Multidistrict Litigation (MDL)

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Latest Developments in Multidistrict Litigation…

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… Read more
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… Read more
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…. Read more
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…. Read more
In June 2021, Philips Respironics recalled millions of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and other respiratory devices after receiving complaints of defects and new or worsened illnesses from consumers. The complaints and legal claims that followed were due to the breakdown of the polyurethane (PE-PUR) foam, which exists to provide a noise-abating layer, in certain models. The PE-PUR foam degradation in Philips CPAP machines caused some consumers to ingest and even inhale toxic and carcinogenic compounds. This could lead to a range of illnesses, including chemical poisoning, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, and liver damage. By the end of September, 93 proposed class action lawsuits were filed against Philips in response to injuries, risks, and disruptive use of affected CPAP machines. Since then, even more lawsuits have emerged. Due to the similarity of these claims, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) ruled to consolidate 110 federal lawsuits against Philips in multidistrict… Read more
3M Co has lost the latest in a series of bids to move lawsuits alleging that its combat earplugs caused hearing damages from Minnesota state court to federal court, which would have cleared the way for them to be sent to a multidistrict litigation in Florida. U.S. District Judge John Tunheim in Minneapolis on Thursday ruled that he lacked jurisdiction over eight lawsuits, including dozens of plaintiffs, rejecting 3M's arguments that its status as a U.S. military contractor allowed it to raise federal law defenses. 3M spokesperson Fanna Haile-Selassie said the company is confident in its defenses whether they are in state or federal court. Daniel Gustafson of Gustafson Gluek, a lawyer for the state court plaintiffs, could not be reached for comment. The ruling came a day after a case that was scheduled to go … Read more
The federal judge overseeing multidistrict litigation over Bayer AG’s Roundup weedkiller has put narrow limits on a fund for common-benefit legal work, calling the lead plaintiffs’ lawyers request to hold back 8.25% of Roundup-related recoveries around the country regardless of their connection to the MDL “breathtaking.” U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco on Monday ordered a hold-back of 8% of recoveries by MDL plaintiffs only, adding that the federal court systems' Civil Rules Advisory Committee "should consider crafting a rule that brings some semblance of order and predictability to an MDL attorney compensation system that seems to have gotten totally out of control."… Read more
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…. Read more
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…. Read more

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