CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 17 affirmed dismissal of a Gardasil human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine injury case because the plaintiffs did not establish that the vaccine was contaminated or adulterated (Shannon Powers, et al. v. Merck & Company, Inc., et al., No. 18-4001, 6th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 21137).
New developments in the following mass tort drug and device cases are marked in boldface type.
CINCINNATI — A lawsuit against the corporate successors of former plaintiff attorney Stanley M. Chesley by Kentucky fen-phen plaintiffs was voluntarily dismissed June 26 when the parties filed a notice with an Ohio federal court that the $19.19 million judgment against the law firm has been paid (Connie McGirr, et al. v. Thomas F. Rehme, et al., No. 16-464, S.D. Ohio, Western Div.).
NEW ORLEANS — The Louisiana federal judge presiding over the Taxotere hair loss multidistrict litigation on July 9 granted summary judgment and partial summary judgment in four cases on the grounds of the state’s statute of limitations and learned intermediary doctrine (In Re: Taxotere [Docetaxel] Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2740, No. 16-md-2740, E.D. La., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113447).
PHILADELPHIA — The Pennsylvania Superior Court on July 16 reversed a trial court’s compulsory nonsuit in a Risperdal gynecomastia case and remanded the case for a new trial, saying that under applicable Texas law, the plaintiffs presented sufficient prima facie evidence to support their claim (T.M., et al. v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., et al., No. 184-EDA 2018, Pa. Super., 2019 Pa. Super. LEXIS 708).
CLEVELAND — An Ohio federal judge on July 8 remanded a Medtronic Inc. pacemaker case to state court after determining that federal-question jurisdiction or a preemption defense cannot be used to assert federal court jurisdiction (Heather Lecce, et al. v. Medtronic, Inc., et al., No. 18-2720, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Div., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112731).
PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania federal court judge on July 12 dismissed another attempt by a couple to bring a lawsuit alleging injury from the Zostavax shingles vaccine, this time agreeing with defendant Merck & Co. Inc. that the latest complaint is barred by the doctrine of res judicata (Chris Juday, et al. v. Merck & Co., Inc., et al., No. 19-2037, E.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116369).
PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania jury on June 28 awarded $500,000 in compensatory damages to a women who says she suffered injuries from a Prolift pelvic mesh device made by the Ethicon Women’s Health & Urology Division of Ethicon Inc., an attorney source told Mealey Publications (Linda Dunfee, et al. v. Ethicon Women’s Health & Urology, et al., No. 151002736, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
TAMPA — A Florida state court jury on July 11 ruled in favor of Zimmer Inc. and a distributor in a hip prosthesis case, finding that the device was not defectively designed and was not the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries (Diane Noto, et al. v. Zimmer, Inc., et al., No. 17-CA-006630, Fla. Cir., Hillsborough Co.).
SAN DIEGO — Opening arguments took place July 15 in California’s civil lawsuit alleging that Johnson & Johnson and its Ethicon subsidiary engaged in false advertising and deceptive marketing for pelvic mesh devices (California v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 37-2016-00017229-CU-MC-CTL, Calif. Super., San Diego Co.).
NORMAN, Okla. — An attorney for Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals on July 15 told an Oklahoma judge to trust Oklahoma doctors to decide whether to prescribe long-term use of opioid for chronic, non-cancer pain and find that the defendants played little to no role in the state’s opioid abuse crisis (Oklahoma, et al. v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al., No. CJ-2017-816, Okla. Dist., Cleveland Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Appeals by myriad drug makers of a Delaware federal judge’s rejection of their challenge to the validity of several patents directed to Suboxone Film were largely unsuccessful July 12, when a divided Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals agreed with the district court on nearly all issues presented in the case (Indivior Inc., et al. v. Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories SA, et al., Nos. 2017-2587, 2018-1010, -1058, -1062, -1114, -1115, -1176, -1177; Indivior Inc., et al. v. Alvogen Pine Brook LLC, Nos. 2018-1949, -2045, Fed. Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 20680).
NORMAN, Okla. — In closing arguments in Oklahoma’s public nuisance lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, a state attorney on July 15 told a state court judge that defendant Johnson & Johnson is responsible for the state’s opioid crisis because it grew opium poppies, because it told doctors opioids were safe for everyday pain and relatively nonaddictive and because it funded pain patient advocacy groups to normalize the drugs (Oklahoma, et al. v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al., No. CJ-2017-816, Okla. Dist., Cleveland Co.).
ABINGDON, Va. — Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC’s $1.4 billion opioid-related settlement with the United States consists of a multimillion-dollar forfeiture, civil settlement, an unfair competition complaint and an agreement not sell the most controlled drugs in the United States for three years, the U.S. Justice Department disclosed July 11 (United States v. Indivior Inc. et al., No. 19-cr-16. W.D. Va.).
CHICAGO — An Illinois federal judge on July 11 entered judgment against a widow in a Paxil suicide case, apparently rejecting the plaintiff’s request that in light of a May U.S. Supreme Court ruling, he revisit his ruling on whether there was “clear evidence” that the Food and Drug Administration would have rejected a warning about suicide in adults (Wendy B. Dolin, et al. v. SmithKlineBeecham Corporation, et al., No. 12-6403, N.D. Ill.).
SLOUGH, England — Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC on July 11 announced that it has reached agreements with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to pay up to $1.4 billion to resolve federal investigations into the marketing of the company’s former Suboxone Film opioid treatment.
PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania federal judge presiding over the Zostavax multidistrict litigation on July 8 ordered Merck & Co. Inc. to produce adverse event data about alleged injuries caused by the shingles vaccine (In Re: Zostavax [Zoster Vaccine Live] Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2848, No. 19-md-2848, E.D. Pa.).
CHICAGO — GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in a July 8 brief tells an Illinois federal court that the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the “clear evidence” standard for drug warning label cases is not a change in law that warrants overturning the reversal of a $3 million Paxil suicide verdict (Wendy B. Dolin, et al. v. SmithKlineBeecham Corporation, et al., No. 12-6403, N.D. Ill.).
BOSTON — The United States on July 8 asked a Massachusetts federal judge to continue the sentencing of two former Insys Therapeutics Inc. executives because they are cooperating with federal investigation in at least eight other federal districts (United States v. Michael L. Babich, et al., No. 16-cr-10343, D. Mass.).
NORMAN, Okla. — An Oklahoma state court judge on July 8 denied a motion by Johnson & Johnson for a directed judgment in the state’s opioid public nuisance lawsuit against the manufacturer defendant, according to a press statement by the state attorney general (Oklahoma, et al. v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al., No. CJ-2017-816, Okla. Dist., Cleveland Co.).