Gadolinium MRI Contrast Agent Lawsuits Delayed 90 Days
December 22, 2008
U.S. District Judge Dan Polster entered a Case Management Order (CMO) delaying the discovery and trial schedule for consolidated gadolinium MRI contrast agent lawsuits in the multi-district litigation (MDL) filed by individuals diagnosed with Nephrogenic System Fibrosis (NSF) by 90 days.
Manufacturers of five different types of MRI and MRA contrast agents containing gadolinium faced nearly 300 lawsuits in federal court. These lawsuits were consolidated and brought before Judge Polster in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.
NSF is a progressive condition whereby movement is seriously restricted because of the build-up of hardened skin around joints. Only the use of gadolinium based contrast agents among individuals with moderate to severe kidney failure has been known to cause NSF.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs have been pushing for an accelerated trial schedule due to the condition of their clients who may not be healthy enough to survive a protracted litigation. The Court’s initial Case Management Order instructed each side, by November 14, 2008, to designate ten lawsuits to be part of an initial pool of cases from which early discovery would be conducted. These trials were designated as bellwether cases because the issues involved in these proceedings would be representative of the issues to be addressed throughout the litigation. The initial pool of bellwether cases will eventually be reduced to 10 trials scheduled to begin in the middle of 2009.
The manufacturers’ lawyers argued that they were not able to select cases because it wasn’t clear to them what products were used during which procedures. Because of the difficulty in determining which plaintiffs used which of the five different gadolinium based contrast agents, the Court decided to vacate the November 14 selection date.
The new Case Management Order calls on the parties to work on and present a joint list of agreed cases were there is “good faith substantiation of product identification” by December 19th 2008. Each party will select their 10 bellwether cases from this list. As a result of the delay produced by these measures, all of the dates on the initial Case Management Order for the completion of discovery have been extended 90 days.
The extension will likely delay the start of the first gadolinium MRI and MRA contrast agent lawsuits until fall 2009.
If you or a loved one has had an MRI or MRA scan that used gadolinium based contrast agents and suffered injuries or complications, including Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis, contact our Gadolinium lawyers and attorneys today for a free no obligation lawsuit consultation.