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Takeda Pharmaceuticals accused of deleting evidence

Takeda Pharmaceuticals has been accused of deleting evidence that was needed for a product liability case when the company was under direct orders not to do so. Interestingly, this was true even though the company destroyed the important files before the current case began.

The case itself involves Actos, which is taken for diabetes. It has now been traced to bladder cancer, and those who started the litigation, said that the company should have warned people about the risk and failed to do so.

A number of employees had been linked to important information in the case, and their files were needed to confirm it and enter this information into the trial. However, it turned out that these employees had all left the company over the previous decade. When they left, Takeda deleted their employee files.

Now, it's important to note that the files were destroyed prior to September, 2011, when the Actos case started. Therefore, the company hadn't deleted them during the litigation.

However, other litigation for product liability had taken place in 2002, and the company had at that time been told not to get rid of anything connected to Actos. A hold had been put in place and then refreshed in subsequent years. This meant that the company was legally obligated to keep these documents under this previous order, and it should not have destroyed them even though the case for which they were needed had not yet begun.

The ruling in the case came down as $9 billion awarded to the plaintiffs, and Takeda was told to pay whatever it cost to reconstruct those destroyed files.

As this case shows, it's important to know exactly how prior litigation can factor into current cases and influence the outcomes in Ontario.

Source: American Bar Association, "Spoliation in Complex Litigation: Lessons Learned," Kara L. McCall and Shelby K. Feuerbach, accessed Oct. 16, 2015

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