Litigation Update: Taxotere Defense Verdict

by | Oct 10, 2019

After a two-week trial in New Orleans, the jury in the first Taxotere bellwether trial delivered a defense verdict. There are approximately 11,000 claims in the multi-district litigation against manufacturer Sanofi Aventis and other defendants alleging the chemotherapy drug Taxotere (docetaxel) caused permanent alopecia.

Barbara Earnest, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, underwent chemotherapy that included Taxotere. Like many chemotherapy patients, she lost her hair, but unlike most patients, her hair did not grow back. Taxotere has been linked to reports of hair loss that continues long after treatments are over; however, other effective breast cancer treatments do not have this same risk of this permanent side effect.

Mrs. Earnest was represented by Darin Schanker of Bachus & Schanker in Denver and Rand Nolen of Fleming Nolen Jez in Houston. The trial team included Karen Barth Menzies of Gibbs Law Group in Los Angeles, California, and Christopher Coffin of Pendley, Baudin & Coffin in New Orleans, who are co-lead counsel in the multidistrict litigation, and David Miceli of Miceli Law in Carrollton, Georgia

Commenting on the trial, Ms. Menzies stated, “We are certainly disappointed with the verdict. However, the trial was littered with evidentiary violations by the defense from opening statement on.  These were highly prejudicial, so much so that the Court had to give the jury curative instructions on three separate occasions, and we were compelled to move for a mistrial before closing arguments. Mrs. Earnest intends to seek appropriate post-trial relief.”

The litigation has been especially contentious, with Sanofi seeking to delay the trial and filing multiple motions related to possible outside funding.

The second bellwether trial is scheduled for March of next year, with the third bellwether to follow in August 2020.

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