Court Appoints Plaintiffs' Counsel in California Xarelto JCCP Cases

Derek H. Potts, founder and national partner of Potts Law Firm
Derek H. Potts, founder and national partner of Potts Law Firm

California Superior Court Judge Kenneth R. Freeman in Los Angeles appointed the plaintiffs’ liaison counsel in the state’s Judicial Council Coordinated Proceedings (JCCP) for all Xarelto cases in the state courts.

Derek H. Potts, founder and national managing partner of Potts Law Firm in Houston, was appointed Liaison Counsel. In this role, he serves as the representative of all plaintiff parties and will actively assist the Court and Co-Lead Plaintiffs’ Counsel. Co-Counsel include Mark Milstein with Milstein Adelman Jackson Fairchild & Wade in Los Angeles and Ruth Rizkalla with Kirtland & Packard in El Segundo, CA.

In the California JCCP, there are 31 cases pending involving 52 plaintiffs. A status conference was held on Dec. 12, when the parties agreed to submit plaintiff and defendant fact sheets. A motion is pending to quash service of summons based on lack of personal jurisdiction over nonresident defendants. The parties await the outcome of a US Supreme Court Case on California State Jurisdiction Over Plavix Litigation, where the California Supreme Court ruled that its state courts can take “specific jurisdiction” over mass tort claims by out-of-state plaintiffs against Bristol-Myers Squibb arising from the company’s national marketing and sales campaigns.

Nationwide litigation

Separately, 14,465 cases have been filed in federal court in Xarelto (Rivaroxaban) Products Liability Litigation in MDL 2592 supervised by U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon in the Eastern District of Louisiana. For more information see Update: Federal Court Revises Xarelto Product Liability Cases for Trial. The first bellwether trial is scheduled for this March.

In parallel litigation, some 1,100 claims have been filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Xarelto Consolidated Litigation to date before Judge Arnold New. For more, read Two Reasons That More Attorneys File Xarelto Claims in Philadelphia Court. The first trial is scheduled for September 2017.

Potts has extensive experience representing plaintiffs in multi-district litigation and in pharmaceutical and medical device cases. He has been appointed by multiple courts to upper-level plaintiffs’ leadership positions in complex litigation and multi-district litigation. Potts has extensive experience representing plaintiffs in multi-district litigation and in pharmaceutical and medical device cases.

“We understand the important nature of the pharmaceutical litigation given the health issues at hand,” said Potts. “We’re glad to be of service to our clients in helping them resolve their cases as quickly as possible.”

Potts was instrumental in establishing the Consolidated Transvaginal Mesh Multi District Litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. He was appointed by two federal judges overseeing the mesh litigation to coordinate the consolidations on behalf of 100,000 women making claims against the manufacturers of the mesh products. He has successfully resolved tens of thousands of transvaginal mesh claims for his clients.

Xarelto (rivaroxaban) is an oral anticoagulant (blood thinner) used to prevent blood clot formation in people with atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) or those at risk for developing deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism especially after hip or knee replacement surgery. Xarelto inhibits clot formation by blocking a specific clotting protein which is naturally found in the blood.

Xarelto was developed by Bayer and Johnson & Johnson’s New Jersey-based unit, Janssen Pharmaceuticals. The potential risk of patients taking Xarelto is severe, and uncontrolled bleeding which can lead to organ damage and even death. Due to the lack of a reversal agent, patients are at further risk of prolonged bleeding without an available remedy.

According to one California case, Rudy Benavides v. Janssen, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer Healthcare, et. al., Case No BC 614547, California Superior Court, Los Angeles, Xarelto was approved by the FDA on July 11, 2011. It was marketed as “the first and only once a day prescription blood thinner,” and as a “one size fits all drug.”

The defendants’ boxed warning did not address the increased risk for serious and fatal bleeding, according to the complaint. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices reported on October 3, 2012, that the most-reported adverse event for Xarelto was “serious blood clot related injury — the very event that rivaroxaban is intended to prevent.”



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