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.

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.

Paraquat Cases Pivot to Trial, Possible Multidistrict Litigation

The legal fight over the herbicide paraquat is coming to a head, with the first trial set to begin next week. On Thursday, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation plans to hear arguments on whether to coordinate more than 70 lawsuits brought against Chevron and Syngenta over the herbicide.

The legal fight over the herbicide paraquat is coming to a head, with lawsuits proliferating and the first trial set to begin next week.

The bench trial, set for June 1 in Illinois state court, comes in a lawsuit filed in 2017, but the vast majority of the 75 lawsuits have hit the courts in the past few months. On Thursday, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will hear arguments on whether to coordinate the federal cases into a single pretrial proceeding.

Multidistrict Litigation – How a MDL Works

It is estimated that 15 percent of all civil lawsuits in the U.S. are part of multidistrict litigation. Many MDLs include thousands of individual lawsuits and hundreds of lawyers from different parts of the country in a single MDL case.

MDLs were created in the 1960s to relieve crowded backlogs in federal courts. They are meant to streamline the pretrial process that goes into building a case. They eliminate duplication of witness depositions — sworn testimony before a trial — and requests for discovery — the process lawyers on both sides use to obtain evidence from their opposing side.

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