Hernia Mesh, Bard MDL, Boy Scouts, Suboxone & More – Tort Talk Thursday – Week of 2/26/2024

By Susan Barfield
February 29, 2024

Susan Barfield (0:00:02) – Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining another Tort Talk Thursday. I’m here again with Joe Fantini of Rosen Injury Lawyers, and Joe is going to give us the highlights of what has been going on in mass tort industry over the last week. Joe, why don’t we start off talking a little bit about hernia mesh, if you can give us an update. Moved on, what’s going on with that litigation.
Joe Fantini (0:00:28) – Yeah. Thanks, Susan, for having me. Excited to go over all the developments since we talked last. But hernia mesh, which is one of the bigger mass torts we’ve been working.
on for a number of years. A couple significant developments next week in New Jersey. We’re scheduled to have a trial starting in stratus hernia mesh. So this is one of the MCls with a lower number of cases, a couple hundred. But it’s rare we have a hernia mesh case get this far along towards trial. So we’re eagerly watching that in the bigger litigation, the biggest one out there, Bard MDL. Between Bard MDL and Rhode Island, there’s over 40,000 filed cases. The judge recently entered an order requiring the parties to go to mediation beginning next week on the 3rd and 4th of March, so we’ll see if we get any progress there.
And then the other big one committee in, where there’s about 15,000 cases filed, we’re just now wrapping up the initial bellwether process that’s going to complete here soon, and then we’ll move on to identifying the cases to move forward with expert discovery. So a lot going on with hernia mesh and one of the bigger mass torts out there right now.
Susan B. (0:01:42) – And I Know everyone will be excited. We’ve had those hernia mesh cases and been working on them for many years, so it’s great to see the progress there. Okay, Boy scouts, there was a deadline released of May 31. Everybody’s pushing the gas pedal. Then it’s like, hold up, stop. There’s a stay. So is there a stay? No stay. What’s going on, Joe and Boy scouts.
Joe Fantini (0:02:04) – Right when we talked last week, there was a stay in place. There were 144 survivors who filed an appeal, which the Supreme Court granted this temporary stay, but that stay got lifted. So the Boy Scout settlement is back on here. So everybody needs to get the claim form submitted, get those in on time, and then we’ll have those claim forms evaluated, and then hopefully later this year, we get some compensation going to these victims. So that’s very exciting for sure.
Susan B. (0:02:38) – Do you happen to know, I was looking earlier, and I’m not sure that I know or found the right information, but I would assume with the May 31 deadline, and then there was a stay of. It was a few days, so it wasn’t really long. Do you know if the deadline has been pushed out or is that TBD?
Joe F. (0:02:55) – I haven’t seen that it’s been pushed out yet, but I’m sure if you get up against the deadline and you need a couple more days, we’ll probably see some motions or applications to get that extended, but don’t expect it to be extended beyond a week or so.
Susan B. (0:03:12) – Yeah. Okay, let’s hit on suboxone. Would you share a little bit if you know the criteria with this tort and then what is going on with leadership for that litigation?
Joe Fantini (0:03:27) – Right. So suboxone, which is one of the newer MDLs that was just formed here we have an upcoming status conference, the initial status conference, and the judge gave until March 1, are all submissions for leadership to be presented. And then everybody’s welcomed at the initial case management conference, but those who submitted the applications need to be present. And so this litigation, what we’re looking at is people who took this medication, and it’s used for people who have opioid addiction. They would have taken the medication. We need it to be brand medication. We’re also looking for people that took it more than 30 or 90 days, and then they developed some sort of issue with their teeth, likely teeth decay, tooth fragments needed to have some sort of surgery on their mouth. But the important piece of the criteria is that there was a label change in 2022. So we’re looking for people who took the medication prior to 2022. So those are the main components of these cases here.
Susan B. (0:04:31) – What about disqualifiers? What are the DQs that we need to be aware of?
Joe F. (0:04:38) – Yeah, some of the disqualifiers are going, you know the certain states that we can’t take plaintiffs from, like Michigan still, because the injuries wouldn’t have been before the time that that pharmacy immunity act got repealed. Some of the other disqualifiers may be the similar or prior injuries with their teeth. So if somebody had poor oral hygiene and had prior orthodox mouth surgeries, that likely is going to be a disqualifier. So those are some of the main that we’re seeing here with this population.
Susan B. (0:05:17) – Yeah. Okay, awesome. That makes sense. I think the next one we want to understand a little bit more about is Ozempic. Can you share any news there?
Joe F. (0:05:28) – Yeah, Ozempic that got MDL the same time as suboxone. And what’s happening here is, Judge Pratter is handling a little bit differently. So the initial case management order was just entered. The initial conference is going to be in March 14. And here at the initial conference, Judge Pratter wants to talk about some of the issues that she wants to have addressed in the upcoming meeting. So they’re going to discuss potential leadership, but the applications aren’t due yet, going to talk about the filings, how it’s going to work with potentially a master complaint, short form complaint, plaintiff fact sheets, some discovery, and then a big issue which is unique to this mass tort because we have so many different defendants and different products. Judge Pratter is always already talking about segmenting the litigation. So are we going to have certain discovery for certain defendants, different deadlines for motion practice? So that’s what makes it a little bit unique and also Judge Pratter’s approach to bringing everybody together one time first to openly discuss these issues before entering orders or setting deadlines for leadership. I expect leadership to be in place here before the end of the spring, and then we’ll get into some discovery and typically what we see with the master and short-form complaints in the summer.
Susan B. (0:06:49) – Awesome. Joe, as always, thank you so much for bringing the insights and the news that’s happened over the last week. We certainly appreciate your time today.
Joe F. (0:07:02) – Thanks, Susan. Thanks for having me.

Get in touch with Joe at jfantini@roseninjurylawyers.com.

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