Proton Pump Inhibitor Lawsuit Attorneys Seek to Bundle 300 Plaintiffs in Single Complaint

Published on April 5, 2018 by Sandy Liebhard

Proton pump inhibitor lawsuits continue to move forward in the federal litigation currently underway in New Jersey, where plaintiffs’ attorneys recently requested permission to temporarily bundle up to 300 individual claims in a single complaint.

Proposal Asserts Temporary Bundling Will Avoid Needless, Large Expenses

According to a Proposed Case Management Order filed with the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey on March 27th, the 300 plaintiffs included in a bundled complaint would be residents of the same state. The proposal would require that their individual claims be severed from the bundled complaint and refiled within 9 months.

“Each Plaintiff severed from the bundled complaint would be placed on an accelerated schedule for providing evidence of PPI use and a kidney injury,” the proposal states. “Thus, within nine months of filing a bundled complaint, each Plaintiff will have either been dismissed without any motion practice or Defendants will have received evidence of Plaintiff’s claims prior to having to serve an Answer. Of note, any severed case will relate back, for statute of limitations purposes, to the original date of the bundled complaint.”

Plaintiffs contended that temporary bundling would allow cases to be filed before the applicable statute of limitations expires and enable all parties to avoid needless, large, expenses.  However, defendants oppose the plan, which they characterized as an improper attempt by plaintiffs to “achieve tolling, suspend their Rule 11 obligations, and avoid substantial filing fees, without the consent of Defendants” in a Response filed with the Court on April 2nd.

Proton Pump Inhibitor Allegations

At least 856 proton pump inhibitor lawsuits are pending in the District of New Jersey, all of which were filed on behalf of individuals who suffered kidney failure and other renal complications allegedly due to the long-term use of Nexium, Prilosec, PrevAcid or Protonix. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) created the centralized docket last year to improve judicial efficiency and allow all such federal claims to undergo coordinated discovery and other pretrial proceedings.

Proton pump inhibitor lawsuits began to mount following the publication of several studies linking the drugs to serious kidney complications. These studies included:

  • A paper published by CMAJ Open in April 2015 that linked extended proton pump inhibitor use to a 3-fold increase in the risk for acute interstitial nephritis, as well as a 2.5 times higher risk of acute kidney injury.
  • Research published in JAMA Internal Medicine in January 2016 which suggested that long-term use of the drugs might increase the risk of chronic kidney disease by as much as 50%.
  • A paper appearing in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology in April 2016 that reported that long-time users of proton pump inhibitors may be 96% more likely to develop kidney failure and 28% more likely to develop chronic kidney disease compared to patients using H2-blockers.

While the labels for Nexium and other prescription proton pump inhibitors were updated in late 2014 to note acute interstitial nephritis as a possible side effect, the drugs’ prescribing information does not include mention of any other potential kidney complications.

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