Two new Avandia mass tort claims filed in Phila. courts

By Jon Campisi | Nov 18, 2011

A Pennsylvania attorney has filed two separate Avandia mass tort claims at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court, just as the main defendant in the case is apparently getting ready to close out much of the existing litigation involving the drug that is designed to control diabetes.

Media, Pa. attorney Raymond J. Peppelman, Jr., of the firm Gilligan & Peppelman, filed the personal injury complaints Nov. 15 at the state court on behalf of two out-of-state residents who claim they each suffered from congestive heart failure as a result of taking the drug.

In the first case, Leonard Novak of Rapid City, South Dakota claims that he took Avandia from about Sept. 1, 2004 until April 14, 2008, and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure on May 12, 2009.

A second Avandia claim was filed Nov. 15 by Peppelman on behalf of South Carolina resident Emerson Odom, who was diagnosed with congestive heart failure on Feb. 2, 2005. Odom had taken Avandia from April 29, 2000 to May 26, 2007.

Each lawsuit contains claims of negligence – failure warn and negligent misrepresentation.

The defendant in both civil actions is SmithKline Beecham Corporation, doing business as GlaxoSmithKline.

The plaintiffs filed their claims as short-form complaints in the master Avandia litigation at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court. Each plaintiff seeks relief as set forth in the master docket.

Jury trials are being demanded.

The two new filings come as Philadelphia’s Legal Intelligencer is reporting that drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline is getting ready to close out both its Avandia and Paxil cases pending in Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court.

The paper reported this week that there were only 12 Avandia cases and 20 Paxil cases remaining in the city courts’ mass tort program as of early October. The paper cited an interview with Common Pleas Court Judge Sandra Mazer Moss, the coordinating judge at the court’s Complex Litigation Center, which handles mass torts.

There were at one time close to 1,000 Avandia cases and 1,000 Paxil cases waiting to be tried, the paper reported. No state court trials have been held in the Avandia litigation, and only two trials have been held in the Paxil litigation, with one ending in a plaintiff’s verdict and the other in a defense verdict, according to the Legal Intelligencer article.

The paper quoted a local attorney as saying it hasn’t been surprising that the Avandia cases in particular haven’t come to trial, since oftentimes people with diabetes are overweight, which can, in and of itself, be a causing factor in heart attacks and other heart problems.

The case numbers for the two recent filings are 111101206 and 111101207.

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