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In re Xarelto (Rivaroxaban) Products Liability Litigation

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

July 21, 2017

Janssen, (Rec. Docs. 6745 & 6749) THIS DOCUMENT RELATES TO: Dora Mingo

         SECTION L

          NORTH, MAG. JUDGE


          ELDON B. FALLON, United States District Judge

         Before the Court are motions for partial summary judgment filed by Defendants Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Janssen Research & Development, LLC, Janssen Ortho LLC, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer Pharma AG, and Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Inc. (collectively, "Defendants"), arguing that federal law preempts Plaintiffs failure-to-warn claim and design-defect claim under the Mississippi Products Liability Act ("MPLA"). Plaintiff opposes the motions. Having considered the parties' arguments, submissions, and the applicable law, the Court now issues this Order and Reasons.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Xarelto MDL

         This matter arises from damages Plaintiffs claim to have suffered from the manufacture, sale, distribution, and/or use of the medication known as Xarelto, an anti-coagulant used for a variety of blood-thinning medical purposes. Plaintiffs have filed suits against Defendants throughout the nation. Plaintiffs allege that they or their family members suffered severe bleeding and other injuries due to Xarelto's allegedly defective design and inadequate warning label, among other issues.

         The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation determined that the Plaintiffs' claims involved common questions of fact, and that centralization under 28 U.S.C. § 1407 would serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of the litigation. Therefore, on December 12, 2014, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated the Plaintiffs' Xarelto claims into a single multidistrict proceeding ("MDL 2592"). MDL 2592 was assigned to this Court to coordinate discovery and other pretrial matters in the pending cases. Subsequent Xarelto cases filed in federal court have been transferred to this district court to become part of MDL 2592 as "tag along" cases. The Court has appointed committees to represent the parties, and discovery has commenced. The Court, with assistance of counsel, identified a discovery pool of representative cases and selected four bellwether trials. The instant case is the third bellwether trial involving Plaintiff Dora Mingo, a resident of Mississippi

         B. Ms. Mingo's Incident[1]

         Plaintiff underwent a right total hip replacement surgery on January 6, 2015. On January 22, 2015, she was diagnosed with a deep vein thrombosis ("DVT") in her right lower leg at Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center. She was admitted to the hospital under the care of Dr. Renie Jordon, who first evaluated Ms. Mingo on the morning of January 23, 2015, and prescribed Xarelto for her DVT, which developed while she was on Lovenox and then aspirin for anticoagulation after she underwent hip replacement surgery. See Def.'s Mot. (Rec. Doc. 6753) at 2. Dr. Jordon prescribed Xarelto 15 mg twice-daily for 21 days, then 20 mg once-daily thereafter. Prior to receiving her first dose of Xarelto on January 23, 2015, Ms. Mingo's PT was normal at 12.5 (reference range 12.1-15.2). After receiving her first and second dose of Xarelto, a PT test performed on January 24, 2015 revealed Ms. Mingo's PT was high at 23.6 (reference range 12.1-15.2).

         When Ms. Mingo was discharged from the hospital on January 24, 2015, she was instructed to continue taking Xarelto. On February 12, 2015, Woodwork performed by Ms. Mingo's primary care physician, Dr. Jennifer Gholson, showed her hemoglobin was 5.8 (reference range: 12.0-16.0) and her hematocrit was 19.8 (reference range: 36-48). On the morning of February 13, 2015, Ms. Mingo had already taken her last scheduled dose of Xarelto 15 mg, when she received a call from Dr. Gholson's office, instructing her to go to the emergency room immediately.

         Ms. Mingo went to the emergency room at Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center. Additional tests confirmed severe anemia and an acute upper GI bleed, with a PT measurement of 26.2. Ms. Mingo was admitted to the ICU for further treatment, and her Xarelto use was discontinued upon admission.

         That same day, Ms. Mingo was transfused with four units of packed red blood cells and two units of fresh frozen plasma. Dr. Stephen Keith, a gastroenterologist, also performed an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), which revealed a 6mm oozing ulcer of the fundus. Dr. Keith ablated the bleeding ulcer with Argon Plasma Coagulation and placed a hemoclip for hemostasis. Ms. Mingo remained in the ICU for two more days, until February 15, 2015.

         II. ...

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