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Actos® Lawsuit Update: Philadelphia Jury Returns $2.3 Million Verdict In Favor of the Plaintiff

Bloomberg reports that a Philadelphia jury has returned a $2.3 million verdict in favor of the plaintiff after finding that the diabetes drug Actos® had been a significant cause of the plaintiff’s bladder cancer. The case is Kristufek v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals America Inc., Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Case ID 120702275.

The jury also found that the Actos® manufacturer, Takeda Pharmaceuticals Inc., failed to adequately warn the plaintiff’s doctor about the dangerous risks associated with Actos® use. In awarding the plaintiff, John Kristufek, monetary damages, the jury said that Takeda showed “reckless indifference” to the plaintiff’s health.

After a little more than a day of deliberation, the jury awarded the plaintiff, a retired high school math teacher, $318,000 in past medical expenses and $2 million in noneconomic damages. Carl Tobias, a product-liability professor at the University of Richmond in Virginia, warned that “[g]iven the number of trial losses Takeda has suffered over Actos®, the company should seriously consider negotiating some sort of global settlement.” He adds, “They still face thousands of lawsuits over this drug.”

According to the most recent report issued by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, there are currently over 3,900 Actos® cases pending in the federal Multidistrict Litigation (MDL 2299). In addition to the currently-pending federal court cases, there is a significant number of state court actions filed against Takeda. Prior to this Pennsylvania state court trial and verdict, there have been other Actos® cases that have gone to trial, including the following:

  • In May 2013, a California state court jury found Actos® caused the plaintiff’s bladder cancer and awarded the plaintiff $6.5 million in damages. The judge later threw out the jury award based on an issue involving one of the plaintiff’s expert witnesses.

  • In September 2013, a plaintiff was awarded $1.7 million by a Maryland state court jury. The judge then overturned the verdict based on Maryland’s contributory negligence law in finding that plaintiff’s 30-year history as a smoker was a substantial factor in causing the bladder cancer.

  • In December 2013, a Nevada federal court jury returned a verdict in favor of Takeda. The jury found that plaintiff’s smoking history contributed to the plaintiff’s bladder cancer and that her purchase of generics raised causation issues.

  • On April 7, 2014 two plaintiffs were awarded $1.475 million in compensatory damages and $9 billion in punitive damages by a Louisiana jury sitting in the Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). The verdict for punitive damages was later reduced to $36.8 million.

  • In May 2014, a twelve member jury in Cook County, Illinois ruled in favor of Takeda on plaintiff’s failure to warn claim. The jury noted that the plaintiff’s smoking history contributed to plaintiff’s bladder cancer.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements. The cases discussed do not predict outcomes in future cases. Past results afford no guarantee of future results and every case is different and must be judged on its own merits.

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