Bethany Krajelis Jan. 10, 2013, 11:36am

Chief Judge David Herndon said there is “steady progress” in multi-district litigation over Pradaxa and the Yasmin-line of birth control pills.

Herndon was assigned to preside over the Pradaxa litigation in August and has been handling the Yaz MDL for more than three years.

Plaintiffs in the Pradaxa MDL claim that the blood thinning medication made by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals caused serious and fatal bleeding.

The Yaz litigation was created to handle plaintiffs' claims that Bayer Corp.’s birth control pills caused heart attacks, strokes, embolisms and clots.

Herndon said when it comes to the Yaz MDL, there is steady progress in terms of settlements. More than 1,500 cases had been settled as of this past summer.

More suits, however, continue to be transferred into the MDL, which now includes 10,484 member cases and 12,650 plaintiffs, according to the website of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District.

Court documents show that about two dozen suits were transferred into the MDL this month alone.

“No hiccups yet,” Herndon said, quickly adding “knock on wood.”

As for the Pradaxa litigation, Herndon said attorneys are well into the discovery phase with each side producing various documents “by the tens of thousands” and that they will soon begin to take depositions of people with Boehringer.

“We’re really starting now to get to the meat of the litigation,” Herndon said, adding that “pace is picking up more.”

The Pradaxa MDL now includes 176 member cases and 192 plaintiffs, according to the court’s website.  There is also litigation against the drug maker pending in state courts throughout the nation, including at least one in St. Clair County.

The next status conference in the Pradaxa litigation is set for Monday.

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