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TRT Manufacturer AbbVie Unable to Avoid Bellwether Trials

TRT Manufacturer AbbVie Unable to Avoid Bellwether Trials

On May 8, 2017, US District Judge Matthew F. Kennelly ruled on several matters regarding the upcoming MDL bellwether trials (In e: Testosterone Replacement Therapy Products Liability Litigation). AbbVie, the manufacturer of AndroGel, had filed motions to exclude expert testimony on causation and for summary judgment in an attempt to dismiss the cases based on a lack of sufficient causation evidence. AbbVie’s motions were denied.

In AbbVie’s motion to exclude expert testimony, Defendants challenged Plaintiffs’ expert witness testimony on the grounds of both general and specific causation. AbbVie argued that the methodology employed by Plaintiffs’ experts in analyzing the scientific evidence relating to TRT and CV/VTE risks was not reliable. AbbVie presented its own expert analyses of similar evidence, which concluded that TRT does not cause adverse CV/VTE events. The Court found in favor of Plaintiffs, as their experts had carefully considered all evidence and explained how that evidence led to their conclusions. The Court found nothing inherently unreliable about their methodology.

In terms of specific causation, AbbVie challenged whether TRT actually caused injury to each particular bellwether plaintiff. In five out of the six bellwether cases, the Court found that the experts had employed sufficiently reliable methodology such that their testimony would be admissible at trial.

AbbVie’s motion for summary judgment was based upon its contention that plaintiffs lacked admissible expert testimony on causation. Since the Court ruled admissible the expert testimony regarding general causation and specific causation in five out of the six bellwether cases, AbbVie’s motion for summary judgment was denied in those cases.

These rulings were largely a victory for MDL plaintiffs, and the first bellwether trial will proceed as scheduled on June 5, 2017.

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