Proton Pump Inhibitor Lawsuits to be Selected for Bellwether Discovery

Published on December 4, 2019 by Sandy Liebhard

The federal court overseeing thousands of lawsuits that blame Nexium, Prilosec, and PrevAcid for causing kidney failure and other renal complications continues to prepare for the litigation’s early bellwether trials.

The Bellwether Case Selection Process

According to an Order issued in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, on November 20th, a total of 20 proton pump inhibitor lawsuits will be selected for a Bellwether Discovery Pool. Eligible cases include only those plaintiffs who, as of May 31, 2019, had:

  • Filed a complaint in the multidistrict litigation and served all named Defendants
  • Provided a substantially complete Plaintiff Fact Sheet
  • Provided evidence they used at least one of each named defendant’s heartburn drugs.

Once all eligible proton pump inhibitor lawsuits have been identified, the parties’ counsel will each select five cases, for a total of 10. The Court will then randomly select 200 cases from the list of eligible lawsuits.

At that point, each side will have an opportunity to pick 16 proton pump inhibitor lawsuits out of those 210 cases, for a total of 32. They’ll each then be allowed to strike six cases from the group, resulting in a Bellwether Discovery Pool consisting of 20 proton pump inhibitor lawsuits.

Once the 20 pool cases undergo case-specific discovery, six of those proton pump inhibitor lawsuits will be selected to serve as trial cases. The Court will determine the method for selecting the six trial cases at a later date.

Nearly 13,500 Proton Pump Inhibitor Lawsuits Pending New Jersey Federal Court

There are nearly 13,500 proton pump inhibitor lawsuits now pending in the multidistrict litigation underway in New Jersey. In addition to prescription and over-the-counter versions of Nexium, Prilosec, and PrevAcid, some of the complaints also name the manufacturers of Protonix and Dexilant as defendants.

All of the cases put forth similar allegations regarding the defendants’ failure to warn that extended proton pump inhibitor use might harm the kidneys, leading to kidney failure, chronic kidney disease, acute kidney injury, and acute interstitial nephritis.

The litigation’s bellwether trials will involve proton pump inhibitor lawsuits representative of others pending in the proceeding in order to help to gauge the strength of plaintiffs’ claims. Bellwether trial verdicts often provide insight into how other juries might rule in similar cases and sometimes even provide a pathway to resolving all, or nearly all, of the claims pending in a multidistrict litigation.


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