One case getting hot, Camp Lejune getting close
Just to build that excitement for the future, we’ll start with an old case that has been (or will be) given new life, the Camp Lejune water contamination litigation.
Previously, these cases had all been time barred, but the US Senate will be taking up a bill passed last week by the House to open the gates to these cases again.
Now I’m not one to hold much hope on the US Senate doing anything, but it does appear that both sides (and President Biden) are aligned, and any delays are just ‘politics.’
Thirty years ago, the Marine Corps discovered specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the drinking water on base, but due to being time barred, victims’ only recovery would be part of a disability claim.
As of July 20, the law has not passed but all commentators are extremely confident that it will, and soon, maybe even this week.
Once it does, the statutes of limitations issue will no longer exist, and these cases will be able to move forward. Even better, the new legislation will establish a scheme of settlement compensation managed by the federal government.
We will be following this case closely over the next few months because we expect payouts to be substantial, just like the injuries (Parkinson’s Disease, various deadly cancers).
Some lawyers are claiming more than 1,000,000 people were exposed to these toxic chemicals, and we expect this to be a great case going forward, especially once it gets centralized as an MDL.
Update: See our 7 part deep dive into the Camp Lejeune litigation
Plaintiffs Up, No Settlement In Sight
Back to some more current cases, the 3M Combat Arms Earplug Litigation continues to steam along.
Like we reported last month, the 1st phase of bellwether trial process has now concluded. Plaintiffs went 10-6 in these trials, with more than $300 million in damages.
While they continue to prepare for larger block trials, with 50-100 plaintiffs involved in each, settlement talks have officially begun in Florida. Last weekend, the parties got together for a 3-day mediation. Unfortunately, no settlement was reached.
The largest case in US history is not a simple affair, and negotiations will be complex, to say the least. It will take time, but both parties do appear to want to make this happen.
There’s nothing to report on amounts or requirements, but we’ll get there. It may not be next month, or the one after, but I think that by the end of 2022, we’ll know a lot more. Then again, when I try to predict dates, I’m not exactly Nostradamus.
Elmiron Getting Hot
We haven’t highlighted the Elmiron case as much as we should, and it really is becoming the hottest case of the year.
Just over the last few months, the size of the MDL has doubled, and we expect this case to keep growing.
The first bellwether trial isn’t scheduled until January 2023, but discovery is going smoothly, and we’ll learn more over the next few months.
The mere fact that the trial has been scheduled is the headline, but the size of this litigation, if it continues to grow at current pace, may be something to pay attention to as well.
Small News For Big Cases
Other big cases have had what I like to call ‘small news.’
CPAP Discovery Plans
In the Phillips CPAP MDL, which I think will be a really big case over the next few years, Judge Conti is working to establish a plan for discovery, issuing a new Case Management Order.
Obviously, discovery and document review will take some time, but at least that process has begun.
Trying to Set a Limit on Hernia Mesh
Over in the hernia mesh cases, defendants are seeking a docket control order designed to limit the number of new cases that can be filed in the MDL.
While the pace of new cases coming into Paragard MDL has been slowing, the availability of the plaintiff fact sheet filing shows the case is progressing.
Bayer’s Hopes Dashed
In Roundup, Bayer’s hopes with the Supreme Court have been dashed as the Court formally rejected their appeal.
JPML in Seattle
I’ll be back next month with a review of what happened at the JPML hearing in Seattle. The headline should be that the baby formula cases will be centralized even further, but you never know what the esteemed panel will ultimately come up with.
Until then, keep on signing those cases, and take care.
Craig H. Alinder, Vice President