The federal judge overseeing what could eventually be hundreds of Invokana lawsuits has indicated his intention to conduct concurrent discovery and mediation. In a Case Management Order issued earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti of the District of New Jersey directed the parties to meet and confer on the appointment of a special master/mediator to preside over those aspects of the litigation.
Court records indicate that around 100 injury claims are now pending in the District of New Jersey, where all federally-filed Invokana lawsuits have been centralized for the purposes of coordinate pretrial proceedings. The consolidated docket was established last month by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, which initially transferred 55 cases to the jurisdiction. All of the pending complaints were filed on behalf of individuals who allegedly developed diabetic ketoacidosis or kidney problems due to their use of the Type 2 diabetes medication.
The Invokana litigation convened its Initial Case Management Conference on January 12th. Judge Martinotti’s subsequent order indicates that the parties are to report the status of the special master/ mediator discussions during the litigation’s next Conference, which has been scheduled for Thursday, February 23rd, 11:00 a.m.
Judge Martinotti’s Order also directs the parties to meet and confer regarding the scheduling of Science Day and other matters. The Order further stipulates that they continue working to prepare a master complaint, short form complaint, master answer, short form answer, plaintiffs’ fact sheet, defendants’ fact sheet, preservation order, discovery plan, and pre-trial schedule.
Invokana belongs to a class of Type 2 diabetes medications called SGLT2 inhibitors. These drugs lower blood glucose levels by inhibiting the absorption of sugar by the kidneys, resulting in its elimination via urine. In December 2015, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) required that the prescribing information for Invokana and other SGLT2 inhibitors include a warning about the potential for diabetic ketoacidosis. At that time, the drugs’ labels were also updated to include information about life-threatening blood infections (urosepsis) and kidney infections (pyelonephritis) originating as urinary tract infections.
Last June, the FDA ordered the manufacturers of several SGLT2 inhibitors, including Invokana, to strengthen label warnings regarding kidney complications, after the drugs were cited in more than 100 reports of acute renal injury.