More than 1,700 Pradaxa lawsuits are currently pending before a U.S. District Court judge, with plaintiffs claiming that Boehringer Ingelheim should be held responsible for severe injuries and deaths caused by the anticoagulant. Judge David R. Herndon, recently sanctioned Boehringer Ingelheim for discovery violations and fined the company $931,500. The judge is considering additional sanctions for continued failure to provide crucial documents.
The Pradaxa claims have all been consolidated before Judge Herndon as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) designed to facilitate expedient processing of claims against the drug company. Multidistrict litigations allow for one judge to make decisions on questions of law that are common to all of the individual cases. The decisions that the judge makes include rulings on issues related to discovery. An experienced Pradaxa injury lawyer in Louisville knows that it was this process that resulted in the drug manufacturer facing nearly a million dollars in penalties for its actions.
Pradaxa Sanctioned for Withholding Evidence
Plaintiffs in the Pradaxa lawsuits allege that the drug caused uncontrollable hemorrhaging, resulting in patients vomiting blood and experiencing cardiac problems including heart attacks. Unlike the drug warfarin that Pradaxa serves as an alternative to, there was no antidote to stop bleeding that resulted from Pradaxa complications.
Pradaxa was the first development in the field of anticoagulant medications for decades and it quickly became a top-selling medication upon its release, since it was supposed to provide a safer alternative than warfarin that required fewer dietary restrictions and less monitoring by doctors. More than $1 billion worth of the drug had already been sold by the end of 2012, and many thousands of patients were prescribed the medication to try to prevent blood clots and to reduce stroke risk.
Unfortunately, since the drug was so widely sold, this also means that many patients experienced the complications associated with the medication. With so many pending claims filed, the cases were consolidated before the U.S. District Judge in the MDL. Bellwether trials were then scheduled to move forward. Bellwether trials are representative cases chosen by plaintiffs and defendants. Plaintiffs are given the chance to have their cases tried in court so that both plaintiffs and the defendant can get an idea of what Pradaxa claims are worth and how juries are likely to rule on Pradaxa claims.
When cases move forward, the discovery process occurs and the defendant is required to provide certain relevant information to the plaintiffs as part of pre-trial preparations. Boehringer Ingelheim has thus far refused to comply with discovery orders and provide many of the requested documents that plaintiffs have been granted permission to review. The judge fined Boehringer for the lack of cooperation, indicating that this is only the third time in his entire career that he has had to levy sanctions related to discovery violations.
Unfortunately, the actions of the defendant make it more difficult for plaintiffs to prove their claims. Hopefully the judges order will prompt the defendants to cooperate as required by law so plaintiffs can get justice.