The First of the Lipitor Lawsuits Scheduled
According to guidelines issued by the presiding judge in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) involving Lipitor in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, the first Lipitor diabetes lawsuit is scheduled to begin on or after July 1, 2015. Judge Richard M. Gergel has released a case management order stating that plaintiffs will also be allowed to directly apply for involvement in the MDL rather than first filing Lipitor lawsuits with their local districts before transferring.
Other matters noted in the case management order involve guidelines for mediation of any potential discovery-related disagreements, as well as guidelines for the discovery phase itself. The measures are designed to help streamline the process so that the MDL will move forward as quickly and efficiently as possible. The trials to be held after July 1, 2015 will be known as “bellwether” trials, cases that will set the standards for future claims, though each of the Lipitor lawsuits will have its own hearing and results.
The first bellwether trial is a positive sign for plaintiffs across the country because it is a clear indication that the litigation is proceeding as scheduled. This and other bellwether trials will provide both the plaintiffs and defendants with an opportunity to gauge how future cases will be settled in front of a jury. If juries tend to favor one party above the other, the latter may decide that taking the claims to court is not financially worth it and may offer to settle the claims outside of court.
All plaintiffs in the MDL allege in their Lipitor lawsuits that the drug caused them to develop type 2 diabetes and claim that Pfizer, Inc., the manufacturer, failed to warn them of this risk. A request to consolidate past Lipitor lawsuits in July 2013 was rejected because there were only 24 pending Lipitor lawsuits. As more information became available, however, the decision was made in February 2014 to consolidate the Lipitor lawsuits.
Lipitor, a statin medication, is intended to help lower patients’ cholesterol levels. More than 20 million patients in the U.S. take statin drugs, and the manufacturers gross billions in profits. However, data from 2010 suggested that Lipitor and other similar medications such as Zocor and Crestor could potentially increase patients’ blood glucose levels and cause greater memory loss in some patients.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced new warning labels in 2012 to inform consumers of these risks. Several physicians have been cautioned to only prescribe statins to patients who have had cardiovascular complications because the benefits of Lipitor may outweigh the risks. Current lawsuits claim that Pfizer neglected to adequately and properly inform the public and medical communities of this risk even after the manufacturer reportedly received the new label directives and the advisory from the FDA.
Although the future of Pfizer is difficult to predict, the bellwether trials will likely provide insight into how future claims will be settled. Pfizer may then make the decision to continue with the litigation as planned or settle pending cases outside of the courtroom. In the meantime, several Lipitor attorneys believe that hundreds or thousands more Lipitor lawsuit claims may be added to the growing MDL over the next several months.
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Depending on the circumstances surrounding the injury or diagnosis, plaintiffs may be entitled to pursue claims against the manufacturers and recover damages for their condition. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or if you have suffered from severe side-effects while taking Lipitor and you believe you have a case, contact the American Injury Attorney Group today for a free consultation.
We can connect you with an affiliated attorney who can work to help you seek the compensation to which you may be entitled. You may be eligible to recover damages for lost earnings, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and wrongful death if you are filing on behalf of a loved one. The time to pursue a claim is limited, so it is important to seek legal counsel today.