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Xarelto Bleed Victims Join Mass Tort in Philadelphia

Xarelto Bottle

Administrative Judge Kevin Dougherty of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas recently issued an order that has created a mass tort docket for Xarelto lawsuits filed against Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals. The January 21, 2015 order affects at least 75 cases that share common allegations regarding the medication, including uncontrollable bleeding that may lead to wrongful death. The cases will be transferred to the Pennsylvania state court’s Complex Litigation Center.

A mass tort action is different from a class action lawsuit. In the latter type of litigation, one lawsuit is filed on behalf of many plaintiffs and will be resolved by a sole trial or settlement deal. In contrast, plaintiffs participating in a mass tort reserve their right to an individual trial by jury.

Creation of the mass tort

The plaintiffs involved in this action had argued in favor of the creation of a mass tort, noting that their allegations “are virtually identical and arise from the identical conduct of defendants.” The plaintiffs’ motion went on to note that these common allegations involve the unreasonably dangerous nature of the defendants’ product, Xarelto, which has been linked to severe and uncontrollable internal bleeding that can be fatal.

In their December 2, 2014 brief, the plaintiffs asserted that their common claims include negligence, breach of warranty, negligent misrepresentation, and fraud, while their common issues include whether Xarelto caused bleeding injuries, whether the defendants knew or should have known of these side effects, whether the defendants did not provide adequate warning, and whether the drug’s marketing information misled consumers.

The defendants voiced their opposition to the creation of the mass tort in a motion dated December 19. They argued that since nearly all of the plaintiffs are not residents of Pennsylvania and have no connection to the state, the motion is dismissible on forum non conveniens grounds. In addition to describing a mass tort as “premature,” the defendants claimed that a coordinated legal proceeding would be unnecessary because many Xarelto lawsuits have already been consolidated in a multidistrict litigation (MDL), which is proceeding in Louisiana.

Xarelto allegations

Indeed, a growing number of plaintiffs are expected to file Xarelto lawsuits against the defendants, which may be centralized in the MDL. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) created the MDL on December 12, at which time all federal cases were transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The consolidated pretrial proceedings are being overseen by Judge Eldon Fallon.

According to the plaintiffs in the MDL, more than 1,000 adverse event reports were filed with regard to Xarelto in the year following its entry into the stream of commerce. Of those reports, 65 were reports of patient deaths from uncontrollable bleeding. By the end of 2012, more than 2,000 adverse event reports had been filed with the FDA.

Xarelto (rivaroxaban) is a new generation of blood-thinning medication that is prescribed to patients who are at a higher risk of stroke. By inhibiting the blood’s clotting abilities, the drug can reduce the risk of blood clot formation, thereby reducing the risk of stroke. However, since the blood can no longer clot as effectively, the drug also increases the risk of uncontrollable bleeding that may lead to death.

  1. Philadelphia Court of Common Please, Complex Litigation Center - Mass Tort Information,
  2., Xarelto,
  3. Xarelto, Important Safety Information,