April 15, 2022 Update: The Zantac class action lawsuit MDL judge issued Pretrial Order # 75. This order modifies the role of the Special Master appointed to the MDL. The new duties reflect the Court’s recognition that the focus of the litigation has shifted from causation discovery to expert discovery and bellwether trial preparation. The first Zantac class action lawsuit is set to go to trial on October 10, 2022. So now the Special Master will focus primarily on the efficient resolution of expert witness disputes.
March 29, 2022 Update: This week, the Magistrate Judge in the Zantac MDL (Hon. Bruce Reinhart) granted the defendant’s motion requesting additional time to take the depositions of several key causation experts for the plaintiffs. These are big depositions. These are key experts on causation linking the NDMA in Zantac to the five cancers that remain in the MDL. Our Zantac lawyers have long believed that if these cases go to trial, plaintiffs will win. The key is getting to trial. Judge Reinhart gave the defendants five additional hours for the deposition of Dr. Anne McTiernan and three additional hours each for four other causation experts.
March 10, 2022 Update: On March 8, Zantac MDL Judge Robin Rosenberg issued an order making membership changes and new appointments of attorneys to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC), Leadership Development Committee (LDC). The judge also, for the first time, named Co-Lead Counsel and Liaison Counsel. Most of the changes and appointments were based on recommendations to the court from the Co-Lead Counsel. Nine new members were added to the PSC, including all five members of the original LDC who were elevated. The LDC was filled with a new slate of 12 appointments of younger, less experienced MDL lawyers.
February 21, 2022 Update: The next major step in the Zantac class action lawsuit is the selection of the candidate pool for the initial bellwether cases. Plaintiffs' lawyers filed a motion asking the MDL class action judge to enter an order that will take steps to protect confidential information in the medical records of these bellwether candidate plaintiffs. Specifically, the motion seeks to have all information regarding mental health, sexual abuse, and substance abuse redacted from the medical records produced for these potential bellwether plaintiffs.
February 5, 2022 Update: Defense lawyers often grasp at straws. GlaxoSmithKline wanted to perform discover on Valisure LLC. This is the independent pharmacy that first detected the NDMA levels in Zantac. Blaming the messenger, GlaxoSmithKline argues that the lab generated "false lab results for the purpose of furthering its financial interests and the financial interests of potential litigants, their lawyers, and their litigation funders.”
This is pure folly. The jury will decide whether Zantac caused a plaintiff's cancer, not the Valisure pharmacy data. The U.S. District Court Judge Bruce E. Reinhart, who is overseeing much of the discovery in the class action Zantac lawsuit, denied Glaxo's request.
February 1, 2022 Update: A Zantac lawsuit has been filed in just over 2,000 cases. Tens of thousands of other Zantac claims have been preserved through an agreement with the filing of a Zantac lawsuit with defense lawyers and the MDL judge.
January 25, 2022 Update: The number of types of cancers in the MDL Zantac class action lawsuit has been officially cut back to the five cancer types we have listed above. Our lawyers saw this coming and tightened our law firm's eligibility requirements last year.
January 20, 2022 Update: The MDL class action judge in the Zantac lawsuit held a “science day” last month. Lawyers for both sides got an opportunity to educate the court about the technical and scientific evidence in the litigation. Doctors can explain the The Zantac science day was held on December 2nd and 3rd and featured presentations in a non-adversarial format. The presentations were designed to help the court better understand some of the scientific concepts and study statistics regarding the link between NDMA in Zantac and various types of cancer.
December 3, 2021 Update: The MDL judge approved the plan for selecting “bellwether” cases from pending Zantac lawsuits. Zantac cases will be categorized according to the type of cancer alleged by the plaintiff. Then 25 cases will be randomly selected from each cancer type group. Initially there were ten cancer type groups, but the Plaintiffs’ Leadership Counsel has advised that they will not be litigating breast or kidney cancer cases, which leaves only eight cancer types. So 25 Zantac cancer lawsuits will be randomly selected by a computer from each cancer type group to create an initial pool of 200 cases. These 200 lawsuits will then go through a fact discovery and vetting process to eliminate cases that do not meet certain eligibility criteria. This vetting process will be completed by August 1, 2022 and bellwether Zantac trials will be selected from the remaining cases in the pool.]
November 17, 2021 Update: The total number of filed MDL Zantac cancer lawsuits as of November 15, 2021, is 1,777. But over 80,000 census forms have been filled out at last count. (This is the result of a tolling agreement that pushes back the statute of limitations if you properly register your claim.)
November 15, 2021 Update: The MDL judge ruled for the plaintiff in a motion to dismiss the medical monitoring Zantac MDL class action. These claims are for victims who do not have cancer but are at increased risk for cancer. The premise of these Zantac lawsuits is that a diagnostic testing regime is needed for people that do not have cancer but need cancer detection screening because of the increased risk caused by NDMA. This ruling has no direct impact on cancer victims bringing a Zantac lawsuit because NDMA was a substantial contributing cause to their developing cancer. But it is may be a harbinger of things to come in terms of the MDL judges view of this litigation generally. So this is a good sign.
In addition to the Zantac cases in the federal court MDL, there are also hundreds of Zantac lawsuits in state courts in California that have been consolidated into a JCCP (California’s state court equivalent of an MDL).
Last week, the judge in the Zantac JCCP announced that the opening bellwether trial will begin in October 2022, with a second test trial to follow shortly after. This puts real pressure on the defendants to offer a reasonable settlement amount in the Zantac lawsuit or run a real risk. If plaintiffs' lawyers win the first case in the heartburn medication litigation for victims - as we expect - settlement compensation expectations for both victims and plaintiffs' attorneys will soar.
August 18, 2021 Update: This is not good news. The MDL judge dismissed all the Zantac lawsuits involving generic or store brand versions of Zantac.
Truth be told, most Zantac lawyers saw this ruling coming. The judge dismissed these claims because she believes they are preempted by federal law. This is a brutal blow for users of generic ranitidine who are now being told that even if the drug caused their cancer, they do not have a claim. That is a tragedy.
There is a silver lining, if you can call it that. This ruling, assuming it holds up on appeal, streamlines the Zantac litigation considerably. Plaintiffs' attorneys can file an appeal while now having more time to drill down on Glaxo, Sanofi, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Pfizer and prepare the scientific case to get these cases to a jury.