Parents across the country are beginning to report disturbing side effects after giving their children Miralax, a common over-the-counter laxative.
- Approved only for adult use
- Linked to severe neuropsychiatric symptoms
- Lawsuits may be coming
Did your child develop strange symptoms, like seizures or panic attacks, after taking Miralax? Your family may be entitled to compensation. We can help.
- Dedicated attorneys who can help.
- Decades of trusted trial experience.
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Miralax, a powdered laxative available over-the-counter, is promoted as “gentle” and effective. Many pediatricians rely on Miralax as a first line remedy for childhood constipation, even though the drug is only FDA-approved for occasional use in adults. The drug’s label doesn’t mention any specific side effects in children. Parents across the nation, however, have found their children developing neuropsychiatric complications, from speech difficulties to seizures, within as little as 2 weeks after taking Miralax.
With so many children suffering unexpected side effects after taking the drug, will a Miralax class action soon be filed?
How A Miralax Class Action Would Work
You may have seen TV commercials inviting consumers injured by certain products to join a class action lawsuit to get compensation. Class action is a form of group litigation that allows large numbers of individuals with similar legal claims to join a single lawsuit, in order to reduce strain on the legal system.
Class Action Requirements
In order to be granted class action status, a lawsuit must fulfill four main requirements:
- Represents a large enough number of potential legal claims that it would be impractical to file all of them separately.
- The claims that will be attached to the class action will share a number of case background similarities
- The claims that will be attached to the class action will share a number of similar allegations against the defendants
- The class representative(s)—the plaintiffs who actually file the class action lawsuit—adequately represent the rest of the current and future claimants and therefore will be able to act in a way that’s beneficial for all of their interests
Plaintiffs are responsible for demonstrating the requirements have been met, and once submitted, a district court will decide whether or not to certify the proposed class action. You can learn more about class certification requirements from the Shiver Center website.
How To Join A Class Action
The cases of the class representative(s), also called the lead or representative plaintiff(s), serve as the model for the “Class” and helps establish who’s eligible to join the class action and be a “Class Member.” For example, class members may be limited to claimants who:
- Suffer from a particular set of injuries
- Were injured within a certain date range
- Wish to file against the same defendant(s) as the lead plaintiff
For some class actions, individuals who fit the class description are automatically included as a class member unless they specifically opt out. Others allow potential class members to apply by submitting a simple form to the lead plaintiff’s attorneys.
Drawbacks Of Becoming A Class Member
Though joining a class action is typically simple and straightforward, requiring minimal effort for claimants, most experienced product liability lawyers would point out that it’s likely not the best plan of action for Miralax victims who need a significant amount of compensation for their injuries.
Minimal Awards For Most Class Members
Any compensation awarded in a class action is divided up among the entire class. Usually, the lead plaintiff(s) and their legal counsel receive the largest share of the relief, then the rest is portioned out to the rest of the class members according to the terms of a court order. Many class action claimants receive only a small amount of compensation, if they receive anything at all.
Lack Of Control Over The Lawsuit
In a class action, you entrust your legal claim completely to the lead plaintiff, who makes all the decisions regarding the direction of the class action lawsuit. Thus, you won’t have any say in how the representative case is presented, nor have any influence over crucial matters such as whether or not a settlement offer from the defendants should be accepted. Mostly likely, you won’t even know how the case is proceeding until after it’s already resolved.
Loss Of Legal Rights
By joining a class action lawsuit, you may be waiving your right to take any further legal action regarding your Miralax injuries. This means that if even you find yourself dissatisfied with the outcome of the class action and wish to file an individual lawsuit of your own at a later date, you would no longer have the right to do.
Multi-District Litigation: More Suited To “Defective Drug” Cases
Consumers who sustained considerable harm from drug side effects and need a significant amount of relief to help them recover from pain, suffering, and financial difficulties incurred from their injuries would stand a much better chance of obtaining the compensation they deserve by filing an individual product liability lawsuit rather than joining a class action.
For litigations where hundreds or even thousands of similar individual lawsuits are filed over one product, as legal experts expect will be the case for Miralax, the courts have another type of group litigation to help streamline the processing of such a large number of legal claims—Multi-District Litigation (MDL).
In MDL, similar lawsuits from different district courts across the country are consolidated (at the discretion of the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation) and handled in a single appointed district court for pre-trial proceedings. Here are some potential advantages of MDL for Miralax plaintiffs:
- Efficient And Consistent Pre-Trial Rulings. Because a single judge presides over pre-trial for all of the cases in an MDL, rulings are more likely to be consistent, because the MDL judges are able to thoroughly immerse themselves in the shared facts of the litigation, and also to see compare differences between various constituent cases—allowing for more of a “bird’s-eye view” of the litigation than if different judges were handling pre-trial separately in their own respective state courts, unable to monitor the proceedings of the other similar cases.
- Legal Rights Retained. Each case within an MDL remains an individual lawsuit. Cases are only consolidated during pre-trial, and after that, they’re remanded—sent back to the district courts they were originally filed in to proceed to trial. Thus, plaintiffs generally don’t have to forego any of their legal rights in order to join an MDL.
- No Sharing Of Compensation. Because each MDL case is an individual suit, there’s no dividing of compensation—each plaintiff receives the full amount of relief rewarded, whether it be through settlement or through court award.
Results Of Early Trials Can Lead To Settlements
Most large settlement programs in recent drug litigation were established after trials from an MDL took place. It’s common for drug defendants to watch closely as the first few cases from an MDL go to trial—these early proceedings are termed “bellwether trials” and the results from them give plaintiffs and defendants a good idea of how the courts will receive the rest of the cases in the MDL.
If the bellwether trials are judged in favor of the plaintiffs, the defendants may decide it’s better for them to settle the remaining lawsuits rather than losing a series of additional trials. You can learn more about the settlement process on our Miralax Settlements page.