Mitchell v. AbbVie
Sales of testosterone gels, injections, pills and patches have skyrocketed in recent years, fueled by barrages of slick marketing campaigns convincing men their “low T” levels (a natural effect of aging) can be halted or reversed. Makers of Androgel and other testosterone replacement products promise their product is safe.
Unfortunately, as our Salt Lake City product liability attorneys at The James Esparza Law Group know, AndroGel has come under sharp scrutiny from researchers, doctors, regulators with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and now the courts for risk to consumers and the company’s reported failure to warn of those hazards.
While these testosterone therapies are touted as an effective treatment to fight back fatigue, low sex drive, depression and other male health issues, the truth of the matter is these therapies put patients at heightened risk of heart conditions, including heart attacks and strokes. In some cases, particularly in older men with a history of heart disease, these episodes have been fatal.
Our AndroGel injury attorneys in Utah firmly believe AbbiVie, the manufacturer of AndroGel, had a duty to warn patients of these life-threatening risks, and the failure to do so demands accountability. Successful plaintiffs in these product liability lawsuits can win compensation for:
- Medical expenses;
- Ongoing treatment;
- Lost wages;
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of life enjoyment.
If you suspect you have suffered a heart attack, stroke or other adverse health condition as a result of using AndroGel, it’s important to discuss these concerns with an attorney as soon as possible. Note that the statute of limitations in Utah for product liability litigation is just two years, per Utah Code 78B-6-706. That is two years from the time the claimant knew or, in the exercise of due diligence should have discovered, both the harm and its cause.
As it stands, there are an estimated 6,000 pending lawsuits consolidated in a multi-district litigation action in a federal court in Chicago against AndroGel maker AbbVie. An MDL is a means to consolidate cases in federal court to avoid conflicting schedules and discovery duplication.
Once cases are consolidated by the seven-judge Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation, pre-trial proceedings will be coordinated before individual cases are sent back to the district courts from which they were transferred. However, plaintiffs and defendants are encouraged to hold “bellwether” trials with an MDL judge presiding as a means to encourage fast resolution of future cases.
In the 2017 bellwether case of Mitchell v. AbbVie, a federal jury deemed defendant manufacturer liable for fraudulent misrepresentation of the risks of AndroGel, and ordered the pharmaceutical firm to pay $150 million in punitive damages. Although jurors decided the manufacturer was not negligent or strictly liable for plaintiff’s heart attack after using AndroGel, the company was responsible for falsely marketing the drug.
Plaintiff in Mitchell suffered a heart attack in 2012, after five years of AndroGel treatments. He was hospitalized for some time, but did eventually recover.
While compensatory damages are awarded with the intent of making the injured person whole, punitive damages are awarded to punish especially egregious actions that are either grossly negligent, willful and wanton or intentional.
In the second bellwether case, the federal jury decided the same as the first, awarding $140 million in punitive damages and $140,000 in compensatory damages to a man who alleged the company misrepresented the risks of AndroGel, resulting in his suffering a heart attack.
Although those punitive damages may be reduced on appeal, these victories are key to helping both plaintiffs and product manufacturers ascertain the range of damages and outline a legal strategy, as well as options for settlement in resolving the remaining cases.
Contact the Salt Lake City AndroGel injury attorneys at the James Esparza Law Group by calling toll-free 800-745-4050.
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Our dedicated product liability attorneys in Salt Lake City can help you file your AndroGel lawsuit and navigate through what is a confusing process.