xarelto lawsuits that have been filed in ten federal courts around the United States be consolidated to Judge David Herndon in St. Louis, Illinois as part of a MDL (Multidistrict Litigation) panel.
What Is A MDL?
In litigation such as the Xarelto litigation, this is a step taken when there appears to be a sufficient number of effected plaintiffs and an expectation of hundreds if not thousands more similar cases to be filed in the coming years. The federal judicial panel on multidistrict litigation will grant such a motion if:
- the allegations are against the same defendant – in the Xarelto litigation, the defendants named in the first 21 lawsuits are Bayer AG, and Johnson & Johnson
- the allegations are against the same product – in this MDL, all allegations are against the blood thinner Xarelto; and
- the plaintiffs all suffered similar injuries – all plaintiffs in the Xarelto litigation allege that the drug caused internal bleeding which lead to several serious injuries
If the MDL is granted, then all cases filed in federal courts will be transferred to a specific court and judge so that all litigation, and discovery can be streamlined to save on judicial resources, and to expedite resolution of the litigation for all parties.
How Will This MDL Effect My Xarelto Lawsuit?
If granted, an MDL for Xarelto would expedite the resolution of the litigation, since now all arguments and motions will be decided as one case under the judge. This will avoid a scenario where thousands of motions requesting similar or the exact same relief would be filed individually against the defendants. This avoids years and years of litigation to resolve the matter.
An MDL Is Not A Class Action
Most people often confuse the MDL with a class action lawsuit. However they are very different. A class action is brought in the name of a few plaintiff’s on behalf of thousands. They usually involve litigation where it would be cost prohibitive for an individual of the class to opt out and challenge the defendant alone. If you are part of the class and do not opt out, you accept whatever the result is of that class action. In a MDL scenario, you can accept or reject the settlement reached and transfer your case back to state court to litigate your specific case with the defendants.
Bayer AG and Johnson & Johnson’s Opposition To MDL
The manufacturers of Xarelto oppose the plaintiffs consolidation motion, but requested that if it is granted, that proceedings be transferred to federal court in New Jersey, close to their corporate headquarters.
UPDATE: On December 12, 2014 – the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation granted plaintiffs motion to form a MDL for Xarelto and transfer all currently filed federal cases to Judge Eldon E. Fallon with pretrial proceedings to be performed in the Eastern District of Louisiana.
For a copy of the transfer order, visit this link>>