Early signs of how each side could fare at trial in hundreds of lawsuits over contrasting agents that allegedly cause nephrogenic systemic fibrosis are expected to come out of a San Francisco courtroom.

On Monday a suit against Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals was assigned to trial, to begin in January, in front of San Francisco Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow. Plaintiff Peter Gerber’s suit, which accuses Bayer of negligently designing, testing and marketing Magnevist, a drug used to help doctors read MRIs, is one of hundreds of suits in California and elsewhere alleging that diagnostic drugs containing gadolinium have caused nephrogenic systemic fibrosis. And according to Gerber’s lawyer, his suit is the first to be scheduled for trial.

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