The nationwide “multidistrict” litigation for Actos claims is moving along smoothly, with nearly five-hundred claims filed so far and the plaintiffs’ lawyers working together to develop a unified strategy for obtain and reviewing documents from Takeda Pharmaceuticals. It is expected that within the next 18-24 months the initial test cases, the “bellwhether trials,” should be ready to go.
Nonetheless, there is a critical issue that patients who developed bladder cancer after taking Actos need to recognize: every person with an Actos claim needs to file their own individual claim within the statute of limitations. In a class action lawsuit, the filing of a claim by the “class representatives” serves as a filing on behalf of everyone in the class, but the Actos claims in the multidistrict litigation are not a class action. They are individual claims that are consolidated for some purposes but which remain independent cases. As such, every individual needs to file their own claim, just like they would in a car accident.
In most mass torts cases, the lawyers for the injured people (that’s us) and the lawyers for the defendant (here, Takeda Pharmaceuticals) argue over when the statute of limitations begins to run or, stated in plain English, when the patients knew or should have known that their cancer or tumors were caused by Actos. We’re happy to report that some courts - like, recently, the Supreme Court of New Jersey - have taken a realistic view of the statute of limitations, and so have looked to the real circumstances surrounding when the patient should have known the cause of their injury. Patients don’t follow FDA advisories or pharmaceutical studies; most doctors don’t even do that. Patients in these pharmaceutical mass torts tend to learn of the connection from news articles and television commercials for lawyers. We thus believe and will argue in court that bladder cancer patients only “should” have known that Actos was a cause when they first saw confirmation of that link in the news or on TV.
Yet, we believe that Takeda Pharmaceuticals will argue that the statute of limitations began to run on June 15, 2011, when the FDA issued an updated warning that one year of pioglitazone use increases the risk of bladder cancer by more than 40%, and then said that doctors should not prescribe Actos for patients who have or have had bladder cancer. That’s a concern for patients in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Tennessee because those states have a one-year statute of limitations for personal injury actions, which means their claims should be filed byJune 15, 2012.
We believe the court will ultimately allows claims filed within one year of when the patient actually learned, through news, a TV commercial for attorneys, or from their doctor that Actos causes bladder cancer. But there’s no benefit in waiting, and certainly no benefit in waiting to the last minute, given that it can take weeks, sometimes months, to obtain the necessary medical records and pharmaceutical records.
If you developed bladder cancer after taking Actos for a year or more, contact our dangerous drug lawyers for a free and confidential consultation by filling out this online form or by calling The Beasley Firm at (215) 866-2424. We represent Actos clients nationwide.