Max Mitchell | February 02, 2018 at 03:53 PM
With an inventory of pharmaceutical cases that nearly doubled over the past 12 months, Philadelphia’s pharma-related mass tort programs have reached record heights for the second year in a row.
According to latest statistics from the First Judicial District, the total inventory of the city’s mass tort programs went from 6,196 at the beginning of the year to 10,984 by Dec. 31. That is a 77 percent increase for the Complex Litigation Center’s overall inventory.
And when it comes to the pharmaceutical-specific cases, the numbers are even more striking.
At the beginning of 2017, the court had 5,601 pharmaceutical cases pending, which was a record for the court. The latest statistics, however, say that by the end of December, the pharmaceutical inventory jumped to 10,395, which is an 85.5 percent increase.
According to the numbers, the vast majority of the growth is due to the drug Risperdal, which now accounts for more than 56 percent of the total mass tort inventory.
Since Jan. 2, 2017, the number of Risperdal cases jumped from 1,945 to 6,200 by late December, according to the data. That is a 219 percent increase over the 12-month period.
Kline & Specter attorney Thomas R. Kline, who is a lead attorney in the Risperdal litigation, said the significant increase is due to Janssen Pharmaceutical ending a tolling agreement, which then required the plaintiffs to file their cases in court so their claims would not be lost due to the statute of limitations running out.
Kline said he does not expect another wave of cases to be filed soon, but he added there have been no substantive talks regarding a global settlement. However, he said the increase in cases, which he said mostly involve claims related to an earlier version of the Risperdal label that was later updated, as well as a recent ruling by the state Superior Court allowing plaintiffs to push for punitive damages, should put increased pressure on the defendants.
“The inventory increase has been not only, in my view, one of quantity, but also one of quality,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Janssen, the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary that makes Risperdal, said the company plans to “continue to defend this litigation and will try cases where appropriate.”
[Ed: How the hell does Anyone Defend poisoning little children, or anyone of any age with this horror?]
The percentage of out-of-state plaintiffs filing cases in Philadelphia in 2017 also reached a new high, according to the latest number.
Last year, the number of plaintiffs coming from outside the Keystone State was at its lowest period in more than 10 years, at 74 percent, but the number of out-of-state plaintiffs filing in 2017 jumped to 90 percent. That is the highest number since the court began measuring the statistic in 2005.
The mass tort program that saw the second-highest level of growth was the program focused on Xarelto litigation. That litigation grew 33 percent over 2017, going from 1,214 to 1,619 cases, according to the court’s statistics.
It has been an active year for the Xarelto docket, with three bellwether trials happening in the federal wing of the litigation, and one trial coming to a $27.8 million verdict in Philadelphia. That award was later overturned, and the case is on appeal to the Superior Court.
Despite the growth, the litigation saw a much smaller increase in 2017 than it did in 2016. In 2016, the total number of Xarelto cases in Philadelphia grew by 121 percent.
Attorney Michael Weinkowitz of Levin Sedran & Berman, who is co-liaison counsel, said there is nothing on the horizon indicating that the program will see an influx of cases.
“I don’t expect it to grow substantially,” Weinkowitz said.
The mass tort program that saw the largest verdicts over the past year also saw a significant decline over 2017. The pelvic mesh mass tort, which saw a $57.1 million verdict and a $20 million verdict last year, shrunk by 27 percent, according to the latest numbers.
Court records said that, although 37 new pelvic mesh cases were filed, 82 were disposed of during 2017, dropping the total number of pelvic mesh cases from 164 in January 2017 to 119 by the end of the year.
Shanin Specter, who is also of Kline & Specter and is a leading attorney in the pelvic mesh litigation, said most of that dip was due to settlements in cases being handled by other firms.
Thank You Mr Mitchell and Legal Intelligencer.
Ed; And as for the Doctors not being held responsible in this, just, . . . don't, . . . don't even try hiding behind the BS they were lied to by Janssen Sales Reps and they actually fell for it.
Those Doctors weren't about to poison themselves with Risperdal. They knew better.
In fact those Doctors knew So Much better they were paranoid about swallowing it.