Talc Powder/J&J Bankruptcy, Bellwether Trials to Keep an Eye On, & Top Legal Conferences to Attend This Year

By Susan Barfield
June 13, 2024

Susan Barfield (0:00:05) – Hello, everyone. Welcome to another week of Tort Talk Thursday with Joe Fantini of Rosen Injury Lawyers. Joe, as always, thanks so much for spending a little bit of time on this Thursday to give us some updates and insights about mass torts.

Joe Fantini – Thanks for having me, Susan. Always enjoy talking with you about the latest developments in all things mass torts.

Susan Barfield – Yeah. Well, great. Well, I know that we’ve got a few mass torts that I’m interested to hear if anything’s transpired from last week, and that’s gonna be on Talc, Camp Lejeune, and Roundup. So why don’t we start with talc? What’s new in the news about talc?
Joe F. (0:00:47) – As you know, talc’s been going on for over 10 years now, and we’ve really been fighting with the defendants who had the 2 failed bankrupty attempts. They’ve stated they intend to file for a third one here later this summer. They’ve actually started sending out information to law firms and claimants and put up a website, but the plaintiffs aren’t going down without a fight. Recently, a group of plaintiffs actually filed a motion seeking a preliminary objection to prevent j and j’s subsidiary from being able to file for bankruptcy anywhere outside in New Jersey. So they’re looking for potentially a more favorable venue, potentially down in Texas or in North Carolina, file that third bankruptcy. We’re seeking to prevent that from happening. J and J obviously called the filing a frivolous lawsuit. They’re gonna fight tooth and nail to prevent that from happening. We should have a ruling here before the end of the summer on that one.

Susan B. – Awesome. Okay. Tell us a little about Camp Lejeune. I know a lot of firms are tracking towards this August deadline, so tell us what’s in store there.

Joe F. – Right. We have about 2 months left to this early August deadline to get your claims filed administratively. So there’s still gonna be a 6 month window after that time to file it. But overall, where we’re at is we have about 230,000 administrative claims filed, 1800 total lawsuits filed. We’re anticipating about another 10,000, 15,000 administrative claims filed before the deadline. We were all really excited earlier when we heard about this elective option that seems to fizzled out at this point. We have maybe only 70 cases that have been identified for being viable. An offer had been made in those cases. Only about 30 received and accepted to date. So that doesn’t look like an option, but we got some good news here from the court. We were able to agree with the defendants on the process for selecting these tier 1 bellwether cases. So, basically, how it works is there’s 5 injuries that we agreed upon. The plaintiffs are gonna go, and they’re gonna select a group of cases from each one of those injuries, 3 for each, and then the government’s gonna select 2 cases for each of the injuries. We’re gonna end up with a group of 25 potential bellwether cases. There’ll be a 45 day period in order to complete the fact discovery, then the expert discovery order will come down before the end of this year. Maybe by the summer or spring of 2025, we have the first trial there.
Susan B. (0:03:11) – Fantastic. Roundup. What is going on with Roundup?
Joe F. (0:03:14) – Roundup, still my favorite mass tort here of 2024. What we had recently was the huge verdict in Philadelphia over $2,000,000,000 that recently got chopped down on appeal. The punitive damages were too large of a multiplier compared to the damages. The judge ended up awarding 400,000,000. Still a good result. That’s going up on appeal. While we have that going on, we’re getting ready to gear up here for the next set of roundup trials. There really hasn’t been much towards global settlements or large inventory settlements here in the 1st part of 2024, but we’re expecting more than 4 to even 8 trials and verdicts before the end of 2024. That’s really gonna start putting some pressure on the defendants. They’re facing over 55,000 pending cases. The majority of them over 40,000 out in Missouri state court. So look to hear some positive developments throughout the summer and roundup.
Susan B. (0:04:15) – Fantastic. Well, I know it’s summertime, lots of conferences, a lot of conferences being scheduled, Joe. A lot of people go to these conferences. They’re networking, they’re talking to each other. They’re learning a lot of great information about these litigations. And so I thought it’d be great for us to just spotlight real quick some of the conferences that are happening over the summer.
Joe F. (0:04:27) – Yeah. So it looks like the conference season’s upon us again. We had a little bit of a lull there. So coming up in June, we have a couple that we’re pretty excited about. We have coming up the Lanier trial conference, which is always a big one. Legal Geek conference coming up as well. And then the Harris Martin conference, I believe you’re gonna be out there at the end of the month.
Susan B. (0:04:57) – Yeah. Yep. I’m gonna be in, Buffalo on the 27th. Again, Milestone is sponsoring that event. It’s a great lineup. Joe, are you gonna be at the Legal Geek Conference? I might make it out to that one. We’ll see. Good. Yeah. And the Lanier Academy, that’s always an awesome one every year and that’s happening next week. So really excited about that.
Joe F. (0:05:15) – I know in July, the AJ conference is happening.

Susan B. – And then what I’m excited about is in August, the Texas women’s rainmakers that is occurring. Any other ones on your horizon, Joe?

Joe F. – Yeah. Those are some really good ones. AAJ out in Nashville this year. A lot of excitement about that. And then after that, we’re gonna get into the fall season where we have pin PIMCON coming up. I’ll be there. Shades of Mass that we always like to support. And then later in the fall, we have mass tort made perfect (MTMP) and the National Trial Lawyers. So I know I’ll be out there, most of them, so will you. So I hope everybody stop by and says hello.

Susan B. – Yeah. That’s fantastic. Awesome. As always, Joe, thanks so much for spending a little bit of time and and providing the updates on these litigations.

Joe F. – Thanks for having me, Susan.

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