Lipitor Lawsuit News 2014: Lipitor Diabetes Lawsuits Consolidated into MDL in South Carolina
Written by Stephen Fields on February 19, 2014
According to a transfer order filed on February 18, 2014, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has granted a motion to centralize the pending state and federal Lipitor Diabetes Lawsuits and ordered all cases transferred to the District of South Carolina for pretrial proceedings.
The panel listed several reasons for granting the motion in the order, noting the similarity in the complaints:
“The complaints in these 56 personal injury actions are highly similar. Plaintiffs allege that they have developed type 2 diabetes as a result of taking Pfizer’s cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor. They contend that Pfizer failed to warn physicians and consumers adequately of the risk of developing type 2 diabetes from taking Lipitor, knew or should have know that the risks of Lipitor included developing diabetes, and negligently, recklessly, and/or carelessly marketed Lipitor without adequate instructions or warnings.” 1
Arguments Presented For Consolidating The Growing Number Of Lipitor Lawsuits
Pfizer introduced Lipitor (atorvastatin) to the U.S. market in 1996 after obtaining FDA approval to sell the drug as a treatment for high cholesterol. It has since become one of the best-known pharmaceutical drugs in the world. Millions of people use it to lower their risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.
But thousands of them are now asking Lipitor lawsuit attorneys to review potential claims against Pfizer. They allege the drug caused them to develop type 2 diabetes.
The link between Lipitor and diabetes was revealed by the Food and Drug Administration in early 2012. The watchdog agency issued a safety alert notifying the public that drugs like atorvastatin (known as statins) were associated with high blood glucose levels and new-onset diabetes. The FDA also noted that the labeling for the medications would be updated to caution new users.
The warning came 16 years after Pfizer began selling its blockbuster medicine to the U.S. public. During that time, it said nothing about the risk of diabetes. Many claimants are now accusing the manufacturer of knowing about the danger, but suppressing information about it, hiding it from consumers and health care professionals.
Plaintiffs Request Consolidation Of Lipitor Diabetes Lawsuits
In 2013, the JPML denied a motion to consolidate lawsuits filed against Pfizer concerning the Lipitor diabetes risk. They determined that the number of cases did not warrant centralization under a single court. However, the most recent motion showed the number of involved actions and plantiffs’ counsels had “increased significantly”.
The motion filed with the JPML argued that consolidating the lawsuits into multidistrict litigation (MDL) would prevent duplicate efforts during discovery. Consolidation would also help to prevent the issuance of inconsistent rulings that might otherwise be made in pretrial issues.
The plaintiffs noted that millions of people have used Pfizer’s cholesterol drug since 1996. Many are just now learning that it may contribute to diabetes, particularly in women. It is likely that many additional lawsuits will be filed in federal district courts over the coming years, making the cases “well-suited for… pretrial consolidation.”
Pfizer Argues Against Consolidation In Lipitor Litigation
Pfizer responded to the request to consolidate lawsuits involving atorvastatin under an MDL. In a response submitted to the JPML, the company expressed its opposition to the idea. Pfizer argued that the small number of cases currently pending against it in federal courts does not warrant consolidation. Moreover, the response continued, its attorneys, as well as counsel retained by the plaintiffs, are experienced in litigating such cases.
Pfizer also noted that establishing a Lipitor MDL would likely encourage others to file “copycat actions with questionable merit.” According to the company, other plaintiffs and their lawyers would join the MDL, hoping the volume of cases would help to expedite a settlement.
The panel was not persuaded, stating that “To the extent that any of these actions (or any actions filed in the future) lack substantive merit, centralization will inure, in fact, to Pfizer’s ultimate benefit.”
What To Expect From A Lipitor MDL For Diabetes Side Effects
Now that the growing number of lawsuits involving Lipitor and diabetes in women are consolidated under multidistrict litigation, it’s important to understand how the process works. Unlike a class action lawsuit, no single case dictates the outcomes of the others. Each case is litigated individually; each plaintiff retains her own counsel.
Multidistrict litigation centralizes the cases under a single court and judge for discovery matters and pretrial motions. Depositions are conducted, interrogatories are sent, and medical experts may be called to offer their insight. The judge appointed to oversee the MDL may also preside over settlement conferences.
The MDL judge may dismiss certain aspects of a case, dismiss it entirely, or decide that a trial is warranted. In the latter scenario, the judge will send the case back to the court in which it was filed to be litigated.
Pfizer failed to warn the public that its cholesterol drug might trigger type 2 diabetes. If the company was negligent in its failure to do so, we believe it should be held accountable for any injuries it is legally responsible for.
If you developed diabetes while using Lipitor, you may be eligible to recover compensation from the manufacturer. Contact a Lipitor lawsuit settlement attorney to discuss your case.
The consultation is free as is the advice. There is no obligation to file a lawsuit. If you decide to do so, there are never any legal fees unless our attorneys recover compensation for you.
There is limited time to file a claim. Call our offices at 1-888-210-9968 at your earliest convenience to learn about your legal options and obtain the compensation you deserve.1. In Re: Lipitor (Atorvastatin Calcium) Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation (No. II)