Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Arnold New is opting for the bellwether selection system in the Xarelto mass tort program, forgoing the first-in, first-out system for selecting which cases will be tried first.
The bellwether system will to allow for the Xarelto lawsuits that are the most representative of the overall mass tort to be tried first, which is beneficial for the litigants as well as the court since the resulting jury verdicts will provide potentially useful information on the value and strength of all the cases.
Case Management Order Outlines Case Selection, Discovery
Judge New’s Oct. 17 case management order outlines not only the method for selecting cases, but also the method for how discovery will be conducted for the lawsuits in the pool of bellwether cases. Trial selection will deviate from the strict bellwether method with an element of random selection present in the process.
According to the order, 24 lawsuits will be selected as the pool of potential bellwether cases available for trial. Ten of those cases will involve plaintiffs who took Xarelto to reduce the risk of stroke and sustained a gastrointestinal bleed, eight cases will involve plaintiffs who used the drug to treat deep vein thrombosis, and the remaining six will involve plaintiffs who used the drug to reduce their stroke risk and suffered a brain bleed or hemorrhagic stroke. Each party will choose nine cases and the remaining six will be randomly selected.
According to the Louisiana Record, over 9,000 lawsuits have been brought across the U.S. against the makers and distributors of the anticoagulant drug Xarelto. More than 1,000 cases have been filed in state court in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, an additional 1,000 are pending in Delaware, and the majority are centralized in multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Eastern District of Louisiana under U.S. District Court Judge Eldon Fallon.