NEW ORLEANS — A recent, sudden surge
in Taxotere lawsuit filings in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern
District of Louisiana has caught Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch's
According to a news
release from Schmidt National Law Group, the U.S. Judicial Panel
on Multidistrict Litigation's Feb. 15 docket report shows 755 pending
actions in the Taxotere litigation, up 50 from the panel's Jan. 17
report. Bernstein Liebhard LLP in New York reported
in its Jan. 20 news release that the 705 pending actions as of Jan.
17, 2017, showed an increase of 443 pending actions in the Louisiana
district since Dec. 16, 2016.
LLAW Executive Director Melissa
Landry said the surge in lawsuits is a result of vigorous advertising
by personal-injury attorneys.
“Personal-injury lawyers are using
aggressive legal ads to try and scare women into filing these kinds
of lawsuits," Landry told the Louisiana Record via email.
"Some of the claims can be terrifying, but it is important to
remember these are unregulated, unsubstantiated and unbalanced legal
ads designed by personal-injury lawyers seemingly for the sole
purpose of drumming up lawsuits. Consumer[s] should always be on
guard about solicitations to join mass litigation such as this. Like
all businesses, personal-injury attorneys need a product that will
sell and customers who will buy. In the case of trial lawyers, the
product is litigation and their potential customers are each and
every one of us.”
Landry said Louisiana is a jurisdiction of
particular interest in mass-tort litigation.
question, LLAW will be keeping a close eye on this case," she
said. "Louisiana is a sought-after jurisdiction for mass-tort
litigation such as this due to the nagging perception that the scales
of justice here are tilted in favor of personal-injury lawyers and
their clients. For years, our state has been described as a judicial
hellhole because it seems some judges routinely apply laws and court
procedures in an unfair and unbalanced manner."
Taxotere is a
cancer medication that doctors use to treat breast, lung, prostate,
stomach and head or neck cancer, according to drugs.com.
The lawsuits allege Taxotere caused permanent hair loss.
Brown, the senior director of communications at Sanofi, the company
that makes Taxotere, said in a December Louisiana Record story
that the company has regularly provided safety information on
Taxotere to the Food and Drug Administration.
According to the FDA
website, the warning
that cases of permanent hair loss had been reported showed up on
Taxotere's label in the United States in December 2015. Brown said
that the company made that change in December 2015 after the company
spoke with the FDA.
Taxotere has been approved
in the United States since 1996.
Brown was contacted for this
story and offered to submit a statement on behalf of Sanofi, but she
did not submit a statement.
Landry said plaintiffs attorneys use
advertising in mass-tort lawsuits.
“Advertising by plaintiff's
attorneys on mass-tort lawsuits is a big business in Louisiana and
throughout the country," she said.