Motion Filed to Consolidate Darvon, Darvocet Lawsuits in Multidistrict Litigation

Attorneys representing a 31-year-old Queens, New York Woman in a <"">Darvocet lawsuit have petitioned the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to consolidate all federal lawsuits involving Darvon, Darvocet and other propoxyphene medications in a multidistrict litigation in US District Court for the Eastern District of New York before the Honorable Jack B. Weinstein. Plaintiff Linda Esposito, who is being represented by the national law firm of Parker Waichman Alonso LLP, claims Darvocet caused her to suffer a near-fatal heart arrhythmia.

Propoxyphene is an opiod painkiller that was first sold as Darvon in 1957. Darvocet is a combination drug made with propoxyphene and acetaminophen. In November, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced that Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals Inc. had agreed to start Darvon and Darvocet recall from the market after a study linked propoxyphene to serious and sometimes fatal heart rhythm problems. The agency was also asking makers of generic propoxyphene medications to pull those as well.

According to her lawsuit, prior to using Darvocet, Esposito did not have a pre-existing cardiac history and had never suffered a cardiac arrhythmia. She was prescribed Darvocet in February 2010, and shortly after using the drug, experienced a near fatal cardiac arrhythmia. Esposito was forced to undergo painful electrocardioversion and numerous other invasive cardiac procedures including cardiac ablation. The lawsuit alleges that because of her use of Darvocet, Esposito sustained severe, permanent and life threatening personal injuries, pain, suffering, emotional distress, lifelong fear of premature death and the need for continued lifelong cardiac monitoring, treatment and medications. Her lawsuit accuses Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals Inc. of negligence and fraud in not acting sooner to recall Darvocet.

The petition asking for the consolidation points out that in addition to Esposito’s Darvocet lawsuit, two other federal complaints making similar allegations and seeking almost identical relief have been filed in federal court in the Eastern District of Louisiana and the Western District of Louisiana. It is expected that many more similar claims will be filed in federal courts around the country. The petition also asserts that the Eastern District of New York has the available judicial resources and the experience necessary to efficiently coordinate these actions. The petition points out that the Eastern District of New York is well-versed in handling mass tort litigations, and specifically, with handling pharmaceutical liability cases.

The petition further contends that Judge Weinstein, who is already presiding over the Esposito lawsuit, has extensive experience with complex, high stakes and high profile cases, including mass tort cases. The petition points out that Judge Weinstein recently presided over MDL 1592, In Re Zyprexa Product Liability Litigation, which contained many similar issues being litigated in the Darvon/Darvocet litigation.

A multidistrict litigation would allow all Darvon and Darvocet lawsuits to be coordinated under one judge for pretrial litigation to avoid duplicative discovery, inconsistent rulings and to conserve the resources of the parties, witnesses and the court. When lawsuits are consolidated as a multidistrict litigation, each retains its own identity. If the multidistrict litigation process does not resolve the cases, they are transferred back to the court where they originated for trial.

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation of the United States Courts was created in 1968. Since then, it has consolidated hundreds of thousands of lawsuits that involved high numbers of plaintiffs, including litigation over asbestos, breast implants and other matters.

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