Chief Judge David Herndon has issued a handful of orders this week relating to multi district litigation over Pradaxa.
In addition to laying out some basic guidelines for filing procedures, depositions and expert witnesses, Herndon set a schedule for four "bellwether" trials that would start in August 2014 and end in early 2015, dates that show the MDL has truly just begun.
Herndon's orders came down on Wednesday, when nearly a dozen attorneys participated in the initial conference for the litigation in East St. Louis.
The U.S. Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in August created a Pradaxa MDL to handle claims that the blood thinning medication caused serious and fatal bleeding in users throughout the nation.
The lawsuits also claim that Pradaxa manufacturer, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, failed to warn users of the drug's risks, including the potential for bleeding, and the lack of a reversal agent to counteract its anti-coagulation effects.
By the time the panel issued its transfer order in August, the MDL included 21 claims from 11 different district courts. Within three weeks, the litigation included 78 cases from at least 19 jurisdictions.
As of Wednesday, a total of 131 cases have been filed over Pradaxa, according to Texas attorney Mikal Watts, who represents one of the plaintiffs in the litigation.
Of those cases, Watts said that 120 have been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois and 11 have been filed in state courts in California, Connecticut and Illinois, according to minutes from the conference.
Court records show that the Illinois case remains pending in the St. Clair County Circuit Court.
Herndon noted in one of his orders that a Pradaxa case filed in Connecticut has been set for trial in September 2014 and that he wants to coordinate with state courts "so that two Pradaxa trials are not simultaneously occurring until the end of the MDL bellwether trial schedule."
Herndon, who is also handling the currently pending MDL over the Yasmin-line of birth control pills, wrote in one of his Wednesday orders that he wants the four MDL bellwether trials, as well as the trial set in Connecticut, to occur six weeks apart.
Watts was one of seven attorneys who appeared for the plaintiffs at the MDL's initial conference this week. Four attorneys appeared on behalf of the Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals defendants.
In addition to Watts, Colorado attorney Seth Katz, New York attorney Michael London, Missouri attorneys Mark Niemeyer and Roger Denton, and Edwardsville attorneys Steven Davis and Tor Hoerman appeared on behalf of the plaintiffs.
St. Louis attorney Dan Ball appeared for the defendants, along with Tennessee attorney Eric Hudson, Orlando Rodriquez Richmond of Mississippi and New Jersey attorney Beth Rose.
Herndon set the next conference in the Pradaxa MDL for Nov. 5.