The pause before the (CPAP) Storm?
It’s hard to believe we’re already in May. But we are and that means summer is right around the corner. I hope you have some fantastic vacations planned and really get out and enjoy the world.
In the meantime, we have some updates on some of the MDLs we’ve been following for you. Some are making great progress towards ultimate resolution, while others have been a bit more stagnant.
Hopefully, one or more of these will find some kind of global settlement resolution, and soon.
The 3M Combat Arms earplug case has been one of the busiest I have ever seen in terms of bellwether trials. It is, after all, the largest MDL in history in terms of plaintiffs. Last week, the 15th bellwether trial concluded in the MDL.
The jury awarded $2.2 million in damages. The final trial in phase 1 of the bellwether cases will start next week.
We have had fifteen 3M bellwether trials so far, featuring 18 individual plaintiffs. The plaintiffs have gone 9-6, with total damages of $222,192,820. One plaintiff was awarded $55 million.
Judge Rogers has indicated that the next round of bellwether trials will deal with large blocks of consolidated plaintiffs. This means 20-50 plaintiffs will go to trial together, a potential disaster for 3M.
BK Complicates Talc
Over in the talcum powder MDL, things have gotten complicated following J&J’s bankruptcy strategy, the so called ‘Texas two-step.’
After losing a trial involving 1000 pending plaintiffs in 2021, just about everyone I know thought that a global settlement was right around the corner. But that settlement remains elusive.
It still baffles me to think that J&J continues to sell these products around the world.
Recently, J&J shareholders voted to keep selling talc powder, despite their admission that they “aggressively market to Black and Brown women” and the WHO found ‘possibly carcinogenic’ labeling on shipments.
On the whole, I think we need to sit tight and see how the bankruptcy will play out.
If you have any of these cases, file them as soon as possible.
Bayer Likely To Settle?
Monsanto has settled nearly 100,000 Roundup lawsuits, paying nearly $11 billion through negotiating block settlement arrangements with plaintiffs’ lawyers who have large numbers of cases in the litigation.
However, there are still about 26,000 active Roundup lawsuits, mostly filed in state court.
The MDL class action lawsuit is in a holding pattern. But the next Roundup lawsuit to go to trial is Allan Shelton’s case, currently underway in state court in Missouri.
Will that case go to verdict? I doubt it. Bayer will likely handle this case by settling before going to jury. This is one case that may get resolved by the end of the year.
Zantac Efficiently Heating Up
The Zantac MDL is heating up. The discovery process is underway and from the reports I see, it’s going very well, efficiently even.
The first Zantac bellwether trial is scheduled for October 2022. The types of cancer caused by Zantac were limited to four: stomach, bladder, liver, and pancreatic.
These have been linked to NDMA and are the cancers being pursued in the MDL.
Stay tuned, this one is really starting to heat up.
Paraquat & Parkinson’s
Paraquat is another MDL that seems to be making progress. There are now 982 Paraquat lawsuits in the MDL alleging that Parkinson’s disease was caused by Paraquat.
Recently, the MDL judge identified a group of six cases for bellwether trials, with the first scheduled for November 2022.
We still don’t know which lawsuit will go first, but full discovery will be conducted in all six cases. I think that defendants in these lawsuits will realize that a trial will be hard for them to win.
Once they realize that (hopefully), you might see settlement compensation offered to victims.
Everyone involved thinks there is massive exposure for Sygenta and Chevron in these cases, and I expect a settlement before bellwethers are completed.
Some lawyers are estimating payouts in the neighborhood of $1,000,000 for some of the worst affected plaintiffs.
ParaGARD not ParaQUAT
In a separate MDL, despite the confusingly similar name to the MDL in the paragraph above, the Paragard lawsuits were centralized into an MLD in the Northern District of Georgia.
Plaintiffs complain that the device is prone to break inside a woman’s body because the IUD is not sufficiently flexible.
More than 1,000 cases are currently pending, and there are likely more. These cases appear to be high value, with some lawyers estimating a settlement amount in the range of $40-200k.
This is becoming one of the hotter cases of 2022. Leading counsel has already been appointed, a short form complaint has been approved, and discovery has started.
The status conference next week (May 13, 2022) should show us even more about the speed of the litigation. Bellwether trials are expected to begin in 2023.
Pause Before the CPAP Storm
The Philips CPAP MDL appears to be in a bit of a standstill, unfortunately.
This case really appears to be the biggest case going on at the moment, but there simply hasn’t been much news to discuss.
Lead counsel was appointed earlier this year, and that can often trigger a long period of time where the news is all internal.
The Philips CPAP lawsuits are in their initial stages, and there have been no settlements or jury verdicts yet.
Because millions of CPAP, BiPAP and ventilator devices have been recalled, lawyers expect a large number of lawsuits.
That’s it for May
That’s it from HQ for May. Keep signing those clients and keep working those cases.
We’ll be back in June with more news and updates on these and other cases. Stay safe out there.
Craig H. Alinder, Vice President