The statute of limitations for a Xeljanz lawsuit limits the amount of time that can pass between the injuries you have suffered from Xeljanz's side effects and when you file a personal injury claim for compensation. Each state has its own statute of limitations. However, most of them require a lawsuit to be filed within two years of getting hurt, though there are often circumstances that can extend this timeframe.
Filing a Xeljanz lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired will lead to the claim getting dismissed by the court.
The defective drug lawyers at the Shouse Law Office represent victims of Xeljanz. Here, they discuss:
- 1. What are Xeljanz lawsuits?
- 2. What is a statute of limitations?
- 3. Statute of limitations for Xeljanz lawsuits
- 4. Courts dismiss lawsuits filed after the statute of limitations has expired
1. What are Xeljanz lawsuits?
The lawsuits are mass tort claims against the Xeljanz manufacturer Pfizer for losses related to the side effects caused by their medication.
Xeljanz is the brand name for the drug tofacitinib. The drug treats ulcerative colitis and arthritis by inhibiting Janus kinase enzymes, which can cause high levels of joint inflammation.
However, Xeljanz can also cause some severe side effects, including:
- Certain types of cancer, especially blood cancers like Lymphoma,
- Pulmonary embolisms and blood clots in the lungs, and
- Liver damage.
In some cases, these side effects have proven to be fatal.
As a result, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against Pfizer for the injuries caused by Xeljanz. These lawsuits demand compensation for those injuries and other losses caused by the drug, including:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages and reduced earning capacity,
- Pain and suffering, and
- Loss of companionship.
2. What is a statute of limitations?
A statute of limitations is a law that dictates when a civil lawsuit can be filed against someone else. They force victims to take their claim to court before a specified amount of time has passed by.
The point behind a statute of limitations is two-fold:
- It forces victims to file their claim soon after the event or the discovery of their injury so the relevant evidence will be fresh in people's minds and important documents will not have been thrown away, and
- It allows a negligent person or wrongdoer to repose, or rest assured that they will not be sued once the statute of limitations has expired.
Different states have their own set of statutes of limitations. Additionally, different types of legal claims each have their own statute of limitations based on how long a defendant should be kept open to a lawsuit and the type of evidence it would take to prove the case. For example, in California:
- Personal injury claims have a two year statute of limitations because these lawsuits rely heavily on the memories of eyewitnesses, defendants, and victims,1 while
- Lawsuits for the breach of a written contract have a four year statute of limitations because most of the evidence is preserved in the written document.2
Even when the type of lawsuit is the same, though, lawsuits filed in different states can be subject to different timeframes and special circumstances in each state's statutes of limitations. Statutes of limitations for medical malpractice claims in California, Nevada, and New York offer a good example:
- In California, medical malpractice claims have to be filed within one year after the victim discovered their injury, or within three years of the malpractice occurring, whichever is sooner,3
- In Nevada, medical malpractice lawsuits have to be filed within two years of the discovery of the injury, or within four years of the malpractice, whichever is sooner,4 and
- Up until 2018 in New York, medical malpractice lawsuits had to be filed within 30 months of the malpractice, regardless of whether the injury had been discovered or not.5
3. Statute of limitations for Xeljanz lawsuits
Because different states have such different statutes of limitations, it can be surprisingly difficult to determine when the statute that applies to your case will expire. As a result, it is very important to talk to a lawyer at the Shouse Law Office as soon as possible after your injuries. However, most Xeljanz lawsuits will be subject to a two-year statute of limitations.
It bears repeating, though, that this is not a solid rule. Some states have extraordinarily short statute of limitations: These laws are often the subject of vigorous lobbying efforts by the healthcare industry and other business interests who realize that they can avoid liability for a lot of lawsuits if they have to be filed so quickly.
Additionally, there are exceptions and other rules to a statute of limitation that can extend how long you have to file your lawsuit. For example, most states recognize that injuries can happen without your knowledge, and that years can pass before you realize that damage has been done. These states recognize discovery rules that toll, or delay, the statute of limitations until you could reasonably become aware of the injuries you have suffered. Furthermore, most states toll their statutes of limitations to allow injured children more time to file a lawsuit.
Talking to a lawyer at the Shouse Law Office as soon as possible is critical, though, because of the serious consequences of not abiding by the statute of limitations.
4. Courts dismiss lawsuits filed after the statute of limitations has expired
Abiding by the timeframe set out in a statute of limitations is one of the most fundamental aspects of filing a lawsuit because courts will dismiss any lawsuit that was filed too late.
Raising the statute of limitations as a defense to a lawsuit is one of the first things that defendants like Pfizer try to do. It is a strong defense that can quickly and completely end a lawsuit almost as soon as it begins. More importantly, a statute of limitations defense can get even the strongest Xeljanz lawsuit dismissed before any evidence gets presented.