Bayer and Janssen Pharmaceuticals are seeking a new trial, following the $28 million verdict awarded in Pennsylvania’s first trial of a Xarelto lawsuit.
In a post-trial motion filed with the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on Friday, December 15th, the companies argued that the Plaintiffs’ attorneys had a “premeditated plan” to link Bayer with the Nazi regime when they referenced the drug maker’s German origins in their closing arguments.
According to The Legal Intelligencer, the Defendants’ motion further asserted that those comments were “highly prejudicial inflammatory, xenophobic, and unconstitutional,” and warranted a new trial. Among other things, the motion pointed to social media postings by a member of the Plaintiff’s trial team that used the hashtag #KillinNazis to support their arguments.
In their own motion filed on Friday, the Plaintiff’s attorneys called the Defendants’ claims “hyperbole” and characterized their bid for a new trial as “nothing more than a desperate attempt to create an appellate issue, to harass and intimidate, and to attempt to color the court’s view of plaintiff’s counsel prior to the filing of defendants’ post-trial motions.”
Xarelto is a novel blood thinner jointly marketed by Bayer and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit. It was initially approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in October 2011, and is currently indicated for:
Bayer and Janssen are currently named defendants in more than 20,000 Xarelto lawsuits filed on behalf patients who allegedly suffered gastrointestinal bleeds, cerebral hemorrhages, hemorrhagic strokes and other bleeding events because of the drug. Among other things, they assert that Xarelto was wrongly marketed as an improvement over decades-old warfarin (Coumadin), and point out that internal bleeding associated with the older drug can be stopped via the administration of vitamin K. There is currently no approved antidote to reverse Xarelto bleeding events.
The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas is home to a mass tort litigation that includes around 2,000 Xarelto lawsuits. The proceeding’s first trial concluded on December 4th, with the jury awarding $28 million ($1.8 million in actual damages and $26 million in punitive damages) to an Indiana woman who experienced a gastrointestinal hemorrhage after she had been using Xarelto for a little more than a year.
The majority of Xarelto lawsuits are pending in a federal multidistrict litigation now underway in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana. So far three cases have gone to trial in that proceeding, all of which concluded with defense verdicts.