Every Zofran lawsuit filed in a US federal court was sent to Boston, Massachusetts on October 13, 2015, and signs suggest that this “fast-tracking” of the birth defect litigation will indeed speed things up.
As of this publication, nearly 160 lawsuits have been “consolidated,” grouped together to meet their initial goals, in Boston, but hundreds more are expected in the coming months. With their claims now part of a Multi-District Litigation, or MDL, plaintiffs and their attorneys will proceed together through the all-important steps before trial.
Once Quiet, Boston Court Makes First Official Zofran Announcements
But the US District Court for Massachusetts, where the lawsuits have landed, has been surprisingly reticent in the month since the Zofran litigation became an MDL. The court’s website has yet to update its roster of active MDLs with the case’s official title: In Re: Zofran (Ondansetron) Products Liability Litigation.
Insiders to the litigation however, including our own Michael Monheit, Esq., say the Court has already issued 5 orders. These official pronouncements come straight from F. Dennis Saylor IV, the Federal District Court Judge appointed to preside over the Zofran MDL.
1. Establish A Master Docket
Saylor’s first order set up a master file and docket for the MDL. This document will record each case as it is filed, along with short descriptions of new developments in the MDL, allowing attorneys, plaintiffs and members of the public to follow the litigation’s progress.
We’ll report on these details as they emerge.
2. Lawyers Can Learn More, Via Phone
Keeping with the practical theme of any early litigation, Saylor next allowed plaintiffs’ attorneys to join in status conference calls by phone.
These status conferences will be important, enabling every plaintiffs’ attorney, no matter where they are, to gauge the progress of individual claims, some of which may already be subject to rulings. Saylor could also notify attorneys of new case filings during the call.
Since the vast majority of Zofran lawsuits weren’t initially filed in Massachusetts, this seems an appropriate choice.
3. Plaintiffs Get Lead & Liaison Counsel
With nearly 160 lawsuits already consolidated, and many more on the way, there will be a lot of plaintiffs’ attorneys involved in the Zofran MDL.
To streamline things, the Court has announced both lead and liaison counsel who will take the helm and guide the litigation for the parents and children who are suing GlaxoSmithKline.
Both Robert Jenner, Esq. and Elizabeth Graham, Esq., who have joined Monheit Law to investigate new lawsuits, made the list. You can learn more about Monheit Law’s coalition of lawyers pursuing Zofran birth defect lawsuits here.
4. GlaxoSmithKline Doesn’t Have To Say Anything – Yet
Usually, Defendants in a case have a certain amount of time to respond to a complaint, the initial document of a lawsuit that outlines a Plaintiff’s allegations.
Instead of specifying a deadline for GlaxoSmithKline’s response, Judge Saylor issued an order that will stay “responsive pleadings.” In other words, the company won’t have to respond to any complaints until the practical framework that will guide proceedings is in place.
5. Legal Representatives Can “Stand In” For Their Clients
In its fifth order, the Court outlined the process for lawyers to “enter their appearance.” Once an attorney is acknowledged as a client’s representative by the Court, she or he will be able to appear without the client actually being present.
Like Saylor’s authorization of status conference calls, this is an important step since most Plaintiffs aren’t residents of Massachusetts.
As always, we’ll be bringing you the latest Zofran updates right here, so check back soon.
If you or a loved one gave birth to a child with birth defects after being prescribed Zofran or its generic equivalent, contact our experienced lawyers today for a free consultation. Just call 1-877-621-4809 to learn more about filing a Zofran lawsuit.