It has been estimated that drug-maker Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. may ultimately have to defend itself against as many as 10,000 lawsuits in the United States - suits stemming from allegations that its diabetes drug Actos may cause bladder cancer.
Given that Actos was prescribed throughout the county with potential victims nationwide, a Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation recently consolidated the lawsuits related to the potentially dangerous drug to the Western District of Louisiana under Judge Rebecca F. Doherty.
ACTOS CONSOLIDATION ORDER
Given that potential bladder cancer victims could be found in almost any part of the country, for the sake of judicial economy it is generally best for the cases to be heard by one judge in one court. This way, the issues are only determined once instead of countless times.
Parties in the Actos litigation made various arguments as to where the litigation should be consolidated - making arguments for federal District Courts in Illinois, California, Alabama, New York, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio and Louisiana.
The Judicial Panel eventually chose the Western District of Louisiana as the appropriate forum, noting:
"We are persuaded that the Western District of Louisiana is an appropriate transferee district for this litigation. The allegations in this nationwide litigation do not have a strong connection to any particular district, and related actions are pending in numerous districts across the country. Some plaintiffs support centralization in the Western District of Louisiana...and the defendants also support centralization in this district [as their second choice]...Notably, centralization in the Western District of Louisiana permits the Panel to assign the litigation to an experienced judge who sits in a district in which no other multidistrict litigation is pending."
This particular decision only specifically addressed 11 Actos cases, however, over 100 related cases in other federal districts may be treated as potential "tag-along" cases according to the court opinion - meaning they too may eventually be tried in the Western District of Louisiana. This particular opinion may also impact the potentially thousands of Actos lawsuits to come.