J&J Proposes Global Settlement
$8.9B Proposal: Mass Tort Report from Legalcalls.com by Attorney Jeff Keiser.
We hope you’re having a great summer!
In our experience, summer is the quiet season when it comes to mass tort litigation, with just about everyone involved taking vacations and living their best lives instead of pushing cases forward.
Despite the apparent quietness, there have been developments in some of the biggest cases that are worth noting.
Let’s get the ball rolling with the JPML, which met last week. There aren’t many big motions for centralization, but the Insulin Pricing Litigation (proposed as MDL 3080) and the Bard Implanted Port Catheter Products Liability Litigation (proposed as MDL 3081) are interesting cases that we’ll likely hear more about in the future.
J&J Proposes Global Settlement
In currently active cases, some of the biggest news of the summer comes from the talcum powder cases. Johnson & Johnson proposed a global settlement of $8.9B on July 21, and plaintiffs are currently considering whether or not to accept.
Word on the street is that most plaintiffs and their lawyers support the settlement, but a recent award of $18.8M in a single California case might be an indication that even $8.9B is a low offer.
One way or another, this case is likely to be resolved by the end of the year, so if you’re working them, make sure you’re up to date on all MDL filings, and if you are still sitting on cases, get them filed ASAP. to know about how, where, and when to file.
75,000 Claims Filed & Counting
Over in the Camp Lejeune litigation, things are moving forward at a much more frustrating pace.
Some law firms estimate there may be more than 100,000 cases based on water contamination at Camp Lejeune, but with at least 75,000 claims already filed with the Navy JAG, there are not likely many more cases out there.
We’ve all noticed a reduction in the number of ads on TV, so some may be starting to see the end of the road when it comes to finding new clients.
More than 1,000 cases have been filed in federal court following the 6 months granted to the Navy’s administrative procedures. Here’s an interesting bit of news – those one thousand cases represent more cases than were filed in the entire federal district in all of 2022, on all causes of action.
We have a long road ahead of us when it comes to Camp Lejeune victims, but one aspect of the case deserves special mention. Litigation funders are seeking clients with Camp Lejeune damages because of the high possibilities of a large government payout. Some estimates have no fewer than one third of all Camp Lejeune plaintiffs will end up being backed by litigation financing. “Nothing in investing is a sure thing, but when you’re looking for a sure thing, this is kind of the closest you can get to it,” said Rebecca Berrebi of Avenue 33, a New York-based litigation finance company.
3M: Judge Reducing Plaintiffs
In the 3M earplug cases, Judge Rogers is planning on reducing the number of plaintiffs in the case, as early as this week. These plaintiffs have filed claims but have failed to produce documents in support of their cases.
These kinds of clean up phases are normal and expected, and because the MDL still has nearly 250,000 plaintiffs, these dismissals are not expected to delay the case.
Beyond that, 3M has appealed several of the MDL judge’s orders. I’m not one to hold out much hope for the 11th Circuit, but they may help push the case to settlement.
Then again, if 3M wins on appeal, we’re back to the drawing board. One thing is certain – with 3M’s defense costs approaching half a billion dollars, they’ll want to get this over with as quickly as possible.
When it comes to bellwether trials, the one that should be on everyone’s radar is Paraquat. The first trial is scheduled for October of this year and may guide settlement discussions through 2024.
We’re also anxiously awaiting the third bellwether trial (also in October) in the Bard hernia mesh cases. This is now the third largest MDL in history, behind the 3M earplugs case and talcum powder.
More to come
We expect more news in the next few months, so stay tuned. JPML hearings seem to always have some secondary news that comes with them, so we’ll be back next month with a full summary of what happened, and what it means for you and your practice.
Let us know if we can help you when it comes to legal marketing tools, case leads, or anything else.
Craig H. Alinder, Vice President