Latest Status of Video Game/Social Media Addiction, Paraquat, RoundUp and Zantac Lawsuits – Tort Talk Thursday 6/27/24

By Susan Barfield
June 27, 2024

Susan B. (0:00:05) – Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Tort Talk Thursday with Joe Fantini of Rosen Injury Lawyers. Joe, as always, thanks so much for taking time to connect with us on this Thursday to provide updates and invites on these litigations.

Joe F. (0:00:18) – Thanks for having me, Susan. Really excited to talk to you about all the developments in the mass tort world. Well, let’s start off talking a little bit about video game addiction. Tell us what’s new on that front. Yeah. So as you know, we have the video game addiction and the social media addiction that we’ve been working on here for a couple years. For the social media addiction, we have the litigation going on out in California state and federal court. Recently, some of the claims got dismissed for some of the school district defendants. The claims were similar to what we saw in the Juul litigation, but really positive news just came out this week where the surgeon general came out in support of the claims that we’ve been making. The surgeon general now is saying he believes that there needs to be a warning label for adolescents for the social media. He can’t put out the warning label himself, but he says it’s exactly similar to big tobacco, and that’s the type of warning that’s needed. So it’ll have to be worked out legislatively, but for the surgeon general to come out, that shows you how serious of an issue this is, and we’re hoping to get more support as we move forward with those cases.

Susan B. – Yep. Warning label. That would be fantastic. Thanks for that. Moving on to Paraquat. I know the MDL excluded some of the experts. Will you provide some updates and tell us a little bit more about that? 

Joe F. – Yeah. We talked earlier this year about the MDL’s decision in April and 4 of the bellwether cases to exclude the plaintiff’s general causation expert. So that really brought that litigation to a halt with about 6,000 cases in the MDL. We’re working in the MDL now to get another general causation expert but about a year away before the judge rules on that. So while that’s going on, attention here has turned to the Philadelphia mass tort program and the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas where the Paraquat litigation’s heating up. In the last 6 months, we’ve seen over 500 new Paraquat cases filed. We have about 800 on track right now that are already filed. Where we’re at procedurally is the defendants are gonna file a motion. It’s called a preliminary objection here in Philadelphia similar to a motion to dismiss. We’ll be able to beat that back pretty much. I feel pretty confident, and then we’ll work on getting those cases move forward. So looks like Philly’s gonna be the new home in the Paraquat litigation. Really some positive verdicts like we’ve seen in RoundUp through the year, so it’s a great venue to have. Fantastic. 

Susan B. – Speaking of RoundUp, what are you hearing as far as kinda the upcoming trials? 

Joe F. – Yeah. So RoundUp, a lot of trials on the docket here to kick off in the summer. Starting throughout the rest of the year, we’ll have more than 6 trials. In Philadelphia, where we’ve had some really big verdicts even though we did lose one case Starting in the middle of July, we have jury selection in the next RoundUp trial. This is gonna be a case tried by Kline & Specter who secured that really large $2,000,000,000 verdict previously. A lot of excitement there. Also, we have cases scheduled to kick off trial in California state court, and then there could also be another trial in Missouri state court before the end of the year. All of the action now is in state courts. We have over 50,000 cases pending. Only about 2,000 cases left in the MDL, but hoping for some really good verdicts here throughout the rest of 2024.

Susan B. (0:03:26) – Yeah. That’s very exciting about Roundup. Zantac, what are you hearing about Zantac, and should firms, attorneys go out and get cases? 

Joe F. (0:03:30) – Yeah. We talked a little bit about that great ruling out of Delaware state court where the judge allowed our experts to come in and allowed us to proceed on the 10 cancers. So the defendants, they had a chance to settle the cases. While this was pending, they decided not to, and they lost. That’s gonna be a bad decision for them. So right now, I am hearing from a lot of attorneys. People are acquiring new cancers. You just have to be mindful that you wanna get these newly diagnosed cancers and make sure the clients weren’t previously on the registry that we have for the MDL because the statute’s gonna be blown in those cases. So newly diagnosed cancers and all 10 that were approved in the Delaware state court, cases would be filed in Delaware, California. I’m seeing a lot of excitement there, so that’s a great development as well. 

Susan B. (0:04:24) – Definitely. Very exciting about Zantac. Joe, as always, very grateful for you to take time out of your week to spend a few minutes with with me and our listeners, providing the updates and insights, on these torts.

Joe F. – Thanks for having me, Susan.

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