April 2024 MTMP Recap with Joe Fantini – Tort Talk Thursday – 4/11/24

By Susan Barfield
April 10, 2024

Susan B. (0:00:06) – Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Tort Talk Thursday with Joe Fantini from Rosen Injury Lawyers. We are going to be talking about Mass Tort Made Perfect. Joe, thanks for taking time this morning to connect and kind of share your overall feelings from the conference, and we’ll dive into some of the sessions that you attended.

Joe F. (0:00:24) – Yeah, thanks for having me, Susan. It was a good session out there in Vegas. I guess my overall takeaway and I felt the same way as a lot of other attorneys and vendors out there. It seems like we had a really good group of attorneys and vendors out there. In the years past, we might have had some issues in our industry, a little bit of fraud. It seems like some of those vendors have gotten pushed out, and everybody’s really focused on working together to get the best outcomes for our clients. So I was really happy to connect with some of the vendors like you, other lead-generating companies out there that are really reputable. And so it had a really good feel about it this year compared to years past. So a lot of really good sessions. But the overall connection, it was a lot improved from years past.

Susan B. (0:01:06) – Yeah, I agree. I feel the same way. A lot of great companies to partner with. Let’s talk about some of the sessions that you attended. I know you and I spoke about some of the takeaways, but if you don’t mind sharing with us the sessions and the main highlights from PFAS, Ozempic and hair relaxer, certainly.

Joe F. (0:01:24) – So PFAS, that was the big one here of the conference. We just recently got final approval of that $12 billion settlement in the drinking water municipality’s water supplier. So that was fresh on everybody’s mind. And so what we’re now focusing on is a shift towards the personal injury cases. So there’s some bellwether cases that are already selected, a batch of about 30. Cases that are getting worked up and moving forward. Doesn’t sound like we’ll have a trial this year, but hopefully next year. And then we’re also working on the second batch of cases. So it’s looking good that we’ve now identified, really the core tier one, tier two injuries that everybody’s focused on. So this is a big problem that we’re going to be dealing with, not just this year, next year, but for a couple years into the future. So there’s a lot of opportunity for a lot of people to get involved in those PFAS ones. And I’m happy to hear that was kind of the main topic here. Another one that had a lot of buzz is the new tort of the year. It’s those Ozempic weight loss. The MDL was just recently formed earlier this year. We already have over 100 cases formed, and filed. Leadership’s getting in place, and there’s a lot of opportunity to get involved in this case. It was a very popular drug and medication. It’s still on the market. We’re anticipating more than 20-30,000 cases are gonna end up being filed. So by the end of this year, I think we’ll have more than 1000 cases on file. But there’s a good chance to get in kind of early on this. The science seems pretty solid. So everybody was interested in that one. That was probably one of the most heavily attended sessions. And the other one I thought was really good. And one of the torts that I’m most in favor of getting involved right now would be this hair relaxer one. So this has been going on for over a year, MDL. We’re making progress moving towards bellwether cases, but we have almost 10,000 cases filed. So that’s a pretty large MdL. I anticipate we’ll probably get up around 13 to 15,000 before the end of the year, and it’s going to keep climbing. So compared to Ozempic, which is really new, it seems like the injuries are really dialed in. We have two, maybe three, cancers that people are investigating. So we have strong leadership, strong science, a good judge, a good venue, and pretty far along in the litigation. So I think that’s another opportunity that a lot of people were excited about.

Susan B. (0:03:45) – And I know with MTMP, I mean, Joe, I know you really take advantage of having the thought leaders, everyone in one location, coming together and collaborating and learning from each other about different torts. And I know we touched on this, and I’d love for you to share. When you were talking with other leaders in the industry as it relates to Roundup, Zantac and baby food, what did you guys discuss and what were you hearing?

Joe F. (0:04:08) – Yeah, you know, Zantac was, the news broke last week that 4000 cases got settled in state courts everywhere except Delaware, where we’re waiting on kind of the Daubert ruling here should have it in the next 60 days. And what we’re anticipating is there’s 70,000 cases pending. Some of the cancers are going to come through. That’s going to chop down the inventory. And then we’re actually optimistic right now that we’ll have a global settlement of all the cases throughout the country and all the state courts, hopefully by this time next year. So that seemed impossible this time last year, especially after the MDL ruling, but we’re really excited about that. So that’s one that we’re gonna keep talking about. 

Another case that’s got everybody’s interest is talc. So you’re hearing they’re either gonna file for bankruptcy, Johnson and Johnson, or. I’m actually hearing some positive developments. Some people think we could have a global settlement here in the next 90 days. So that’s something to keep an eye out for. I’ll keep you updated while I hear about that.

Another one that’s been going on for a long time, a mass tour we are both really involved with is Roundup. So right now, we’re in a little bit of a lull with no trial scheduled here for the next couple months. I thought originally we’d have a global settlement in place around this time. Speaking with others, it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen. So I think there’s more opportunity and more time to get involved with Roundup. It might be towards the end of this year where we really get some settlement progress. We have a trial coming up here in the summer in Philadelphia. I’m really optimistic about that, but doesn’t seem like any settlements. And with that, another case that we’re talking a lot about, hopefully settlement is barred, hernia Mesh. It seems like the mediation is making some good progress. So I’m hoping we’re going to have some news on that as well, but nothing definitive at this time. Other topics we were talking about are we’re waiting for the JPML to rule on the motion to centralize for the baby food autism cases. Everybody’s excited about that.

I’m still optimistic that’s going to be centralized here in the next week or so. And then we could see that blow up to an MDL with more than 10,000 cases. So that was kind of the buzz behind the scene besides the sessions that we were talking about earlier.

Susan B. (0:06:21) – Fantastic. I know you said you had a great time at MTMP. I did as well. Lots of great meetings. And of course I always appreciate you sharing what you’re hearing and what the buzz is and providing those insights. As always, Joe, thank you for taking time to connect with us.

Joe F. (0:06:36) – Thanks, Susan.

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