Orange judge in charge of Digitek MDL, 23 suits already transferred

David Yates Aug. 5, 2009, 10:19am


Nearly two dozen suits against Mylan Pharmaceuticals have been transferred into Orange County District Court in the last three weeks, as a local judge is now in charge overseeing all Texas Digitek suits.

Over the past two months, the Record has reported on several suits filed against the makers of Digitek by attorney Michael R. McGown of Benckenstein, Norvell and Nathan of Beaumont.

Now, all those suits are being transferred to Orange County as part of a Multidistrict Litigation Panel. Judge Buddy Hahn, 260th District Court, will oversee all the cases.

Since July 23, approximately 23 of McGown's Digitek suits have been re-filed in Orange.

The cases were transferred from surrounding counties, including Jefferson County, by order of Multidistrict Litigation Panel in Austin.

MDLs are formed to streamline cases of a similar nature. When Judge Hahn makes a pre-trial ruling on one case his order will apply to all suits within the Digitek MDL.

The MDL order was pronounced June 17 and was requested by the defendants, court papers say.

Court papers show that the Mehaffy Webber law firm is local counsel for Mylan and has formerly denied all the plaintiffs' allegations and is requesting the suits be dismissed.

All the suits allege the plaintiffs suffered physical pain after taking the prescription drug Digitek, which they claim contained twice the approved level of its active ingredient.

The drug, which is normally prescribed to treat various heart conditions, including atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter and congestive heart failure, was recalled on April 25, court papers say.

The suits name Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., Mylan Bertek Pharmaceuticals Inc., UDL Laboratories Inc., Actavis Totowa LLC and Actavis Group as defendants.

Digitek (Digoxin) has a narrow therapeutic index, and thus has a limited margin between effectiveness and toxicity, according to the suits.

"Apparently the drug Digitek (Digoxin) contained twice the approved level of the active ingredient," the complaints state. "The existence of double strength poses a risk of digitalis toxicity."

The plaintiffs are seeking exemplary damages on top of their mental anguish and medical expenses.

All the MDL suits have been filed under case No. 090397 and plaintiffs are distinguished by a letter designation at the end of the case.

The plaintiffs as of Aug. 4 are:

A-Paul Arceneaux
B-Herman Barnes
C-Walter Mae Davis
D-John Cleveland
E-Vicki Butts
F-Victor Breaux
G-Odessie Fancher
H-James Taylor
I-Glenda Beach
J-Deana Parnell
K-Imogene McGann
L-Felipe Martinez
M-Rodolfo Galindo Jr.
N-Lucy Lindsey
O-Wilbert ledoux
P-Joan Parker
Q-Wanda Vinson
R-Charles Hutto
S-E.C. Fountain
T-Virginia Robinson
U-Deborah Corbin
V-Helen Keltz
W-A.B. Belrose

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