Nicholas Malfitano Sep. 24, 2015, 11:19am


PHILADELPHIA – Mass tort lawsuit filings in Philadelphia’s Complex Litigation Center (CLC) have, so far, decreased significantly from 2014 to 2015.

A statistical analysis provided by the CLC, which handles lawsuits in 12 mass tort areas, showed filings are not on pace to approach last year's mark of 2,095.

As of Aug. 2, there have been 671 lawsuits filed in the CLC.

The analysis also shows that lawsuits against pharmaceutical makers have so far returned to a fairly low amount of 556, after last year’s spike of 1,827.

Last year, 987 lawsuits over the drug Risperdal and 694 filed over pelvic mesh products led to 2,095 new lawsuits. As of Aug. 2, the CLC contains an inventory of 5,238 cases, with Risperdal accounting for 1,420 of them (27.1 percent), and Pelvic Mesh Litigation totaling 183 (3.5 percent).

A new program for Xarelto, a prescription blood thinner which seeks to prevent clotting in patients, has already jumped 14 percent with 44 filings, resulting in 347 cases pending as of Aug. 2. Those cases account for a total of 6.6. percent of the CLC’s current inventory.

In 2012, only 816 new mass tort cases were filed and 1,803 concluded. That continued in 2013, when 813 were filed and 1,908 concluded. In 2014, the figure jumped to 2,095 and 1,318 were concluded.

This year to date, 864 have concluded. There are 4,630 pharmaceuticals cases pending as of Aug. 2, a virtually negligible decrease from the figure of 4,643 at the beginning of the year.

For pharmaceutical filings, the latest statistics reveal out-of-state plaintiffs continue to count for the vast majority in that category. Out of the 556 new pharmaceutical cases, 485 (87 percent), came from out-of-state plaintiffs.

The figure of 87 percent matches up with the court’s history. The lowest percentage was 2005’s 81 percent.

The figures also show that 115 new asbestos cases were filed in the CLC as of Aug. 2.

Figures from 2005-11 reflect new filings, as well as cases transferred into the CLC program. From 2012-15, only new filings are counted.

First Judicial District CLC Director Stanley Thompson said he did not at all express surprise at the statistics, and did not see “any notable rise in the numbers with any of the programs.”

As to which firms are filing significant numbers of the mass tort cases, Thompson said he did not know, but that such information may vary from program to program.

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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