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Judge Schedules Actos Settlement Conferences Prior to Bellwether Trials


The diabetes drug Actos has been named in several thousand product liability lawsuits across the United States. Accordingly, the cases have been consolidated pursuant to the rules of multidistrict litigation (MDL) – a process which funnels near-identical civil lawsuits into a single litigation tract for purposes of eliminating duplicative routine proceedings.

While the road to legal recovery can be long for Actos plaintiffs, there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel – as federal judge Patrick J. Hanna has ordered the parties to engage in settlement negotiations in hopes of avoiding further conflict and expense.

Status of Actos settlements & litigation

Actos is a prescription-only drug used to control blood sugar fluctuations caused by Type II diabetes. At the outset, the drug was highly-touted as a surefire method for controlling hazardous blood sugar spikes and managing the symptoms of this debilitating disease. However, over time the drug became increasingly linked to the onset of bladder cancer – and victims are asserting the drug company knew of the risks and fraudulently failed to disclose the facts.

Beginning in 2011, the Actos MDL has been ongoing before Judge Rebecca F. Doherty of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.

Defendants Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly have been defending against plaintiffs’ claims, including:

  • Failure to warn of known risks
  • Defective design
  • Defective manufacturing
  • Unlawful marketing tactics
  • Breach of implied and express warranties
  • Strict liability

Details of settlement conference order

On March 17, 2015, US Magistrate Judge Hanna moved parties along by ordering a series of five Actos settlement conferences, each to occur several months apart spanning 2015 through 2016. The conferences are to be attended by the defendant pharmaceutical companies, co-lead counsel from the plaintiffs’ steering committee, the Special Master assigned to the case, and representatives from each involved insurance company. Prior to each conference, parties are to submit a short statement to the Special Master including the following details:

  • Name and title of the representative scheduled to attend the conference;
  • A brief statement as to the liability issues present in the case;
  • A synopsis of settlement negotiations so far, including an explanation of any “sticking points” preventing settlement;
  • A summary of plaintiffs’ injuries, surgeries, and follow-up medical procedures;
  • Preferences with regard to the format of settlement negotiations, and;
  • Any other information that could help or hurt the chances of a settlement between the parties.

While the vast majority of Actos lawsuits are awaiting final resolution, several have been decided in state courts, including a $3.6 million jury verdict in Pennsylvania in February, 2015 – along with over $1 million in punitive damages., Actos Safety Communication,