The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) issued an order on August 4, 2022 to consolidate dozens of Gardasil vaccine lawsuit claims before U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr. of the Western District of North Carolina. The JPML order allows Gardasil lawsuits filed throughout the country to move into coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.
Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman attorneys represent dozens of young men and women throughout the country in lawsuits against Merck & Co., the manufacturer of the Gardasil human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. The HPV vaccine side effects lawsuits allege Merck fast-tracked its Gardasil through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process and deceptively conducted the clinical trials for Gardasil to mask serious side effects and exaggerate the vaccine’s efficacy.
In April of 2022, Baum Hedlund Gardasil lawyers Bijan Esfandiari, Michael L. Baum, and Monique Alarcon filed a motion to consolidate over 30 Gardasil vaccine lawsuits that were pending in federal courts throughout the country. By July 28, 2022, 48 cases were pending with at least 100 more to be filed in federal courts nationwide.
All 48 cases previously made their way through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP), also known as Vaccine Court. Established in the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, the NVICP was created to provide compensation to individuals who sustained injuries or died from vaccines.
Those who allegedly sustained injuries after Gardasil first filed petitions in Vaccine Court. After a statutory period of time passed, or judgment was rendered, the petitioner may opt out of Vaccine Court and elect to file a civil lawsuit against the manufacturer, as is the case for the 48 claims now consolidated in the Gardasil MDL.
In the motion for consolidation, attorneys wrote that central to all of the cases is the question of whether the Gardasil vaccine can cause autoimmune disorders, whether Merck adequately warned of Gardasil’s risks, and whether the vaccine caused plaintiffs’ injuries.
In the order issued today that formed the Gardasil multidistrict litigation (MDL), the judges stated, “…we find that these actions involve common questions of fact, and that centralization in the Western District of North Carolina will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of the litigation. These personal injury actions present common questions of fact arising from allegations that plaintiffs, or their minor children, developed postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) and various other injuries as the result of an autoimmune reaction to the Gardasil vaccine…”
“We are very pleased the JPML decided to centralize the Gardasil litigation,” says Bijan Esfandiari, a Gardasil lawyer and senior shareholder at Baum Hedlund. “Efficient coordination of the multidistrict litigation makes the most sense and gives the plaintiffs the best path for seeking and obtaining justice. Our clients are looking forward to getting their day in court.”
A multidistrict litigation (MDL) is a procedure in which federal civil cases filed throughout the country that share common issues are transferred into one court. An MDL provides unified case management for pre-trial discovery, motions, and the first “bellwether” trials to happen in front of one presiding judge.
Attorneys say that U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr. will likely schedule a status conference in the coming months and set up procedures for selection of lead and co-lead counsel for the Gardasil MDL, along with selection of the executive committee, steering committee, and other positions. The Court will also issue various orders on how discovery is to proceed, along with the bellwether trial selection process, and eventually, pre-trial deadlines. Esfandiari says the first Gardasil trial will take place in 2023.
The Gardasil MDL is captioned In Re: Gardasil Products Liability Litigation MDL No. 3036.
Lawsuits Allege Several Common Gardasil Side Effects
Esfandiari and his firm represent young men and women across the country who allege they suffered serious injuries after receiving the HPV vaccine. Some of the most common Gardasil side effects alleged in the Gardasil lawsuits include:
- Autonomic Dysfunction (Dysautonomia)
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
- Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)
- Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)
- Orthostatic Intolerance (OI)
- Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)