The latest update in the Zofran litigation broke on July 6, 2015 when the defendants named in twelve Zofran birth defect lawsuits, GlaxoSmithKline, petitioned the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to consolidate and transfer the litigation before one federal judge.
This is a common practice in mass tort litigation when the expected number of lawsuits is large and the lawsuits all contain similar allegations against the same defendant.
“We have been expecting this motion given the sheer volume of cases that we believe to be out there”, commented Michael Monheit, Esq., an attorney leading an alliance of plaintiffs lawyers in the Zofran litigation, and the chief contributing attorney to ZofranLegal.com.
What Did GSK Request In Their Motion To Transfer?
The motion, which is available to read in its original form by clicking the button below, requested a specific venue and judge. GSK’s United States headquarters is located in Philadelphia, PA and as a result the defendant’s cited convenience as the justification for transferring all federally filed Zofran lawsuits to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Of note, the defendant’s also in their motion requested the transfer to one of two specific federal court judges. Their favored choice is Judge Cynthia M. Rufe who currently presides over two other MDL’s that involve allegations of child birth defects and pharmaceuticals. Namely, the Zoloft MDL and Effexor MDL. GSK’s other choice of judge is Judge Paul S. Diamond.
What Does This Mean For My Lawsuit?
The formation of a Zofran MDL means that all federally filed lawsuits will now be transferred to one court, under one judge for the administration of discovery, procedure, and pretrial motions. A plaintiff’s steering committee will be appointed to represent the interests of all plaintiffs in these procedural matters. In addition, a short form complaint and filing documents will be standardized so that complaints are easier to file and process in large quantities. The major benefit to all parties is that the litigation is streamlined so common issues can be ruled on once, versus for every individual case. This results in faster resolution and disposition of the lawsuits.
If you have more specific questions about the implications of this on your lawsuit, please do not hesitate to contact us.
What Happens Next?
In the coming days Plaintiffs may file a response to the defendant’s motion and could potentially contest venue and judge selection. We will keep you updated on these filings and will update you when the JPML makes their decision on this motion.