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We’ve grown accustomed to the MDL Panel granting motions to coordinate product liability cases. After all, according to a study one of your humble scribes (Herrmann) and a colleague (Bownas) published in BNA’s Class Action Litigation Report in February 2007, the Panel granted motions to coordinate product liability cases at an 89 percent clip from 2000 through August 2006.
Today, the Panel denied one. The motion involves Florida residents who smoked cigarettes and want to rely on factual findings made by the trial court in the Engle case. In the so-called Engle Progeny cases, plaintiffs “seek to take advantage of certain jury findings made in a now-decertified state court class action involving cigarette smoking.” Given the size of the original class, many such cases may be filed. The Panel nonetheless was not convinced that any remaining issues of fact “are sufficiently complex and/or numerous to justify Section 1407 transfer at this time.”
For those who would like to know more than what we’ve just written, we’re sorry, but we can’t help. Both of our firms play a role in the tobacco litigation.