Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Arnold New is considering a several motions in next month’s Xarelto side effects bellwether trial, in particular whether the court should allow punitive damages.
Plaintiff Lynn Hartman is suing Xarelto makers Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Germany-based Bayer for not adequately warning that use of the drug could cause major bleeding, including gastrointestinal bleeds and brain hemorrhages. The drug companies claim that either New Jersey or German law should apply to the case, which would mean Hartman would not be able to seek punitive damages.
Hartman’s attorneys argue that Indiana law applies in the case because Hartman is from Indiana. Indiana law also does not allow parties to apply laws from different states to different aspects of the litigation. In that case, Hartman would be eligible for punitive damages.
Janssen and Bayer’s attorneys also filed motions to block some of the plaintiff’s expert witnesses from testifying, including former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner David Kessler. Kessler was a key witness in the Risperdal mass tort, involving disfiguring breast growth allegedly caused by Janssen’s antipsychotic Risperdal. Defendants also want to block the testimony of Dr. Suzanne Parisian, who has testified for plaintiffs in the transvaginal mesh programs.
Hartman’s attorneys have also filed motions in previous months seeking to bar defendants’ experts from testifying that attorney advertising about Xarelto bleeding side effects has caused an increase in the number of injuries.
Hartman’s bellwether trial in the Philadelphia’s mass tort program is scheduled for Nov. 6.