Harris Martin Conference Panel Sneak Peak with Fu Zimmermann + More! – The Leverage Report

By Susan Barfield
June 19, 2024

Susan Barfield (0:00:06) – Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of the Leverage Report. Really excited to be joined today by Fu Debrosse Zimmermann. Fu, you’re a partner at DeCello Levitt, and I’m grateful for you taking a few minutes to connect with me on this Monday. 

Fu Debrosse Zimmermann: Thanks for having me. Yeah. 

Susan Barfield: Well, I’m excited to see you next week, 27th in Buffalo. I’m gonna be at the public nuisance, panel discussion. So I thought we could start off with a high level about that panel, like, kind of what the agenda. Tell us a little bit more about what your discussions are gonna be. 

Fu Debrosse Zimmermann (0:00:43) – Sure. I’m really looking forward to it as well. So just some really, really great panelists on there, like Shaina and Joe and others. I think it’s gonna probably be some background in terms of the expansion of public nuisance theory, which is extraordinarily important in protecting populations of people from wrongdoing and from tobacco till today, kind of the evolution of those theories across a lot of different cases, obviously, and my partners is handle public entity cases where we assert a lot of public nuisance claims. So extraordinarily important theory, sometimes on behalf of individuals in the smaller context, but definitely on behalf of municipalities and states that are able to try to right some wrongs on behalf of large populations of people. 

Susan Barfield (0:01:30) – Right. And outside of this panel discussion, if there’s any listeners, attorneys that are kinda on the fence about attending the Harris Martin event next week, what would you say to them to encourage them to attend?

Fu Debrosse Zimmermann (0:01:35) – Extraordinary lawyers who’ve handled these cases for a much longer time than I have, a lot of great information to help inform your cases, a lot of great information to understand where a lot of these cases are, where you may have cases parked in these cases, and also for lawyers, who want to, you know, begin to get a entree into public nuisance cases and understand public nuisance law and always the benefit of getting to know our colleagues, you know, for networking and other purposes. So it is not to be missed.

Susan Barfield (0:02:06) – Yes. Exactly. And it’s a one day event. So, you know, for those that are interested, like you said, Fu, there’s a great lineup of leaders that are gonna be there speaking on topics. So, we encourage everyone to attend. Let’s shift our attention and talk a little bit about some of the other litigations that you’re on leadership for. Would love to understand any updates as it relates to hair relaxer, Ozempic, if there’s anything to share about NEC, social media.

Fu Debrosse Zimmermann (0:02:32) – Sure. So, you know, hair relaxer continues to move along. We are north of 9,000 cases filed in the MDL. Phase 1, all of the cases that were filed in the phase 1 phase will be the cases from which the bellwether cases will be drawn from as we understand it at this time. And, of course, you know, folks need to get their PFSs in. They need to be responding to deficiencies that they receive. And if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me, to Fidelma Fitzpatrick at Motley Rice, to Michael London, at Douglas in London, or to Ben Crump’s, office at Crump Law since we’re all colleague counsel. So really great firms that I’m grateful to work with who are moving the ball along. Always discovery entertainment with the defendants as we try to get the evidence that we’re entitled to. So the case is moving along, we think, pretty aggressively. I think everyone knows in Ozempic, the case was reassigned as, unfortunately, the judge that initially had the case passed, may she rest in peace, And so the case has been reassigned, to judge Marston, and it and it seems like there’s really a push to have science day. And as usual, I encourage everyone with those cases to reach out to leadership, some really great co lead, Harvin at Seager Weisz and Paul Penick and Jonathan Orant and Sarah. So and, of course, our firm on the PEC, and we’re happy to answer, you know, any questions that folks have about, you know, what are the injuries that are being litigated, where are the products that are being litigated in those defendants, and and any information that anybody would like. Similarly, I think social media MDL’s moving along. Great leadership there as well. You know, what’s interesting is there was a not great determination in the JCCP. The MDL continues to move forward, and those defendants are named in other cases with similar allegations around the country. So we’re feeling, you know, really positive about the development of that case, that case law, to be honest with you. And you may have seen I believe it was the AMA has come out recently saying this today. And, you know, it mimics a lot of our most significant litigation, you know, understanding how dangerous tobacco is, understanding how dangerous opioids are. Just this grounds well collectively with litigation around litigation, around how absolutely toxic and dangerous these social media applications are to youth. So really important litigation. And similarly, folks are in representing individuals, encourage them to reach out to leadership to to get a deeper understanding of the case and what kinds of cases are viable cases. I’ve gone through a few. What else is out there? NEC is re Abbott is moving along, in the Northern District of Illinois in front of Judge Pallmeyer. As you all know, there are bellwethers selected, and that’s what we’re working up. There are deadlines coming upon us, and all of those teams are working really hard to keep the litigation moving forward.

Susan Barfield (0:05:41) – I appreciate those updates on those litigations. Lastly, before, right around the corner is gonna be Shades of Mass. So anything you can tell us what to expect in September as it relates to Shades of Mass? I’m sure you guys are busy planning, and so I don’t know if there’s anything you can share yet. 

Fu Debrosse Zimmermann (0:06:00) – Well, super excited. I can share. We already have, I mean, I think north of 10 sponsors, you know, months months before. A special thank you to all of the companies, including yours who support Shades of Mass. That’s very exciting. We have a jam packed awesome agenda from 70 2 to how to get in leadership to 3 different, mass tort updates that cover device, drugs, environmental MDLs. We have a class MDL panel like we had last year. We have 2 judicial panels that are gonna be awesome. We actually have a major entertainer. We had some awesome entertainment the last 2 years, which people love. We had Flo Rida. We have Doug E. Fresh. We have someone equally as big, if not bigger. I just have not signed the contract. But once I do, we should be posting that entertainer next week. And we have some pretty significant politicians who we’re finalizing. So it’s gonna be, like I mean, I think better than all the other years, larger than all of the other years. It’s from September 19th to September 21st at the Marriott Marquis in Houston, Texas. Amazing CLEs, breakout sessions, really amazing speakers, awesome, awesome entertainment. So it’s gonna be a really good time, and folks are gonna learn a lot. And this year, again, our key sponsor and supporter from day 1 is Shield Legal, and we’re super, super grateful to them. So it’s not something you’re gonna wanna miss. Also, we went out of our way to make sure it didn’t conflict with religious holidays, national holidays, and other conferences because we wanna support the other entities that support plaintiff lawyers. So we’re hoping that everybody comes on out, and I’m really super excited about our 3rd annual Shades of Mass conference, which is crazy because you and I spoke year 1, and we are in year 3. So it’s been very, very exciting. 

Susan Barfield (0:07:56) – That is. It sounds like it’s gonna be a great time as always. Certainly appreciate you coming on board and talking with me again on the Leverage report, giving us updates, insights. I’ll see you next week, and thanks for telling us giving us a little insight into shades of mass. 

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