March 16th, 2018|
The Hon. M. Casey Rodgers, Chief Judge of the Northern District of Florida U.S. District Court presiding over all federal Abilify lawsuits, has denied Abilify drug manufacturer’s motion for summary judgment.
Judge Rodgers presided over a four-day hearing conducted jointly with U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary R. Jones and Judge James J. Deluca of the New Jersey Superior Court, who presides over multiple similar cases in New Jersey state court. The Order denying Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment was provisionally sealed to protect from disclosure any confidential information previously determined to be confidential.
On January 22, Judge Rodgers ruled that plaintiffs’ experts’ opinions that the use of Abilify can cause uncontrollable behaviors are “scientifically reliable” and admissible (with minor exceptions). Specifically, Judge Rodgers found that the plaintiffs’ experts’ argument that “Abilify can cause impulse control problems through its effects on dopamine neurotransmission in the brain” was consistent with findings by the FDA and even Bristol-Myers Squibb’s own studies on the drug’s mechanism of action. Judge Rodgers also denied the Defendants’ motion for summary judgment as to general causation issues.
Given similar questions of fact and law raised in the litigation, all federal cases are currently centralized before Judge Rodgers in the Northern District of Florida as part of a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL). There, a group of “bellwether” cases are being prepared for trial beginning in June 2018.
Abilify® Linked to Compulsive Gambling
Abilify has been linked to reports of pathological gambling, compulsive shopping, hyper-sexuality and other impulse-control disorders. The drug manufacturers, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, currently face over 800 product liability lawsuits, each raising similar claims including allegations that users and the medical community were not warned about the risks associated with using Abilify.
The Abilify drug manufacturers provided warnings on the drug label in Europe in 2012 and Canada in 2015. However, consumers in the United States were never provided a warning until August 2016. The FDA required the drug makers to add new warnings about the increased risks that Abilify users may experience pathological gambling, compulsive shopping, and similar behaviors.
Cory Watson Stands Against Big Pharma
Judge Rodgers appointed Kristian Rasmussen, Ernest Cory and Stephen Hunt, Jr. of Cory Watson Attorneys to serve as part of the plaintiff’s leadership in prosecuting claims against the drug companies. As the attorneys continue to investigate and review additional gambling claims involving former Abilify users, it is expected that the size and scope of the litigation will continue to increase over the coming months, likely involving several thousand lawsuits.
Although the public now knows about the dangers of Abilify, the companies that manufactured these drugs still fight to avoid paying those injured by this medication. Cory Watson is honored to represent current and former patients of Abilify in the fight for the justice and compensation they deserve.
Rasmussen said, “This litigation is important and we take it very seriously. We will hold these drug companies accountable by aggressively prosecuting the legal claims and pursuing every avenue of relief for our clients.”
Abilify is an antipsychotic drug prescribed to treat various mental disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder. Approved by the US Food & Drug Administration in 2002, Abilify is now the nation’s best-selling drug with annual sales in excess of $7.5 billion.
Nearly 600 current and former patients say Abilify, an antipsychotic medication, causes harmful compulsive behaviors including compulsive gambling. Hundreds of lawsuits against Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceutical, the drug’s manufacturers, are now consolidated in a Florida federal court.
About Cory Watson Attorneys
Cory Watson Attorneys is a national personal injury law firm with more than $2.7 billion in recoveries for clients. Attorneys are frequently appointed to leadership positions in national cases involving pharmaceuticals and defective medical devices. Practice areas include product liability, class actions, mass torts, pharmaceutical litigation, wrongful death, asbestos, mesothelioma, car accidents, truck accidents, catastrophic injury, aviation, recalled products, and environmental litigation. Cory Watson Attorneys is based in Birmingham, Alabama.