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Guest Blog: MTMP Recap from Thomas Neptune, VP of Strategic Partnerships

What a difference a week makes in mass torts!

As many of you know, over 800 attorneys and legal professionals attended the Mass Torts Made Perfect Spring Conference held at The Wynn in Las Vegas last week. The three-day seminar outlined important litigation updates, marketing trends, legal financing, and administrative services like medical record retrieval and case management software.

Heading into the conference several torts made headlines with verdicts in favor of the plaintiff, which made this Spring’s conference even more exciting! C.R. Bard IVC filter, J&J talcum powder, hernia mesh, and Invokana breakout sessions provided highly informative material, which will ultimately help those in attendance file and litigate their cases more effectively and efficiently in state courts and federal MDLs.

C.R. Bard’s defense team took a devastating hit with their loss in the US District Court of Arizona in front of Judge David G. Campbell. A Phoenix federal jury awarded Sherr-Una Booker $2 million in compensatory damages and quickly awarded her $1.6 million in punitive damages. This is the first bellwether trial in the more than 3,500 other IVC filter lawsuits pending in MDL 2641. Considering this is a rather conservative venue and the defense picked the first bellwether case, a jury verdict of this magnitude speaks volumes for what’s to come over the next two bellwether trials. It’s also important to note that over 3,000 Cook IVC Filter lawsuits are still pending in the Southern District of Indiana (MDL 2570) assigned to Judge Richard L. Young and Magistrate Judge Tim A. Baker. While Cook won the first bellwether trial in Nov. of 2017, there are two additional bellwethers scheduled on April 30th and September 10th of this year.

While much of the focus has been on ovarian cancer regarding the use of J&J’s talcum powder on female genitals, new studies have shown and a New Jersey state court jury agreed that talcum powder causes mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer that affects the linings of the lungs, heart, and abdomen. While they’ve been accustomed to avoiding damaging verdicts in their home state, J&J must now brace themselves for what’s to come with the thousands of lawsuits pending in state courts across the country, in addition to those in MDL 2738 under Judge Freda L. Wolfson in the District of New Jersey.

Hernia mesh lawsuits continue to rise, and while we’ve seen the formation of Ethicon’s Physiomesh MDL 2782 in the Northern District of Georgia and Atrium C-Qur’s MDL 2753 in the District of New Hampshire, it now seems that C.R. Bard may follow suit in the Southern District of Ohio under the Honorable Judge Edmund C. Sargus after three suits were recently brought before him, in addition to a potential, alternative venue in the Western District of Missouri. Covidien’s Parietex hernia mesh should take notice, as cases pile up in Massachusetts state court.

Invokana has made headlines recently as the defense has reached out to several plaintiff firms with sizeable ketoacidosis and amputation dockets on behalf of Janssen Pharmaceuticals’ worldwide settlement for their top-selling SGLT 2 inhibitor for Type II diabetics. While it’s been widely known that Invokana causes a condition known as ketoacidosis, a build-up of ketones in the bloodstream, the FDA also placed a black box warning on the drug on May 16, 2017, notifying consumers of potential amputation of the toes, feet, and legs. It’s been reported that a below the knee amputation will yield $500K or more in financial compensation, so it’s imperative that firms work close with Janssen’s defense team, as the MDL in New Jersey under the Honorable Brian R. Martinotti may be disbanded come September.  

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