Camp Lejeune, CPAP Case Management, Uber Litigation, Suboxone & More – 3/7/24 – Tort Talk Thursday

By Susan Barfield
March 6, 2024

Susan B. (0:00:05) – Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Tort Talk Thursday with Joe Fantini from Rosen Injury Lawyers. Joe, I know we’ve got four or five different topics that we’re going to go through today. Why don’t we start off talking a little bit about what happened last week and RoundUp.

Joe F. (0:00:25) – Yeah, thanks for having me again, Susan. And a shocker came down on Friday. Not one, but two decisions. So we had a case going in Delaware state court, the first case there, and that resulted in a mistrial. Basically, the jury, after three days of deliberation, informed the court that they were unable to reach a decision, and the judge declared a mistrial. That could be seen as a win for Bayer. But then later in that evening, we got a really shocking decision from Arkansas state court, a straight-up defense verdict. So these two decisions were surprising to everybody here in the community, but I think overall, it could be a positive development towards resolution of some of these cases, because in mediation or settlement discussions, Baer could have some strong arguments that, hey, we can actually win some of these cases. Some of the jurors are on our side, but everything’s not lost because right now we still have two other trials ongoing, one here in Philadelphia, my hometown, where already some very large verdicts have been secured. And then another trial is going on out in California. So expect verdicts to come down in about two weeks. And I’m feeling really confident those will be two plaintiff verdicts. But we have another ten trials set for the rest of this year. So overall, all is not lost. But I think that could help the settlement get done with some wins for Bayer.

Susan B. (0:01:54) – Yeah. Okay, Camp Lejeune, tell us a little bit about the tier-two cases.

Joe F. (0:02:00) – Yeah, Camp Lejeune is going on, and it was a little slow in the beginning with the administrative process, and right now there’s about 170,000 administrative cases. Only about 1500 filed cases in federal court. Previously, they agreed upon the tier-one injuries, and these were the type of cases that got worked up first during the initial discovery. And so that’s nearing completion. And those are the trials that are going to go off first, hopefully later this year. Just recently, the judge and the parties agreed upon what’s going to be considered the tier two cases. So these are going to be cases where the science might not be as strong, and it seems like the government is going to fight and push back a little bit about some of these injuries being related. So the tier two cases, there’s going to be a whole discovery group for them. So we’ll have a couple of dozen cases that get worked up for bellwethers, for drift tier two, and then we’ll ultimately have trials in those later down the line, but those won’t come out until 2025.

Susan B. (0:03:05) – Okay, CPAP. We haven’t heard much about CPAP lately. What’s going on?

Joe F. (0:03:13) – Not much news recently. Like you said in the MDL, there’s thousands in excess of 10,000, 20,000 cases on the registry. There’s only about 700 cases filed in the active MDL docket. But you remember a couple of weeks ago, CPAP Phillips agreed to stop selling the devices, and there’s been settlement discussions going on behind the scenes. We’ve all been eagerly awaiting this upcoming March case management conference, where we’re going to get a lot of important information and deadlines. We’re going to learn about what’s going to be the first bellwether trials, the schedule for the experts and the discovery. And ultimately, it looks like we’re going to have a trial about a year from now. So towards the end of this year, beginning of 2025, there’s going to be a real push to resolve these cases, because, again, with the devices being taken off the market, it seems like they’re almost emitting liability. But there’ll be certain injuries and cancers that come in and certain that don’t. That’s what we have to work out here in discovery, and we’ll get a roadmap from the judge here in the next couple of weeks.

Susan B. (0:04:21) – Okay, what’s going on? What’s the latest on Suboxone?

Joe F. (0:04:26) – Suboxone is one of the new MDLs. We have the initial case management conference coming up on March 7. And in preparation for the case management conference, the judge asked those who wanted to be part of plaintiff leadership to submit an application. A joint motion was submitted for a proposal last week, and that will go in front of the judge on the 7th, and then we’ll likely had an order establishing leadership there before the end of March. There’s about 50 cases filed in the litigation right now. We’re expecting about 10,000 total before everything’s all done. But remember, we had a warning change in this litigation. So it’s similar to CPAP, where liability might not be at dispute as much as some of the other litigations were fighting.

Susan B. (0:05:19) – Lastly, what are. Do you have any updates on the Uber, on the Uber cases?

Joe F. (0:05:25) – Uber, we saw a big development with the master long form complaint was filed. So when the MDLs get off, typically we see a master complaint, and that’s what we just got in Uber here so this is a complaint that’s going to cover all the plaintiffs that end up participating. And some of the main takeaways were that it’s alleged that since 2014, Uber has been aware of these sexual assaults. They didn’t properly hire and screen the drivers that they were hiring. They also ignored these complaints and didn’t do anything about it, which put the drivers at risk in the master complaint. They also highlighted some of the things that Uber has done more recently about background screening that wasn’t done earlier on. So what we’re going to see next here is Uber is likely going to file a response, which would be a motion to dismiss this master complaint. We’ll hear that probably during the summer, get a ruling, but while that’s ongoing, there’ll be negotiations about a short form complaint. So this litigation really is going to pick up steam here. Coming up in the summer, a couple hundred cases filed so far.

Susan B. (0:06:35) – Awesome. Joe, thanks for bringing us this week’s insights and updates on these torts.

Joe F. (0:06:43) – Thanks for having me, Susan.

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