We have spilled a good deal of ink on the Valsartan MDL.  The back-end of the blog says 18 posts (and counting) already reference Valsartan.  Why so many?  Because they usually are so bad.  Today’s post is more of the same.  Hence the deep sigh.

Today’s Valsartan opinion, In re Valsartan, Losartan, & Irbesartan Products

In 1919, J. Edgar Hoover described Communism as a “conspiracy so vast” that it was impossible for the populace to comprehend it.  The Palmer Raids and the first Red Scare soon followed.

That phrase echoed in our minds when we first read In re Valsartan, Losartan, & Irbesartan Products Liability Litigation, 2023 WL 1818922 (D.N.J. Feb. 8, 2023).  The Valsartan opinion was similarly mind-boggling in its scope.  It certified not one, not two − but four class actions:  one for economic loss, one for third-party payors (“TPPs”), and two for medical monitoring (“remedy” and “independent claim”).  Id. at *3.  Compare that to the state of class action precedent in product liability litigation not too long ago when we made this statement in 2007:

As far as we know, there has not been a single contested class action in product liability, personal injury litigation that’s been affirmed anywhere in the federal system in the decade since the Supreme Court put the kibosh on such things with its Ortiz and AmChem decisions.  That’s not limited to just pharmaceuticals, that’s every kind of product that’s made.

Four in a single MDL order?  These class certifications glommed together no less than 111 consumer and TPP subclasses.  Valsartan, 2023 WL 1818922, at *24.  These class certifications combined 428 different pharmaceutical products, produced and marketed by 28 separate defendants, with claims governed by the laws of 52 separate jurisdictions.  There’s no way on earth that common issues could predominate over individual ones, or that this morass could possibly be tried to a jury.Continue Reading An Abuse of Discretion So Vast….  Our Long-Delayed Critique of the Valsartan MDL Class Action Certifications

Few things raise our blood pressure as much as the MDL process. MDL stands for Multi-District Litigation, but the M might as well stand for Mutilating and the D for Distorting. One-sided discovery, wholesale parking of ‘shotgun’ complaints, made-up spoliation issues, and bellwether trial programs that produce results representative of nothing other than plaintiff lawyer

One of the blogposts that generated a lot of “Thanks, I needed that” responses from our readership was our 2022 post, “Remote Depositions in MDLs.”  For that reason, we have updated it by adding references to additional MDL orders on that subject that have been entered since early 2022.  We pay particular attention to MDL orders because, due to their stakes, every procedural jot and tittle is gone over with a fine-toothed comb.  The “litigate everything” mentality in MDLs produces the most comprehensive consideration of issues that arise in remote depositions generally.  We asked one of our crack legal assistants to look for additional MDL orders during this time frame to see what MDL transferee judges – advised by the parties – have had to say most recently about the conduct of remote deposition.Continue Reading Remote Depositions in MDLs 2.0

Abuse of substantive law as a weapon to force settlement occurs so frequently in multidistrict litigation (“MDL”), that we’ve given it a name – “the MDL treatment.”  The linchpin of the MDL treatment is that plaintiffs are allowed to take way more liberties with state law than the Erie doctrine allows.  Readers can recall from our prior posts that both the Supreme Court and Third Circuit (to take the relevant example), view expansive federal court “predictions” of state law – and state tort law in particular – usurp the prerogatives of the states and are an abuse of power. Continue Reading CPAP MDL Overinflates Plaintiffs’ Claims

Growing up down in Georgia, Bexis used the phrase “a whole lotta nuthin’” frequently when encountering things (like the 1970s Underground Atlanta tourist trap) or people (like Lester Maddox, who governed the same way he rode bicycles) that didn’t impress him much.  That’s the phrase that came to mind when we read In re E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. C-8 Personal Injury Litigation, ___ F.4th ___, 2023 WL 8183812 (6th Cir. Nov. 27, 2023).  Indeed, the opening sentence of the du Pont opinion was:  “Seldom is so ambitious a case filed on so slight a basis.”  Id. at 81.  And yes, du Pont was an appeal from yet another bizarrely pro-plaintiff MDL decision.Continue Reading A Whole Lotta Nuthin’

In stark contrast to the “MDL treatment” that the Valsartan plaintiffs received earlier this year, the decision in Post v. Amerisourcebergen Corp., 2023 WL 5602084 (N.D.W. Va. Aug. 29, 2023), was more mainstream.  Class certification was denied for a variety of good reasons.

Unlike the result, the Post class action allegations, were relatively unusual.  The members of the class were all patients of the same physician.  Plaintiffs alleged that “defendants” “unlawfully made payments to [the physician] to induce him to misdiagnose” them so that they were eligible for the product at issue.  Id. at *1 We’re not 100% sure, but only one of these “defendants” apparently was the product’s manufacturer.  Plaintiffs sought “the return of every payment made from every source” for this treatment – essentially, they wanted after-the-fact (Post-hoc?) free medical care.  Id.  In addition, they demanded various damages for “invasion of privacy” and “negligence,” as well as punitive damages.  Id.

And they wanted this all as a class action.

The Post reaction?  No way.Continue Reading Post-Out Sticky Notes