PHILADELPHIA — The litigation that began in state court over the diabetes drug Invokana should be handled in federal court, a district judge has ruled, according to The Legal Intelligencer.

U.S. District Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled Wednesday in Portnoff v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals that the federal courts should keep jurisdiction over the 106 cases that were filed last year in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Kaitlin Meiser, a spokeswoman for Janssen, said in an emailed statement, “The court’s ruling reflects the fact that the proper venue for these cases is federal court, and that is where we will continue to defend against the allegations made in these lawsuits.”

Joshua Mankoff of Lopez McHugh, who is representing several plaintiffs, said Wednesday afternoon that he was reviewing the opinion, but that there may be other avenues to have the case remanded back to state court.

Goldberg’s ruling did not address the issue of whether the 106 cases will remain in Pennsylvania, or be rolled into a multidistrict litigation over Invokana that is pending in New Jersey.

Janssen had initially sought to remove the cases to federal court late last year, citing the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), which is intended to ensure federal courts can consider “interstate cases of national importance.” The plaintiffs had previously sought to consolidate the growing litigation into a mass tort in Philadelphia state court.

The plaintiffs cited consolidation for trial as a reason for why the cases should be pooled together into a mass tort program. Although the plaintiffs later contended that they only meant to say that the cases should be consolidated for pretrial proceedings, Goldberg said that “a common-sense reading of the entire petition establishes that plaintiff proposed a joint trial.”

In seeking to remand the cases to state court, the plaintiffs had also argued that Janssen missed its deadline to assert that CAFA applied. But Goldberg, delving into an issue of apparent first impression, rejected those arguments. The crux of the issue dealt with how parties can establish the deadline for removing mass actions, specifically when a defendant is put on notice as to whether a claim can be removed.

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Our dangerous drug attorneys can help if you or someone you care about was harmed by Invokana. We are currently investigating claims against Invokana by patients and their families seeking compensation for injuries caused by this medication. You may be entitled to a settlement.

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