Three trials involving testosterone side effects have taken place in 2017 and another 10 or 11 cases are scheduled to be tried through 2019, due to U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly’s interest in ensuring all plaintiffs and defendants have the benefit of timely bellwethers.
The multidistrict litigation is consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and names a handful of testosterone manufacturers including AbbVie Inc., Eli Lilly & Co., and Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc. There are also state cases by Illinois residents against AbbVie. The Cook County judge is coordinating with Judge Kennelly on those cases.
Judge Kennelly created three more sets of bellwethers, asking both sides to pick 12 cases to be trial-ready by August, another two dozen to be ready by January 2019, and an additional 46 cases to be ready by July 2019. More than half the cases in each group name AbbVie.
Cases against Actavis Inc. and Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., were slated for the January 2019 group. The two Actavis cases were selected by Judge Kennelly in December 2017.
People suing makers of testosterone replacement therapies claim the drug manufacturers failed to warn that use of the products could cause potentially fatal heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots. The drug makers are also accused of marketing the drug for off-label uses – for the treatment of so-called Low T, an age-related testosterone drop.
Jurors in the first bellwether trial, which involved the case of Jesse Mitchell, didn’t find AbbVie liable for Mitchell’s heart attack but did slap the company with $150 million in punitive damages for misrepresenting and fraudulent marketing of AndroGel related to Low T. Last week, the judge overseeing the case tossed out the verdict and ordered a new trial saying punitive damages couldn’t be delivered when there were no compensatory damages.
The second bellwether, involving Joseph Konrad, resulted in a verdict against AbbVie of $140,000 in compensatory damages and $140 million in punitive damages. The third bellwether fell in favor of the defendants, Auxilium.