Toxic Baby Food CMC, Additional Lawsuits Filed Against Talc and Zantac & More Mass Tort News – Tort Talk Thursday 5/23/24

By Susan Barfield
May 23, 2024

Susan Barfield (0:00:05) – Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Tort Talk Thursday. Joe, as always, very excited and appreciative that you are joining us today to give us updates and insights on all things mass torts.

Joe Fantini (0:00:17) – Thanks for having me, Susan. Always love talking to you about the latest developments in the mass torts world.

Susan Barfield (0:00:22) – Yeah. And I think, you know, today, we’ve got a number of torts that we were gonna review. Why don’t we start off on the toxic baby formula litigation? What is new in that realm?

Joe Fantini (0:00:42) – Yeah. The toxic baby formula, that’s the most recent MDL that was formed earlier this year. We have it going on out in California. Just this week, we had the initial case management conference and leadership was appointed. So this is a good start to this litigation. We’re expecting there’ll be thousands of cases end up being filed here. So look over the next 3 months here when we’re talking, we’ll get some guidance on discovery, some other things like a potentially a master long form complaint. And by the end of the summer here, we’ll have a road map moving forward. So a good start in that litigation that a lot of people are excited about.

Susan Barfield (0:01:10) – Yeah. Sounds like it. Okay. Next one I wanted to understand a little bit more about developments is the Uber sex abuse litigation.

Joe Fantini (0:01:18) – Uber sex abuse, this is an MDL that’s going on out in California. We also have a parallel state court proceeding going on. As you remember, we had this very unique filing by Uber after the MDL was formed, where they petitioned up to the appellate court seeking to have the MDL dismantled. That is still pending. While that was going on, Uber filed a motion again to have the MDL dismantled here arguing that their terms of service prevented a consolidated action like we have going on. Fortunately, the judge just denied that this week, ruling that allowing Uber to put those terms in there would prevent the judiciary from doing what it’s supposed to do. So this litigation’s going forward. The discovery’s been ongoing. Uber’s trying as hard as any defendant I’ve ever seen to get out of this MDL, but it looks like the judge isn’t having it, and we’re gonna be picking up this case here and getting some good discovery from them throughout the year.

Susan Barfield (0:02:14) – Okay. The last couple of weeks, you’ve touched on and talked a little bit about Talc and Zantac. So over the last couple of weeks, what is new?

Joe Fantini (0:02:19) – Yeah. So in Talc, we saw and learned about this 3rd Johnson and Johnson bankruptcy. We just saw in a surprise filing, class action was was filed by 5 plaintiffs who’ve sued Johnson and Johnson previously for ovarian or meso cancer. And what they’re alleging now is that Johnson and Johnson engaged in this fraudulent transfer, unlawful activity by setting up and going through this bankruptcy scheme. So this lawsuit was just filed this week. It’s pending here in the district court in New Jersey, and it’s going after not only Johnson and Johnson, but 5 of its most prominent executives, including the leader of the litigation. So we have a number of law firms that are supporting it. It’s unclear what, if any, impact this is gonna have on the bankruptcy vote, which is due in about 2 months from now, but it shows that the plaintiffs aren’t going down. So I was happy to see that. Another big development, unexpected filing almost, was this whistleblower lawsuit was filed in the Zantac litigation. So a laboratory is now suing GSK saying that they knew about the risk of cancer going back decades, and they did nothing. So even though we have those individual plaintiff cases ongoing in California state court where they’ve settled 5 cases, Delaware state court where we’re still waiting on the ruling from the experts, decision from the judge, that’s expected by mid June. Case is going forward in Philadelphia. Then, of course, we have the first trial case ongoing right now in Cook County in Illinois. We’re expecting a verdict any day. So while all that’s going on, the plaintiffs hit him with this whistleblower lawsuit with GSK, obviously, he’s not too happy about, but that will help uncover, hopefully, some of these other unlawful activities or information. So a lot going on in those two litigations outside of the MDL, and that just shows us that we need to hit these defendants from various fronts to get justice for our clients and the victims out there.

Susan Barfield (0:04:18) – Yeah. There is a lot going on, and I’m I’m hopeful next week when we meet, we’ll have even more information to share with the industry. And as always, Joe, grateful for you. Appreciate the time and sharing these updates and insights.

Joe Fantini (0:04:29) – Thanks for having me, Susan.

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