Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary is seeking to remove more than 100 Pennsylvania Invokana lawsuits from state to federal court. According to a report from The Legal Intelligencer, notices of removal filed by the company in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on November 17th cite the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) as the basis for the action.
All of the Invokana cases pending in Philadelphia were filed on behalf of plaintiffs who suffered diabetic ketoacidosis and kidney problems allegedly related to their use of the Type 2 diabetes drug. Earlier this year, plaintiffs requested mass tort status for the docket. All of the complaints similarly allege that Janssen and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharmaceuticals failed to warn patients and doctors about the risks allegedly associated with Invokana. Plaintiffs also claim that the drug was improperly marketed and defectively designed.
In citing the CAFA in its removal notices, Janssen asserts that the purpose of the law is to ensure federal courts can consider “interstate cases of national importance.”
“The Eastern District of Pennsylvania has original subject-matter jurisdiction over these actions because, together, they constitute a ‘mass action,” one of the notices said.
An Invokana lawyer representing some of the plaintiffs in Pennsylvania told the Legal Intelligencer to expect a quick response to Janssen’s action.
“The record is clear that removal is improper under any standard, including CAFA,” he said.
In addition to the Pennsylvania litigation, at least 57 Invokana lawsuits have been filed in federal courts around the U.S. on behalf of individuals who were allegedly harmed by the medication. Next month, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will hear oral arguments on a Motion to centralize those cases before a single judge in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey.
Invokana came to market in March 2013, and was the first SGLT2 inhibitor approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. Last December, the agency required that new information regarding a potential association with diabetic ketoacidosis be added to all SGLT2 inhibitor labels, after a review uncovered dozens of reports of the condition among patients taking the medications.
Just this past June, the regulator ordered the manufacturers of Invokana and several other SGLT2 inhibitors to strengthen label warnings regarding possible kidney complications, after the drugs were cited in more than 100 reports of acute kidney injury.