The Long Windy Road of Pharmaceutical Cases
Pharmaceutical cases take a long time. Why is this such a long windy road?
1. You Have a Fight on Your Hands.
Pharmaceutical cases are always a fight.
Recently, a client asked me if I thought the pharmaceutical company was going to fight us. “Oh Yes!” was my response. “They are going to fight us every single step of the way.”
Why would they do that if the plaintiff is obviously really hurt and the drug obviously caused the injury? Just because something is obvious to you and obvious to me does not mean that it will be obvious to a jury based on admissible evidence. The drug companies know that. So, they are going to fight about everything every single step of the way.
2. Every Individual Fight Takes a Long Time.
So far, in one Singulair case, we have gone head to head with the drug company as follows:
- They moved to dismiss one of our claims – the claim that the drug itself was designed defectively. They filed the motion. We had 21 days to respond. Then, they had 14 days to reply. The Court ruled in our favor after 60 days.
- Then, the drug company decided to move for summary judgment as to part of another claim. They needed my client’s medical records first. It took about 90 days to get the medical records. Then, the defendant had 30 days to file the motion. After that, I had 35 days to respond, and they had 21 days to reply. We don’t have a decision from the Court yet.
- Next, we had to agree or at least try to agree about how the company would send us the tens of millions of documents that are relevant to the case. The process is a BIG DEAL when we are talking about so many documents. We have really been negotiating, and I think we finally came to an agreement about all of the details. However, it took almost two months of constant back and forth to come to an agreement.
It’s obvious why this process is frustrating. Every single step takes a long time.
3. Defendants are In No Hurry to Resolve Pharmaceutical Cases.
The drug companies are in no hurry to settle. The longer the case takes, the longer they have the money in their hands. Like everyone else, defendants would rather not pay now if they can pay later.
4. They Think They Can Wear You Down.
Some people just cannot deal with a legal case (especially long pharmaceutical cases) hanging around in the background for years at a time. The drug companies know that. If they can make the case drag out, they know that some plaintiffs will just give up.
5. Pharmaceutical Cases are Worth Nothing Until it Looks Like Plaintiffs are Going to Win.
Finally, defendants won’t even come to the negotiating table until it looks like the plaintiffs are going to win.
In our first Singulair cases, I told the defendant I want to start with their best defenses. To no surprise, they were happy to start with their best foot forward. And, I was happy for them to start that way, too. Let us knock off their best defenses first, so those are all out of the way. Hopefully, we will be able to show them that we really are going to win these sooner rather than later. I know taking this approach only shaved a few months off the end of this process, but I know a few months can make a big difference for some of our clients.