Judge Orders Mediation Talks In 3M Earplug MDL

In order to prevent district courts from being overwhelmed with 3M military earplug cases, the judge overseeing the nation’s largest multidistrict litigation in U.S. history has ordered 3M and plaintiffs’ attorneys to begin mediation talks next month.

The order, issued June 10 by U.S. District Judge Casey Rogers, stated that the MDL is at a “critical juncture,” reported. After 16 bellwether cases involving 19 plaintiffs have been tried, Judge Rogers implied that all the necessary evidence has been presented to predict the outcome of future litigation.

“At this stage, there can be no reasonable dispute that the litigants in this MDL have more data points about individual claims, and the broader whole, than any other litigants in the country,” Judge Rodgers wrote, adding that district courts will be burdened by the ongoing litigation if no settlement is reached, with over 230,000 cases with hearing damage claims still outstanding.

Nearly 300,000 plaintiffs, mostly U.S. military veterans

Categories MDL

Lead counsel appointed in the Philips CPAP MDL

The federal judge in charge of the multidistrict litigation by users of Philips’ recalled CPAP, Bi-Level PAP and mechanical ventilators has appointed two men and two women to serve as co-lead counsel after interviewing more than 75 candidates for the position.

Senior U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti in Pittsburgh chose Sandra Duggan of Levin Sedran & Berman, Kelly Iverson of Lynch Carpenter, Steven Schwartz of Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith and Christopher Seeger of Seeger Weiss to lead the litigation.

All have substantial experience shepherding other MDLs, but Conti noted the “enthusiasm and talent” of many candidates with little experience in multidistrict litigation. In an unusual move, she created a 10-member leadership development committee to provide newcomers with “the education, experience, and mentorship necessary to lead future MDLs.”

Conti also appointed a 12-member plaintiffs’ steering committee, co-liaison counsel and several other committees. All told, she assigned 33 lawyers to leadership posts, including 18 women and many people of color. Co-lead counsel Duggan is Mexican American, according to her law firm’s website.

John Lavelle Jr of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius leads the defense for Amsterdam-based Koninklijke (Royal) Philips NV and its U.S. units, including Pennsylvania-based Philips RS, formerly known as Respironics Inc.

The litigation began last April, after Philips first warned of “possible risks to users related to the sound abatement foam” in various models of its sleep apnea and respiration aids manufactured before that date. In a subsequent recall notice, the company said the foam could emit toxic fumes or degrade under some conditions, releasing small particles that could be inhaled. Last month, it estimated the recall would affect 5.2 million devices worldwide.

Categories MDL

Sanofi Wins Taxotere Trial Over Hair Loss Claims

More than 12,000 individuals have filed lawsuits against Sanofi over claims that the pharmaceutical giant’s breast cancer drug, Taxotere, caused them to develop permanent hair loss.

Plaintiffs have alleged that had they known about the risk of permanent hair loss, they would have discussed other options with their doctor. The lawsuits also allege that Sanofi was aware that Taxotere could cause permanent hair loss as opposed to temporary hair loss that sometimes occurs with other cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.

However, juries in the first two bellwether trials, or test cases, have cleared Sanofi of liability. The most recent verdict was returned Nov. 19, 2021 in a New Orleans federal court. In that decision, the jury found that Sanofi provided sufficient warning to a Louisiana woman, Elizabeth Kahn, Reuters reported.

Taxotere cases have been consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL) before U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo of the Eastern District of Louisiana. Chris Coffin, an attorney representing Kahn, told Reuters in an email, “While disappointed in the result, we are confident that the evidence against Sanofi will result in positive verdicts for plaintiffs around the country in the future.”

Coffin also indicated that the Kahn decision would be appealed. Kahn sued Sanofi in 2016. She started using Taxotere in 2008. Her complaint alleges that as a result of taking the drug for breast cancer, she has suffered from alopecia.

Sanofi is not the only defendant named in the MDL. Since Taxotere also goes by the generic version docetaxel, other manufacturers of the drug as well as distributors are facing litigation for their alleged connection to claims of alopecia.

Categories MDL

Zantac MDL Moves Forward As Parties Select Cases for Bellwether Trials

On April 1, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested manufacturers withdraw all prescription and over-the-counter ranitidine (Zantac) drugs from the market. This, after tests, showed the products could contain N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a potent carcinogen.

Meanwhile, many consumers had already filed Zantac lawsuits, claiming that they had taken the drug for years and were later diagnosed with cancer as a result. In February 2020, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated all federally filed Zantac lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida for consolidated pre-trial proceedings.

Now the judge overseeing the Zantac MDL has ordered the parties to randomly select 200 cases to be part of an initial discovery pool.

Categories MDL

Paraquat MDL Nears 400 Cases While Coordinating with State-Filed Lawsuits

On June 7, 2021, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ( all federally filed paraquat lawsuits into the Southern District of Illinois. The Honorable Nancy J. Rosenstengel was appointed to oversee the proceedings.

At that time, about 80 paraquat lawsuits were pending in various federal courts around the country. Now, according to a recent coordination order, that number has climbed to nearly 400.

On October 26, 2021, the Southern District of Illinois released the new coordination order, stating that the action involves at least 384 cases, with more pending in various state courts including California, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

Categories MDL

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