What Happened In The MassTorts World Last Week? 2018-Nov-19

Saturday, Nov 17, 2018

On October 15, an elderly couple who suffered from cancer was granted an expedited trial by the Superior Court Judge Ioana Petrou in Oakland for allegations that glyphosate in Bayer AG's Roundup weed killer was the reason for the deadly disease.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of a California couple Alva and Alberta Pilliod stated that they both regularly used Roundup since 1971. In 2011, Alva was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), while Alberta got the same disease in 2015. The couple sued Monsanto in 2017 alleging that Roundup was the reason for their cancer. Attorneys representing the Pilliods requested for a fast-track trial considering the couple's deteriorating health condition and short life expectancy. The case will head to trial on March 18, 2019, in California.

This is the second trial against Monsanto company over glyphosate (an active ingredient in Roundup) side-effects. The first trial concluded with a San Francisco Superior Court jury awarding $289 million to a school groundskeeper suffering from NHL. The award was later reduced to $78 million by the jury. Bayer acquired Monsanto which faces about 9,300 glyphosate lawsuits and continues to deny all allegations put on them and plans to appeal the verdict. Individuals affected by Roundup herbicides have filed lawsuits in California, Missouri, and Delaware state courts. A multidistrict litigation has been formed in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, overlooked by Judge Vince Chhabria.


Saturday, Nov 17, 2018

Taxotere hair loss lawsuits move forward in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana for upcoming six bellwether trials which include 18 additional lawsuits nominated by the parties for the fourth, fifth and sixth trials. The cases would undergo Phase 1 discovery between November 1, 2018, and May 1, 2019.

The order issued on November 8 stated, "for the selections on November 1, 2018, and May 1, 2019, the Court expects the parties to select plaintiffs whose claims are representative of the characteristics of claims in the litigation overall. Unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties or ordered by the Court, the venue for each selected case must be proper in a United States District Court over which the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has jurisdiction". According to a recent Taxotere status conference, the parties are required to nominate primary and alternate plaintiffs for the second trial earliest by January 4, 2019. The first bellwether trial would involve the case filed on behalf of Antoinette Durden, with two alternate cases filed by Louisiana women to go forward if Durden's case gets resolved or dismissed. The trial is expected to convene on May 13, 2019, to provide insight into how the jury would rule in similar hair loss lawsuits.

The multidistrict litigation ( MDL No. 2740; In Re: Taxotere (Docetaxel) Products Liability Litigation) is overlooked by Chief Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Louisiana where about 10,000 lawsuits are pending against the chemotherapy drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC over allegations of permanent hair loss (alopecia).

Friday, Nov 16, 2018

A second South Carolina jury failed to reach a verdict in a retrial case filed against talcum powder giant Johnson & Johnson involving claims filed by the family of Bertila Boyd-Bostic, who died of mesothelioma in 2017, allegedly due to the asbestos exposure from J&J's talcum powder.

Then 30-year-old Boyd-Bostic ran a three-person law firm in Columbia along with her husband. Earlier in May, the Darlington County Court of Common Pleas in Charleston was deadlocked in the first trial against J&J. Christopher Swett, a lawyer representing the family, stated that the plaintiffs were unhappy with the mistrial announcement as J&J refused to take responsibility for the damages caused even when the jury urged the parties to consider settlement.  The company continues to deny the presence of asbestos in its talcum products. This is the fifth time the jury has announced a mistrial in a mesothelioma case against J&J as it failed to reach a verdict or because the plaintiff died.

There are about 11,700 lawsuits against J&J, claiming that the company failed to adequately warn consumers about the carcinogenic asbestos presence in its talc-based products causing mesothelioma and ovarian cancer in several individuals. J&J has consistently declined hazards of its talcum products and is currently appealing all jury verdicts declared against them.

Friday, Nov 16, 2018

Getinge AB, the Swiss parent company of Atrium Medical Corporation, has set aside an amount totaling to $200 million (SEK 1.8 billion) to cover the ongoing costs of litigation and future hernia mesh settlements involving around 900 lawsuits filed against Atrium Medical in the U.S and Canada.

In a conference call, the Chief Executive Officer Mattias Perjos and Chief Financial Officer Lars Sandstrom of Getinge confirmed that the plan had been outlined to cover all present and future costs linked to the litigation over Atrium hernia mesh defects. Apart from the $200 million compensation, the company also revealed it has liability insurance to cover the expenses involved in some or all of the Atrium hernia mesh cases. The Food and Drug Administration had announced a recall for certain C-Qur surgical mesh devices in October 2013. Atrium hernia mesh multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2753; In Re: Atrium Medical Corp. C-Qur Mesh Products Liability Litigation) was established by the JPML in December 2016 assigned to the Honorable Landya B. McCafferty in New Hampshire District Court.  The first trials for Atrium hernia mesh defects would commence in the late 2019 or early 2020.

As of September 2018, more than 2,300 hernia mesh lawsuits are pending in the federal MDLs targeting Ethicon’s Physiomesh Flexible Composite mesh, Atrium C-Qur products, and C.R. Bard's polypropylene products.



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