Mass Tort Update from Legalcalls.com by Attorney Jeff Keiser.
We’re back again with an update of all the important developments in the mass tort case acquisition world. As anyone in the business knows, these cases take a seemingly endless amount of time, and even the smallest developments may seem like breaking news.
Let’s start with the Paragard case, which has an MDL set up in the Northern District of Georgia.
As of May 2023, the Court has forced mediation on the parties, and Judge May has indicated some vague optimism as to a global settlement in the case.
There’s nothing concrete, but the bellwether trials are approaching, and the pressure may be building for defendants.
In early June, the discovery plan for these trials was set up, and over the next several weeks, a pool of potential plaintiffs will go through an accelerated discovery program. After that, the Court (and the parties) will select 6 cases to go to trial.
Unfortunately, the first trial isn’t set until March 2024, so I think we’re still a few months away from any real developments.
3M on Hold
Over in the 3M Combat Arms case, we’re also in a bit of a holding pattern while the parties mediate the claims.
Late last month, the parties (including 3M CEO Mike Roman) were ordered to attend a 2-day mediation session.
Judge Rodgers’s take on the settlement negotiations: “Mediation did not result in a settlement, but progress was made, and negotiations continue.”
A bit more action is coming from the AFFF Firefighting Foam litigation. Just this week, the first bellwether trial started in South Carolina.
It’s an interesting plaintiff in this case as it is a municipality (Stuart, FL) rather than an individual. No matter the plaintiff, however, the trial will be informative as we move through the MDL.
Two additional bellwethers are scheduled after this one, and by the time they wrap up, we should know a lot more about plaintiff prospects and/or settlement.
The CPAP recall and litigation is approaching an important deadline.
June 13, 2023 marks the two year anniversary of the recall and the end of the 2-year statute of limitations. There is still time to get these cases and get them filed, but that time is running out fast.
Obviously, this date is the worst-case scenario for plaintiffs, and there are exceptions and other ways around a statute of limitations, but if you want to make it easy on yourselves, get these cases and file them immediately.
Finally, Camp Lejeune
And finally, everyone wants to know what’s going on with the Camp Lejeune cases, and unfortunately, the answer is – not much.
More than 45,000 cases have been filed with the Navy, and more than 900 lawsuits have been filed after the 6-month administrative period expired. But to date, the U.S. government has not offered to settle a single case or face any consequences for their actions.
The most important recent development is the Navy’s filing of answers to a handful of the filed lawsuits, revealing some of their defenses.
In Warren v. United States of America, the government asserted “assumption of risk,” “contributory negligence,” and “failure to mitigate damages”.
Buckle up – this one is going to take a long time.
That’s it from HQ for this month. The next newsletter will have good news about the next JPML hearing and the results of any bellwether trials. As always, stay tuned.
Craig H. Alinder, Vice President