Between May 2 and May 21, eight states filed civil complaints in their respective state courts against OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma L.P., the controlling Sackler family or both, alleging that the defendants violated state consumer and unfair business laws by misrepresenting the addictive nature of OxyContin and contributing to opioid epidemics in the states.
New developments in the following mass tort drug and device cases are marked in boldface type.
PHOENIX — Opioid maker Insys Therapeutics Inc. got one claim by Anthem Health Plans Inc. dismissed on May 14, but an Arizona federal judge denied dismissal of the five other claims (Blue Cross of California, et al. v. Insys Therapeutics, No. 17-2286, D. Ariz., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81264).
CINCINNATI — Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. on May 8 asked the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to issue a writ of mandamus and order the opioid multidistrict litigation court to reinstate one of its attorneys and her law firm (In Re: Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., et al., No. 19-3415, 6th Cir.).
BOSTON — A federal judge in Massachusetts on May 20 dismissed a Zofran birth defect case with prejudice as to the parents but without prejudice as to the couple’s minor son and ordered the parents to pay defendant GlaxoSmithKline LLC’s (GSK) costs but limited them to $800 (Angela Kutzer, et al. v. GlaxoSmithKline LLC, No. 15-13751, D. Mass. 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84461).
HARTFORD, Conn. — The Connecticut Appellate Court on May 21 affirmed summary judgment in a spinal hardware product liability lawsuit, agreeing that the plaintiff must have an expert witness to testify about why the device allegedly broke (Raymond C. Ferrari v. Johnson and Johnson, Inc., et al., No. AC 41170, Conn. App., 2019 Conn. App. LEXIS 212).
HARTFORD, Conn. — A Connecticut state court judge will decide a punitive damage award in a Pradaxa anticoagulant bleeding injury case after a jury on May 15 said manufacturer defendant Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. should pay a plaintiff $542,464 in compensatory and noneconomic damages (Eugene Roberto v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., et al., No. CPL-HHD CV16-6068484S, Conn. Super., Hartford Jud. Dist.).
PHOENIX — The fourth bellwether case in the C.R. Bard Inc. inferior vena cava (IVC) multidistrict litigation settled May 10, according to civil minutes (Debra Tinlin, et al. v. C.R. Bard, Inc., No. 16-263, D. Ariz.).
BISMARCK, N.D. — A North Dakota state court judge on May 10 dismissed the state’s opioid nuisance lawsuit against OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma L.P., finding the state’s claims preempted by federal law, that the causal connection with the opioid epidemic is too attenuated and that the state’s public nuisance law cannot be applied to drugs (North Dakota, ex rel. Wayne Stenehjem, et al. v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al., No. 08-2018-CV-01300, N.D. Dist., Burleigh Co.).
PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania state court jury on May 17 returned an $80.02 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon Inc. in the 10th trial in the state’s pelvic mesh complex litigation docket (Patricia Mesigian, et al. v. Ethicon Women’s Health and Urology, et al., No. 140200399, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on May 20 ruled that a judge and not a jury should decide if the Food and Drug Administration would have rejected a warning about the risk of femur fractures from the osteoporosis drug Fosamax (Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. v. Doris Albrecht, et al., No. 17-290, U.S. Sup.).
HUNTINGDON, W.Va. — A West Virginia federal judge on May 15 denied judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) or a new trial to drug maker Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. in a Pradaxa anticoagulant case, preserving a $1.7 million verdict that included punitive damages (Claude R. Knight, et al. ex rel. Betty Erelene Knight v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., No. 15-6424, S.D. W.Va., Huntington Div., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81728).
PHILADELPHIA — In a split ruling, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 15 reversed a district court’s denial of a motion to unseal underlying documents created by GlaxoSmithKline LLC (GKS) in the Avandia multidistrict litigation and remanded for application of the common-law right of access and for a document-by-document review (In Re: Avandia Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation [United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776, et al.], Nos. 18-2259 and 18-2656, 3rd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 14470).
CONCORD, N.H. — A New Hampshire judge on May 16 dismissed a fraud count against opioid maker Insys Therapeutics Inc. but allowed the remainder of the plaintiff’s claims that the company paid a physician assistant to prescribe the fentanyl-based pain drug Subsys, resulting in her addiction and withdrawal (Pamela Langlois v. Insys Therapeutics, Inc., No. 19-192, D. N.H., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82622).
FLORENCE, S.C. — A South Carolina federal judge on May 15 denied dismissal of a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that MiMedx Group Inc. paid kickbacks and caused submission of false claims to government health care programs through hidden payments to a foundation that covered patient co-pays (United States of America, ex rel. Jon Vitale v. MiMedx Group, Inc., No. 17-166, D. S.C., Columbia Div., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81632).
NORMAN, Okla. — An Oklahoma state court judge on May 13 denied motions by Johnson & Johnson and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. for summary judgment on Oklahoma’s opioid public nuisance lawsuit (Oklahoma, et al. v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al., No. CJ-2017-816, Okla. Dist., Cleveland Co.).
CHANDLER, Ariz. — Opioid maker Insys Therapeutics Inc. on May 10 and 13 said in a press release and a regulatory filing that in the face of falling sales, litigation expenses, a federal drug settlement and a lack of liquid assets, it may be necessary for it to file a voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, 11 U.S. Code.
PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania state court Risperdal gynecomastia case that was set for trial on May 6 on the issue of punitive damages only was settled on that day, according to court docket entries (Timothy Stange v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., No. 1304-01984, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin federal judge on April 16 granted partial summary judgment in a C.R. Bard Inc. pelvic mesh case for pleading deficiencies but denied dismissal of the plaintiffs other claims (Delinda Karnes, et al. v. C.R. Bard, Inc., No. 18-931, W.D. Wis., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65115).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Public Citizen on April 29 sued the Food and Drug Administration to force it to respond to a citizen petition seeking a black box warning for dopamine agonist drugs about compulsive behavior side effects (Public Citizen v. Food and Drug Administration, No. 19-1229, D. D.C.).