Friday, October 9, 2015 - For a second time, plaintiffs seeking to consolidate lawsuits filed against Eli Lilly concerning their antidepressant drug Cymbalta have had their motion to transfer denied by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). The rejection is the second after a first took place in December of 2014, and the JPMl claims in their most recent ruling that many of the same reasons the attempt to consolidate was rejected 10 months ago remained constant in their decision to again send the lawsuits back to their original courts.
In the order denying transfer issued by the JPML, the panel mentioned that many of the circumstances, including the inclusion of new lawsuits in the second attempt by plaintiffs, were already known by the panel at the time of the first motion to transfer rejection. The JPML claimed that there had been no "significant change in circumstances" since the first application for certification.
The first motion to transfer filed by plaintiffs complaining of the inadequate warning labels regarding withdrawal symptoms for Cymbalta was rejected as the JPML found that many of the cases were at different stages in the litigative process. The panel pointed out that some lawsuits have been filed for over a year, while others still have yet to be given scheduling orders. The first attempt contained 25 lawsuits that plaintiffs hoped to have centralized, with the second attempt adding 16 additional suits to that total 41 in the motion to transfer. The addition of these lawsuits had no impact of the JPML‘s decision making process concerning the cymbalta lawsuits.
The JPML also noted that the discovery process, which is one that benefits from the consolidation of lawsuits and is one of the main reasons transfers occur, was nearly finished for the lawsuits seeking the class certification. The JPML referenced that Eli Lilly had already produced more than 2 million documents in relation to the allegations and that the discovery left to be done did not require an MDL to be created.
Lastly, the JPML pointed out that only three firms were involved in the motion to transfer, two for the plaintiffs and one for the defendant. Multidistrict litigation makes the coordination between lawyers working on a case more efficient, however the JPML did not think that the amount of attorneys on these cases needed class certification for their litigation to proceed smoothly. The plaintiffs simply did not have a large or complicated enough case to warrant an MDL for their lawsuits.
The plaintiffs allege in their claims that pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lilly & Co. did not properly warn consumers of the severity of withdrawal symptoms related to its Cymbalta medicine. Though the cymbalta medicines at the heart of the allegations did mention that withdrawal symptoms can occur when stopping cymbalta, plaintiffs allege that the serious side effects, such as anxiety, dizziness, diarrhea and headaches, should have required a more complete description and a firmer warning from Eli Lilly.
It is unlikely that the Cymbalta will try to file a third motion to transfer, although that could change depending on the amount of lawsuits that are eventually filed against Eli Lilly and the direction those currently pending take in their original courts.