Multidistrict Litigation

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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

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The Granuflo/Naturalyte MDL (“G/N”) was created a decade ago, in 2013.  In re Fresenius Granuflo/Naturalyte Dialysate Products Liability Litigation, 935 F. Supp. 2d 1362 (J.P.M.L 2013).  Notwithstanding a settlement in 2016, it’s still up and running, it appears.  Over the past decade, the G/N MDL had distinguished itself for – not much, really.  We wrote a grand total of one post about it during that time, which collected several one-off state-law rulings, but zero preemption, expert admissibility, or core product liability issues decided.

Until a little while ago.Continue Reading GranuFlo/NaturaLyte MDL Substantive Rulings – Better Late Than Never

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Our immediate reaction to In re Bard IVC Filters Products Liability Litigation, ___ F.4th ___, 2023 WL 5441793 (9th Cir. Aug. 24, 2023) (hereafter, “Jones” (the plaintiff’s name)), was “popcorn time” – pull up a chair and watch the other side fight like drunken pirates over the MDL spoils.  But there’s more to Jones than that.  The MDL-related “participation agreements” that Jones enforced are something like third-party litigation funding, in that they introduce another party to the settlement mix, even in non-MDL cases.  Defendants thus have a need to know about those agreements when settlement is raised in those cases.Continue Reading Of MDLs, Settlements, and Common Benefit Contracts

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It is time, once again, to talk about Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) case management.  But this time there will be more gratitude than grousing.

We wince when we hear judges talk about managing litigation.  Such management seems to be about many things (mostly about forcing settlement), and not much about deciding legal issues, and definitely not

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The In re Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hip Resurfacing Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation MDL (“In re BHR MDL”) has disappointed us in the past with its early decisions on preemption, but had rebounded in its summary judgment rulings on individual bellwether cases. Unfortunately, when asked to apply that individual case analysis to a

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This is hardly the first time we’ve complained about MDL procedures – such as direct filing and master complaints – adopted in derogation of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and deployed to the disadvantage of defendants.  Today’s decision, Sykes v. Cook Inc., ___ F.4th ___, 2023 WL 4188705 (7th Cir. June 23, 2023), isn’t even the first time that the defendant in this particular IVC MDL lost a dismissal to an MDL procedural peculiarity.  See Looper v. Cook Inc., 20 F.4th 387, 391 (7th Cir. 2021) (MDL statute of limitations dismissal reversed because direct filing changed ordinarily applicable choice of law rules).Continue Reading Peculiar MDL Procedures Again Disadvantage Defendants

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We’ve blogged before about the plaintiffs’ self-defeating “injury” definition in the Taxotere mass tort litigation.  Specifically, plaintiffs have defined their injury as being hair loss that persists more than six months after their cessation of treatment with the defendant’s cancer chemotherapy drug.  But, because this litigation (like most product liability MDLs) only exists because of lawyer solicitation, such solicitation dredges up many plaintiffs who sat on their hands for much longer than the aforesaid six month period.  Having a date certain as to when the injury exists greatly assists any defendant in winning dismissal of these stale claims on statute of limitations grounds.

That’s not just true in the Taxotere MDLContinue Reading Taxotere Timing Troubles Persistently Plague Plaintiffs