EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — With the last two pending cases now closed, the Illinois federal judge overseeing the Pradaxa multidistrict litigation on Dec. 11 again recommended that the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) terminate the MDL (In Re: Pradaxa [Dabigatran Etexilate] Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2385, No. 12-md-2385, S.D. Ill.).
PHILADELPHIA — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Dec. 13 denied a petition to review a Zoloft birth defect case that was dismissed when the plaintiffs’ causation expert was excluded by the trial court (Robert and Katherine Porter, et al. v. SmithKline Beecham Corporation, et al., No. 257 EAL 2017, Pa. Sup., Eastern Dist., 2017 Pa. LEXIS 3661).
DALLAS — Nationwide pharmacy DaVita Rx LLC has agreed to pay $63.7 million to resolve federal false claims and kickback allegations that it billed federal health care programs for drugs it never shipped and for taking kickbacks in the form of patient assistance programs, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas announced Dec. 14 (United States of America, ex rel. Patsy Gallian, et al. v. DaVita Rx, LLC, et al., No. 3:16-cv-943, N.D. Texas).
HACKENSACK, N.J. — A New Jersey state court jury on Dec. 14 awarded $15 million to a plaintiff and her husband in the state’s second pelvic mesh trial (Elizabeth Hrymoc, et al. v. Ethicon, Inc., et al., No. L-13686-14, N.J. Super., Bergen Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE
BOSTON — Medtronic Inc. has agreed to pay $12 million to five states to resolve allegations that it engaged in deceptive marketing of the company’s Infuse bone graft, according to a consent judgment entered Dec. 13 in the Suffolk County, Mass., Superior Court (Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Medtronic Sofamor Danek, Inc., et al., No. 17-4030D, Mass. Super., Suffolk Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO — An investor group is the most appropriate candidate for lead plaintiff because it has the largest financial stake in the litigation and meets all other statutory requirements to serve in the role, a federal judge in California ruled Dec. 8 in appointing the investor group as lead plaintiff (Inchen Huang v. Depomed Inc., et al., No. 17-4830, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 202580).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 6 unsealed its Nov. 28 opinion reversing summary judgment in the incretin mimetic multidistrict litigation, saying the MDL judge misapplied a U.S. Supreme Court precedent, improperly blocked discovery, misinterpreted what constituted new evidence and improperly disqualified a plaintiff expert (In Re: Incretin-Based Therapies Products Liability Litigation, Jean Adams, et al. v. Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., et al., No. 15-56997, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 24674).
SAN FRANCISCO — Former InterMune Inc. CEO W. Scott Harkonen, M.D., on Dec. 4 lost another attempt to vacate his 2009 wire fraud conviction when the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said he and his trial counsel voluntarily decided not to present testimony by their own biostatistician and pulmonologist and there was no ineffective counsel (United States of America v. W. Scott Harkonen, M.D., No. 15-16844, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 24475).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judicial panel on Dec. 5 centralized almost 180 federal lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributers by cities, counties and state before U.S. Judge Dan A. Polster of the Northern District of Ohio (In Re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2804, JPMDL).
New developments in the following mass tort drug and device cases are marked in boldface type.
MUNTINLUPA, Philippines — The Philippines Food and Drug Administration on Dec. 4 ordered Sanofi Pasteur Inc. to suspend the sale and distribution of its Dengvaxia dengue fever vaccine in the wake of a post-marketing clinical study indicating that the vaccine poses a potential risk to patients who have not previously been infected by the virus.
PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania state court jury on Dec. 5 awarded an Indiana woman and her husband $27.8 million for injuries allegedly caused by the anticoagulant drug Xarelto, a source told Mealey Publications (Lynn Hartman, et al. v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., et al., No. 160503416, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
CAMDEN, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on Nov. 30 said that a plaintiff’s claims involving an allegedly defective Medtronic Inc. insulin pump are preempted but that in light of the seriousness of the plaintiff’s alleged injuries, the plaintiff can file an amended complaint to assert claims that will parallel federal regulations (Kevin Hart v. Medtronic, Inc., et al., No. 16-5404, D. N.J.).
COLUMBUS, Ga. — One of the oldest active pelvic mesh multidistrict litigations has no more cases, and the MDL should be closed, defendant Mentor Worldwide LLC told the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia on Dec. 4 (In Re: Mentor Corp. ObTape Transobturator Sling Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2004, No. 08-md-2004, M.D. Ga.).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A whistleblower on Nov. 30 was allowed by a New York federal court to voluntarily dismiss without prejudice her five-month-old federal False Claims Act lawsuit against six large opioid manufacturers in light of a federal government investigation, according to a court order (State of New York, ex rel. Laurie Khanzadian v. Purdue Pharma, Inc., et al., No. 17-742, N.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 197239).
SAN FRANCISCO — Defendants and plaintiffs on Dec. 1 and Nov. 30 urged the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to unseal its Nov. 28 order in their appeal of the dismissal of claims involving incretin mimetic diabetes drugs (Jean Adams, et al. v. Merck Sharpe & Dohme Corp., et al., No. 15-56997, 9th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 4 invited the U.S. solicitor general to express the views of the United States on whether there is “clear and convincing evidence” that the Food and Drug Administration would have rejected a stronger warning about femur fractures from the osteoporosis drug Fosamax (Merck Sharpe & Dohme Corp. v. Doris Albrecht, et al., No. 17-290, U.S. Sup.).
SEATTLE — A Washington federal judge on Nov. 30 denied a motion by opioid maker Purdue Pharma LP to certify to the state Supreme Court its challenge of a city’s use of the municipal cost-recovery rule for costs that the defendant says are not a cognizable tort injury (City of Everett v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al., No. 17-209, W.D. Wash., Seattle Div.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Office of Inspector General (OIG) on Nov. 28 rescinded a 2006 advisory opinion for the drug patient assistance program Caring Voice Coalition Inc. after determining that the program provided patient-specific data to one or more supporting drug companies, according to an OIG letter and a company statement.
LAFAYETTE, La. — Although she said she has “grave doubts” about whether the Cherokee Nation has a substantive claim to a third-party lien in the Actos settlement, the Louisiana judge overseeing the multidistrict litigation on Nov. 28 issued a final ruling that the court lacks venue and granted a motion by defendant Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. to transfer the case to a federal court in Oklahoma where the tribe and its allegedly injured members are located (In Re: Actos [Pioglitazone] Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2299, No. 11-md-2299, Cherokee Nation v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals U S A Inc et al., No. 15-1485, W.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 196577).