Big News for CPAP, J&J Talc Powder, AFFF and Bard Hernia Mesh Plaintiffs This Week! – Tort Talk Special Edition 5/7/24

By Susan Barfield
May 7, 2024

Susan B (0:00:05) – Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Tort Talk with Joe Fantini from Rosen Injury Lawyers. Joe, as always, appreciate you taking time out every week to come in and share with us what you’ve learned as it relates to the updates and insights and all things mass tort.

Joe F. (0:00:21) – Thanks for having me, Susan.

Susan B (0:00:22) – Yeah, so I know a couple of quick updates that I wanted you to share would be around both Talc and the CPAP cases and that litigation. Share with us what you’ve learned over the last week.

Joe F. (0:00:35) – Yeah, some big developments in both of those cases. We’ll start with CPAP. So recently it was just announced that CPAP entered into a settlement to resolve all of the personal injury claims. The settlement is for $1.1 billion. There’s approximately 58,000 cases involved. Under the terms of the settlement, we need to get 95% participation, which a little bit lower than what we usually see, about 98%. Phillips isn’t going to be involved in the administration of the settlement. It’s going to be up to leadership to kind of categorize and award different amounts. And then also everybody has an additional six months to come forward, whether or not a claims on the registry or have been filed, to bring forward another claim. Supposedly the settlement’s going to be funded in 2025. So this was a really surprising development because we haven’t even served our expert reports which were due at the end of May. So everybody’s really excited about this settlement and we’ll learn more in the coming weeks about the specific injuries to be included.

Susan B (0:01:37) – Awesome. Tell us a little bit about Talc.

Joe F. (0:01:38) – Yeah, another big development in Talc. As everybody knows, J&J previously had the two unsuccessful bankruptcy petitions. They were both dismissed at the end of last year. J&J moved and created a company and established it in Texas. For this two step, which we were expecting under the previous bankruptcies, J&J was proposing $9.8 billion to resolve the ovarian and Meso cases. Just this week, it came out that J&J has a new plan to file a third bankruptcy, a pre packaged bankruptcy. So here are the terms, as I understand it, it’s going to be about $6.5 billion to resolve all the ovarian cancers, with an additional about 4 billion for a total potential of $11 billion paid out over 25 years. This is only going to include the ovarian cancers. J&J said that 99% of the claims involve ovarian cancers. The Meso cases, they said they’ve already resolved 95% of them. They’re continuing to do firm inventory settlements with the Meso cases, they’re not going to be part of the bankruptcy. This one’s going to be a little bit different because J&J indicates that they have 75% approval of the potential claimants, and the claimants have until July 26 to opt in and affirmatively say they’re in favor of this plan. So we’re going to see a little bit of fighting between some of the plaintiff attorneys who feel like this isn’t enough and the plaintiff should get more, and those who are in favor of it trying to bring an end to this ten year plus litigation. So we’ll have more developments over the next three months. We’re really interested in seeing if this is going to finally end this nightmare of a litigation for everybody.

Susan B (0:03:19) – Yeah. And exciting that they’re, like you said, that there’s movement. And so I appreciate sharing about those two litigations. What is going on with AFFF, and especially as it relates to the CMO that was released.

Joe F. (0:03:31) – Yeah, AFFF. As everybody knows, we’ve had the water drinking settlements, and those have been really powerful in the class action. So now we’re focusing more on these individual personal injury cases. And there’s a recent order, case management order number 28, that everybody needs to pay attention to. Essentially, this order allows you to file a case that’s not one of the top tier injuries. So if you don’t have a testicular, a kidney cancer case, ultra colitis, thyroid or liver cancer, you’re able to file a case, then you’re going to have to dismiss the case without prejudice, but it will toll for four years from the date of the filing. So that’s going to allow additional time for leadership and the signs to evolve for maybe some of these other cancers that we’re looking at, like prostate, down the line. So we’ll see an uptick of filings in the next couple months here, and then we’ll see a number of dismissals. So don’t get concerned about that. But what we’re really focusing on then is getting these bellwether trials going, and we’re looking at our first trial here in 2025. So really focus on those tier one injuries. That’s what everybody seems to be paying attention to. Really good ones, the super strong ones are testicular and kidney. So that’s where we’ll see the first trials next year. But a lot of excitement right now, a lot of attention being paid to the AFFF litigation.

Susan B (0:04:53) – Yeah, that is exciting. And lastly, give us an update on Hernia Mesh.

Joe F. (0:04:58) – Bard, my favorite litigation that there ever was. We’ll say. So, as everybody knows, in the MDL, the judge canceled the fourth bellwether trial, ordered the parties to mediation. This has been ongoing for a couple months now. And, and what we’re hearing is they’re supposed to report back to the MDL judge by May 24 that they’re at an impasse. I’m hearing that we’re making some progress in this mediation. Everybody’s hoping for a global settlement that’s going to include the MDL and the Rhode island cases. As we sit here today, there’s been no resolution reach, but they continue to work together. And I’m hopeful before that May 24 deadline when the judge indicated there could start being some remands that will have a settlement. So stay tuned for that. We’ll keep you updated, of course, every week here on tort talk, if there’s a settlement reach in the next couple of days.

Susan B (0:05:49) – Awesome. Well, Joe, as always, thank you so much for taking a moment to connect with me and share the updates and insights with industry.

Joe F. (0:05:57) – Thanks for having me. Susan.

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