2000 Years of Camp Lejeune Cases
2000 Years of Camp Lejeune Cases – Mass Tort Report from Legalcalls.com by Attorney Jeff Keiser.
It’s been quite a while since we last touched base with you about all the comings and goings of these complex litigations and some important developments may impact your strategy as we start entering the warmer months.
Baby Powder Moving Forward
We start our journey in the Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder case, where it finally appears as if the entire bankruptcy sub-plot has finally come to an end.
This means that the MDL can proceed, and I believe some kind of settlement will be the final answer. The case involves nearly 38,000 plaintiffs, and there is some real hope that they can finally get paid.
To that end, earlier this month, J&J publicly offered a whopping $8.9 billion to settle the case through a bankruptcy proceeding. I know I just wrote that bankruptcy was over, but this is an entirely separate technique, one that is designed to push through a final, global resolution.
Plaintiff attorneys have thus far balked at the offer, but there is very little doubt that the parties will eventually get across the finish line. The current offer would translate to nearly $100,000 per plaintiff, and that’s enough to get the ball rolling.
Hair Relaxer in Focus
The Hair Relaxer MDL is another case that is picking up steam, and we think it may be the case to focus on right now.
Judge Mary M. Rowland of the Northern District of Illinois is overseeing the case, and in a status conference held last week, the parties agreed that causation will be one of the most challenging questions the Court will answer.
Briefing on the subject is being prepared now and faces a deadline in May. How the Court responds will indicate just how quickly this MDL is going to move.
A bellwether schedule will be announced soon, and in all regards, this is a case that is just getting started.
2000 Years To Sort Out Camp Lejeune
In the Camp Lejeune cases, things are moving slowly, but I anticipate things picking up steam over the summer.
By now, you know that there was a required administrative law procedure requiring claimants/plaintiffs to file a claim with the Navy JAG before pursuing litigation, and that the Navy JAG has a statutory maximum of 6 months to respond.
That time has now passed for most claims, and now, more than 800 cases have been filed in federal court. As the number of cases rises, so do calls for some kind of consolidation.
There will be thousands of cases by the end of the year, and the idea of trying them individually boggles the mind.
As Judge James Dever of the EDNC recently stated, it would take nearly 2,000 years to go through them all on an individual basis. Something needs to happen, but no one knows what that thing is, at least not yet.
Plaintiff lawyers and the US government agree that some kind of consolidation needs to take place, but as of today, no plan is anywhere close to a reality.
We have a few bellwether trials scheduled for later this year that deserve some discussion too.
- In the Nexium MDL, the first bellwether is scheduled for June 5, 2023, with others scheduled for July and September. There have already been settlement negotiations with a Special Master, so settlement is a real possibility, even if it may be a while before we know anything.
- The Paraquat MDL has its first bellwether scheduled for July as well, so this summer may be especially active in the MDL world.
- In the Bard Hernia Mesh case, the third bellwether has now been set for October 16, 2023. The first two have ended with one win for plaintiffs and another for Bard, so this third trial is incredibly important. A plaintiff win will really help in terms of momentum.
That’s it for this month. For once, it looks like summer won’t be slow in the mass tort world.
Stay tuned for more updates and if you need any help with your legal marketing, don’t hesitate to contact us today.
You don’t want to be on the wrong side of a settlement deadline, and we’re here to help.
Craig H. Alinder, Vice President