Nexium Lawsuits Move Forward, as Parties Submit Competing Bellwether Trial Proposals

Published on December 7, 2018 by Sandy Liebhard

The federal court presiding over Nexium lawsuits and similar kidney injury claims involving other proton pump inhibitors is preparing for its first bellwether trials.

According to a December 3rd filing in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, the parties have submitted competing proposals for the multidistrict litigation’s upcoming bellwether trials.

Under Plaintiffs Proposal, Court Would Designate 3 Bellwether Finalists by October 2019

The Plaintiffs’ proposal is extremely detailed. To begin with, it calls for the establishment of a Bellwether Discovery Pool consisting of 8-to-12 proton pump inhibitor lawsuits. The Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee would submit a list of cases to the Court on February 28, 2019.

Core Fact Discovery would wrap up by June 28, 2019, including up to three case-specific fact depositions noticed by each of the parties in every Bellwether Discovery Pool Case.

At that point, the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee would have the “presumptive right” to nominate 6 Bellwether Trial Pool cases to undergo heightened discovery. The Committee would submit their list of cases to the Court by July 9, 2019.

Defendants, however, could challenge any of the Plaintiffs’ selections. To do so, they must submit a status report explaining their reasons by July 12, 2019. Plaintiffs’ Counsel would have until July 16th to reply to the Defendants’ challenges. The Court would then select the 6 Bellwether Trial Pool cases by July 28, 2019.

Additional fact discovery on the Bellwether Trial Pool cases would conclude by October 12, 2019, thus allowing the Court to designate three Bellwether Trial Finalists by October 25th

Defendants Proposal Limits Bellwether Discovery Pool to New Jersey Residents

The Defendants proposal, by contrast, would establish a Bellwether Discovery Pool consisting of any lawsuit that meets the following criteria:

  • Asserts claims on behalf of New Jersey residents who used Nexium or anther proton pump inhibitor
  • Was filed as of November 1, 2018
  • Had served a substantially completed Plaintiff’s Fact Sheet by December 1, 2018

The Defense proposal also calls for Core Fact Discovery to wrap up by July 28, 2019. However, it allows for the following depositions in each Bellwether Trial Pool case:

  • Proton pump inhibitor user, if still alive;
  • User’s spouse, or other Plaintiffs (if the user is deceased)
  • Other family member(s) or friends with relevant information identified in the Plaintiffs’ Fact Sheet
  • User’s prescribing physician(s)
  • User’s treating and/or diagnosing physician(s)

2,500 Nexium Lawsuits, Other Proton Pump Inhibitor Claims Pending in New Jersey

The federal proton pump inhibitor litigation includes more than 2,500 claims. In addition to Nexium lawsuits, cases have been filed against the manufacturers of Prilosec, Protonix, PrevAcid, and Dexilant.

All of the lawsuits involve plaintiffs who allegedly developed chronic kidney disease, kidney failure, and other renal complications because of extended proton pump inhibitor use.

Among other things, the complaints cite numerous studies that have found a significant association between long-term proton pump inhibitor use and kidney damage.

Furthermore, plaintiffs assert that Nexium and its competitors have been linked to hundreds of reports of kidney failure and other renal injuries. However, defendants allegedly concealed this information from the public and failed to warn doctors and patients that long-term proton pump inhibitors use can harm the kidneys.

The first federally-filed pump inhibitor lawsuit will go to trial in September 2020. As a bellwether trial, the verdict in the case could provide insight into how other juries might decide similar Nexium lawsuits.

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