Taxotere Lawsuits and Bellwether Trials

Gavel and Stethoscope on Reflective Wooden Table.
There are side effects that breast cancer patients can expect when undergoing chemotherapy, with hair loss being among the most common.

One thing that eases the strain of these treatments and their byproducts is the knowledge that the effects are temporary and that patients can expect a return to normalcy after completing them.

Unfortunately, for many breast cancer patients who were treated with the chemotherapy drug Taxotere, the hard times have continued. Many patients have completed treatment only to find that they have suffered from permanent hair loss, or also known as alopecia.

Lawsuits have begun to emerge, revealing that the manufacturer of this drug did not sufficiently warn patients or doctors about the risk of this side effect.

At Hotze Runkle, we understand that dealing with any type of cancer treatment is difficult enough and no one should have to face continued suffering after the treatment has been completed. Taxotere creator Sanofi-Aventis needs to be held accountable for their negligence.

Our team of expert attorneys at Hotze Runkle want to provide you valuable information so that you can be better informed about the current situation should you find yourself affected by the drug.

Taxotere Allegations In-Depth

There are now more than 1,000 lawsuits undergoing pretrial coordination in the Eastern District of Louisiana centered around allegations that Taxotere caused autoimmune skin disease alopecia in breast cancer patients.

Plaintiffs charge that the drug, which was approved by the FDA in 1996, comes with a higher risk of permanent alopecia when compared to other equally effective chemotherapy drugs. One main point of contention for plaintiffs is that this information was not included on labeling for Taxotere until 2015.

This becomes even more damning for the defendants, Sanofi-Aventis, because regulators and patients in Europe were made aware of this potential side effect a decade earlier, in 2005.

Furthermore, Canadian labels were changed in 2012 to inform patients and other parties there.

It was only in the U.S. that Taxotere came with a vague note that “hair usually grows back” concerning any possible permanent hair loss.

Orders Addressing Discovery and Bellwether Trials

On May 15, a pretrial order instructed both plaintiffs and defendant to propose an order for a discovery schedule as well as dates for bellwether trials by May 26th.

Bellwether trials are a common feature of situations like this where so many lawsuits are directed against a single defendant. The trials will usually involve lawsuits that are representative of the majority of the other cases.

This is done to help all parties involved see whether there is strength behind a plaintiff’s claims. The results can be a good predictor of how future, related trials might be decided by juries.

A May 18th Case Management Order set a number of important deadlines concerning Personal Jurisdiction Discovery:

  • By May 26, plaintiffs had to serve personal jurisdictional discovery in response to Sanofi’s motion to dismiss.
  • Before June 2, 2017, the two sides would meet again and discuss any discovery that had been served.
  • As of June 30, 2017, the defendants would respond and cite objections to discovery.

Another Case Management Order, on the 23rd of May, also addressed discovery. This order stated that any foreign merits discovery related to French Sanofi entities would also be served on the 26th of the month.

The deadlines currently set concerning discovery make it likely that the whole process will last until the early stages of Autumn. In this scenario, the first bellwether trials would likely begin in either November or December of this year.

It is important that everyone who has been affected by Taxotere, whether involved in a similar lawsuit or not, follow the developments around these cases.

Hotze Runkle is the support you need if you have been harmed as a result of taking Taxotere.

If you have been affected by Taxotere and are unsure about what your legal options are, contact Hotze Runkle today at (877) 919-0830. Our national litigation team can provide you with the guidance you need to sort through these difficult times.

Don’t face the shadow of Taxotere alone. Our attorneys have the expertise you can trust to get the justice and compensation you deserve.