On January 1 of this year, Philadelphia’s Complex Litigation Center
had 5,601 cases pending—nearly 200 more than the cases waiting in
2012. That’s despite the fact that all but two pharmaceutical mass
torts reduced their inventory by between 6 and 100 percent this year.
The only two mass torts to
increase their inventory were Xarelto (which is not expected to grow much further)
and Risperdal—which grew by 39% last year.
And it’s not likely to slow down.
The Legal Intelligencer notes that Arnold & Itkin, partnered with Thomas
Kline of Kline & Specter, has filed 545 new Risperdal cases in the
last two months alone. The total inventory could rise to
over 2,000 cases.
What’s the reason for the dramatic rise in cases?
Recently, Janssen decided to end a tolling agreement—an agreement
to waive a right to defend a case through the statute of limitations.
By ending the tolling agreement, clients may find their claims threatened,
pressuring plaintiffs’ attorneys to file cases as quickly as possible.
While no one has commented on why the agreement ended, the decision to
end the agreement came shortly after a jury awarded our client $76 million
in July 2016.
Longer Delays for Case Resolution
An additional reason for the rise in mass torts is how long they are taking
to resolve. In 2015, 86 percent of cases were disposed of within 20-25
months of filing. In 2016, only 33% of cases were disposed of that quickly.
Part of the issue could be pending litigation regarding punitive damages
and the statute of limitations. The Pennsylvania Superior Court is currently
hearing an appeal regarding those subjects while these cases are being
discussed—which would compel defendants to delay cases as much as
possible before a possible ruling.
Regardless of the delay, Arnold & Itkin will continue fighting aggressively
for our clients to receive justice as quickly as possible. These delays,
whether strategic or administrative, need to be addressed long term. There’s
no use in giving plaintiffs an opportunity for justice if it takes them
several years to be heard in court.