Despite denying their first motion for centralization, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) recently granted the plaintiffs’ second motion for consolidation of Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) claims into a multidistrict litigation (MDL). The MDL will be centralized in the U.S. District for New Jersey because more PPI claims are pending in that court than in any other district. The JPML appointed Judge Claire C. Cecchi to preside over the MDL.
As Beasley Allen previously reported, attorneys for some of the 172 claims against PPI manufacturers filed a new motion with the JPML in June after the panel denied the plaintiffs’ first motion to consolidate earlier this year.
In its latest order, the JPML explained that while the factors that led to the denial of the first motion “remain largely valid,” the addition of a significantly larger number of claims and the burden it places on parties and judicial resources outweigh those factors. The initial denial was based on several factors including the limited number of actions, defendants varying from action to action, and defendants being competitors, which would likely require defendant-specific discovery. The panel explained that “[c]entralization will facilitate a uniform and efficient pretrial approach to this litigation… and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel, and the judiciary.”
Plaintiffs are suing PPI manufacturers after developing kidney damage linked to the use of PPIs. Plaintiffs claim the companies should be held accountable for their failure to warn consumers about the drug’s potential to cause kidney damage. Studies dating back to the 1990s have linked PPIs, including Nexium, Prevacid, and Prilosec, to kidney problems, including Acute Interstitial Nephritis (AIN), which is inflammation in the spaces between the kidney tubules. PPI use has also been linked to an increased risk of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI or Acute Renal Failure) and Chronic Kidney Disease.
The JPML also ruled that all defendants would remain within the MDL. The ruling was in response to the Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. argument that it should be exempt from the MDL. The company argued that because it did not have as many claims against it as the other defendants, it should be excused. The JPML refused to grant this exemption since Takeda was also included in multiple “mixed use claims,” where the plaintiff used more than one PPI manufactured by different defendant drugmakers.
The additional pharmaceutical giants included as defendants in the MDL include: AstraZeneca; Pfizer Inc., (and its subsidiaries Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Wyeth, LLC, and Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories); Procter & Gamble Company; and Novartis Consumer Health, Inc. (and its subsidiaries Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, Inc. and Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research, Inc).
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Lawyers in our firm’s Mass Torts Section are currently investigating cases involving PPI use and AIN, AKI or Acute Renal Failure, and Chronic Kidney Disease. If you would like more information, contact Liz Eiland.
U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation