One plaintiff’s lawsuit in Louisiana federal court over allegations that diabetes drug Actos increases the risk of bladder cancer resulted in a $9 billion verdict. What might a jury do in a case consolidating claims by two plaintiffs?
Takeda Pharmaceuticals America Inc. is at trial over combined claims by Delores Cipriano and Bertha Triana, who allege they received inadequate warnings about Actos. Cipriano’s attorney, Robert Eglet, said he plans to seek a multibillion-dollar verdict, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported.
Before the trial started, attorneys Kelly Evans, Chad Fears and Justin Hepworth, of Snell & Wilmer in Las Vegas, with other defense lawyers, asked the Nevada Supreme Court to bar consolidation of the two cases.
“Consolidation causes prejudice on the issue of causation by creating false cancer clusters which, in turn, magnifies juror sympathy for each individual plaintiff,” Takeda’s counsel wrote. “Magnification of such juror sympathy should be a real concern in mass tort litigation in light of the colossal verdicts entered recently in consolidated trials in Nevada.”
The state high court rejected the defense petition for extraordinary writ relief. The consolidated case is expected to run until May.
Actos plaintiffs haven’t always met with success in Nevada. One such trial resulted in a defense verdict. But in Louisiana federal court, last week’s verdict in Allen v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. was the first of nearly 3,000 lawsuits coordinated for pretrial purposes in federal multidistrict litigation.
In that case, the jury awarded $1.475 million in compensatory damages. Takeda was found 75 percent liable and Eli Lilly & Co., which co-promoted Actos, was found 25 percent liable. The jury awarded $9 billion in punitive damages, with $6 billion against Takeda and $3 billion against Lilly.