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Judge Outlines Discovery Plan for Lipitor Diabetes Litigation

The judge overseeing the federal Lipitor multidistrict litigation (MDL) has approved a discovery plan to prepare a small group of bellwether trials set to begin late next summer. There are now about 500 Lipitor Lawsuits included in the MDL, filed on behalf of women who allegedly developed type 2 diabetes after using the medicine. These complaints allege that drugmaker Pfizer knew – or should have known – about the diabetes risk associated with Lipitor, and that the company failed to warn the public and medical communities about this risk.

Free Lipitor Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes after taking Lipitor, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the manufacturer of Lipitor and we can help.

Lipitor Multidistrict Litigation

In February of 2014, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated all Lipitor Lawsuits filed on the federal before U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel in the District of South Carolina. MDLs are used to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting rulings by different judges, and to serve the convenience of all parties involved in the litigation.

Gergel has issued a case management order outlining the discovery phase in the MDL, which will involve the selection of a small number of cases which will be prepared for early trial dates to help gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation process.

The plan requests that plaintiffs’ attorneys submit a list of 7 cases to be part of a discovery pool by June 20th, and for Pfizer’s attorneys to submit a list of 7 other cases 3 days later. These bellwether cases will go through case-specific discovery throughout the remainder of 2014. The pool of discovery cases will then be cut down by December, with each side identifying 3 cases to be removed from consideration for the first Lipitor trials in the multidistrict litigation.

By December 15, Judge Gergel will randomly select 1 of the remaining cases to be scheduled the 1st trial date, which will begin by July 1, 2015. Depending on which side originally submitted the case selected for the 1st trial date, Gergel will then randomly select a case for the 2nd trial date out of the cases submitted by the opposing side.

What is a Bellwether Trial?

In pharmaceutical litigation, where a large number of lawsuits involve similar injuries caused by a prescription drug, it is common for bellwether trials to be ordered. While the outcomes of these cases are not binding in the other lawsuits, they may help facilitate the negotiation of Lipitor settlement agreements that avoid the need for hundreds of trials to take place around the country.

Each of the lawsuits in the multidistrict litigation alleges that Pfizer knew or should have known about Lipitor’s potential to cause type 2 diabetes, yet the company failed to disclose this risk to the public, all the while turning it into one of the best-selling drugs in the United States.

FDA Warning on Lipitor

Lipitor is a cholesterol-lowering medication that is one of the most widely prescribed brand name drugs in the U.S., and it is expected that there will be thousands of type 2 diabetes lawsuits filed before the litigation process is complete. Plaintiffs claim that if information about the risk of diabetes had been fully disclosed, they would have avoided Lipitor in favor of a drug with fewer potential side effects.

In February of 2012, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) required new type 2 diabetes warnings for Lipitor and other statin medications, informing users for the 1st time that their blood glucose levels may change after using the drug. However, plaintiffs allege that Pfizer was aware of the risk of diabetes long before these warnings were issued, with some research linking statins to diabetes as long as a decade ago.

Do I Have a Lipitor Lawsuit?

The Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Lipitor lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new Lipitor Diabetes cases in all 50 states.

Free Lipitor Diabetes Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one developed type 2 diabetes after taking Lipitor, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Lipitor Suit and we can help.

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