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In a new order that will certainly simplify the process of filing Zofran birth defect lawsuits, the Honorable F. Dennis Saylor has allowed new Plaintiffs to file their claims directly in the US District Court of Massachusetts.

Direct Filing In Zofran MDL Allowed, But Families Still Face Hurdles

Rather than filing in the federal courts of their own states, families can now join the MDL from the beginning. The order, Saylor’s 6th to streamline the consolidated litigation, will eliminate significant legal red tape, saving time both for individual parents and the process as a whole.

Plaintiffs will, however, still have to act as though they were filing in a different federal court.

In order to file directly in the US District Court of Massachusetts, where more than 200 Zofran lawsuits are already pending, families must specify the district court in which they would have filed suit, had the court not approved direct filing.

That means plaintiffs’ attorneys will have to come up with a well-reasoned argument to justify that other venue, even though their cases aren’t really being filed there. If the court finds a problem with that argument, the family will be given 30 days to amend the complaint and resubmit it.

Glaxo Can’t Challenge Directly Filed Lawsuits On Venue – Yet

For the time being, GlaxoSmithKline won’t be able to challenge any lawsuits filed directly in Massachusetts on the grounds of venue.

For civil cases, the proper “venue” is usually the district court closest to where the defendant is located or where the relevant events occurred. Saylor has done away with that requirement, but only for the length of the MDL. After pre-trial proceedings are complete, Glaxo will be able to challenge a lawsuit’s venue. The order is clear that allowing a case to be filed directly in Boston isn’t an admission from the court that Massachusetts is the proper venue for that case.

You Can Keep Your Attorney

Plaintiffs will not be required to find local counsel in Massachusetts. Attorneys admitted to practice before any US District Court will be allowed to appear before the Boston court, without jumping through any of the normal hoops that can make that difficult.

Lawyers will be subject to the rules of the US District Court of Massachusetts, not the courts where they are technically licensed to practice.

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