Upcoming Trial Dates
The Zantac class action lawsuit against California manufacturers is the first suit to officially schedule a trial date. The date to start trial for the California Ranitidine Product Cases JCCP 5150 is set for October 10, 2022 in the Superior Court of Alameda in Judge Evelio Grillo’s courtroom.
Further good news is that efforts to stop the Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) in West Palm Beach, Florida failed in October of 2021. This means that over 800 cases that are pending before U.S. District Court Judge Robin Rosenberg in Florida have been permitted to proceed.
As of May 2022, the MDL is in the final stages of the bellwether trial selection. Bellwether trials are basically “test” cases in mass tort litigation cases where hundreds or thousands of plaintiffs are involved. Bellwether cases are necessary because when you have such a large number of claimants making similar, almost identical claims, it is impossible for every one of their cases to go to trial.
The word bellwether comes from medieval England. Shepherds would often attach a bell around the neck of a ram known as the “wether”. The wether would be the ram who leads the flock of sheep. This way the shepherds could always track their flocks and know where their sheep were at any given time. Today the term bellwether is applied to people or things who are used as an indicator or predictor of something. Bellwether cases are a small number of sample cases that go to trial. The judgment in the bellwether cases gives all of the claimants in the mass tort litigation an idea of what the outcome of their cases would be if they had gone to trial. The results are then used by the attorneys on both sides to guide their settlement negotiations.
Only a very small number of cases will be selected as bellwether cases. Bellwether cases will continue to be heard until there has been a good representative sample of cases heard to make it fair for both sides. Once the bellwether cases have been decided, a global settlement number can be reached for all of the claimants in the litigation.
Currently the MDL bellwether cases are starting on Daubert challenges to expert testimony on causation. A Daubert challenge comes from the Supreme Court’s decision in the Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. case that was decided in 1993. The Daubert case lays out the standard that a court uses to evaluate whether or not an expert can testify in a case.
The Daubert challenges occurring now are seeking to have the court stop a potential expert witness from talking about a causation because of the claim that the expert does not have the knowledge to talk about that topic. According to the Court’s Order 77, entered May 12, 2022, the plaintiffs in the case have until July 6, 2022, to enter any Daubert motions.
The Court, on May 12, 2022, also issued Order 78. Order 78 stops a plaintiff from stopping or amending the lawsuit against the Zantac manufacturers after June 1, 2022, without getting the Court’s approval. This is also good news for claimants as it means that the lawsuit is accepted as it is in its current state and will not be changed going forward. The suit is getting that much closer to proceeding.
Both the Daubert and Amendment Orders are normal at this point in the trial process. The lawyers on your case expected them and are aware of them. These Orders should not cause you to worry. The trial is progressing as expected.
If you have any questions about your trial specifically, and how the May 2022 update can affect it, please do not hesitate to reach out to the attorneys at Van Law Firm for further assistance or explaination. Also, if you or a loved one has developed cancer after taking Zantac (ranitidine) call us today for a free consultation.