Hernia Mesh, Zantac’s 1st Trial Results, Video Game Addiction, & Passing of Judge Pratter -Tort Talk Thursday 5/30/24

By Susan Barfield
May 30, 2024

Susan Barfield (0:00:05) – Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Tort Talk Thursday. We are here with our favorite mass tort reporter to learn all things mass tort and what’s going on in the industry. Joe, as always, thanks so much for taking time to connect with me this week.

Joe Fantini (0:00:21) – Thanks for having me, Susan. Excited to talk about all the developments since we spoke last.

Susan Barfield (0:00:26) – Yeah. Let’s start off with the Bard Hernia Mesh. I know some things have transpired since last week and just wanting to understand kind of what our next step.

Joe Fantini (0:00:35) – Yeah. So as you remember earlier this year, the MDL judge adjourned the 4th bellwether trial and ordered the parties to mediation. That was at the end of February. There were a number of mediations and some progress was made, but, ultimately, the court sent a May 24th deadline to advise the court if there was a settlement. There hadn’t been a global settlement announced. My understanding is there’s is about 35,000 cases between the MDL and Rhode Island. So what’s gonna happen next is the parties have to present to the court by June 24th their schedule and plan for remanding some of the cases from the MDL back to state courts. So in the meantime, we’re gonna continue to negotiate with the defendants, hopefully come to a resolution. If not later this summer, the cases will be going back to different courts across the country, really picking up the litigation and putting pressure on Bard.

Susan Barfield (0:01:26) – Great. I know we’re excited to see some movement, in Hernia Mesh. Okay. Next, let’s talk a little bit about Zantac. There was a defense verdict, so maybe share a little bit about that.

Joe Fantini (0:01:36) – Right. So that was the first trial in the Zantac litigation that was out in state court in Illinois. It was a tough case with some tough facts. It was a colorectal case with an elderly plaintiff who took Zantac brand and generic for almost 20 years. It was a good trial. We presented the best we could, but, ultimately, like you said, it came back with the defense verdict against GSK and BI. So there’s a number of trials scheduled for later this year picking up in the summer here. Illinois State Court, there’s about 3 of them, I believe. And then down in Philadelphia, we have the first scheduled trial in the Q1 of 2025. But we’re really waiting on the ruling on the expert admissibility in Delaware, expecting a ruling by mid June about which cancers can come in, which are gonna be excluded. That’s really gonna shape what happens next year.

Susan Barfield (0:02:27) – Good. So it sounds like some movement over the next month we’ll all be looking out for. Tell us a little bit as it relates to the video game addiction. Has anything transpired since we last connected on that tour?

Joe Fantini (0:02:39) – Yeah. So the JPML, the judicial panel is meeting this week, and they’re hearing an argument to centralize the video game addiction. Plaintiffs are looking to have it either be in Missouri or Arkansas. Obviously, the defendants are opposing centralization. It’s almost similar to what we had going on with some of the social media addiction, similar type of theories here. So we’ll expect a ruling from the JPML early June. Hopefully, we can get that litigation kicked off. I know a lot of people are excited and a lot of buzz about that new mass tort forming.

Susan Barfield (0:03:13) – Okay. And lastly, Ozempic. I know there’s been a lot of questions around the unfortunate passing of judge Pratter. And so have you heard a little bit about what’s in the store and kind of how things are moving forward there?

Joe Fantini (0:03:24) – Yeah. Sad news with the unexpected death of judge Pratter, who was one of the senior judges we had out here in the Eastern Dixons of Pennsylvania. We were all excited about her when she got appointed to oversee them DL. Unfortunately, surprised passing. And what happened so far is we’ve heard that the science day, which was scheduled for the middle of June, that’s been adjourned. And really what we’re looking for now is to get some guidance on whether a judge from the eastern district is gonna come in and lead that MDL or if it’s gonna have to go back to another court. I know judge Pratter had a really busy schedule, a lot of cases, so I’m hearing it could be moved to a different court altogether. We’ll likely hear from the JPML on that in the next month or so.

Speaker A (0:04:08) – Okay. Well, Joe, as always, grateful for your time, your insight, sharing the knowledge. Thank you so much for taking time this week to connect.

Joe Fantini (0:04:17) – Thanks for having me, Susan.

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