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Looks like New Jersey hosts Elmiron MDL

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Elmiron cases in Multidistrict Litigation looks like they will take place in New Jersey

Newark, NJIt’s a toss-up: whether to send 80 Elmiron vision loss lawsuits to Pennsylvania or New Jersey. Currently the latter seems to be the best bet. Lawyers have so far filed 80 Elmiron lawsuits and they anticipate hundreds more.

Plaintiffs are rooting for the Garden State. On September 23, plaintiffs urged the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to transfer federal litigation to Judge Brian R. Martinotti of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Plaintiffs’ attorney Hunter Shkolnik told Law360 that the Elmiron case is ripe for consolidation before the panel. “Twenty-four actions are pending out-of-state before Judge Martinotti and the Garden State would be an appropriate transferee court for these cases,” he told Law360.

Why New Jersey?

Several reasons.
  • The patients (plaintiffs) own cases were filed in New Jersey federal court, but others are pending in Alabama, Florida and Pennsylvania, reported Law360.
  • The District of New Jersey has handled numerous MDLs and has staff experienced with requisite infrastructure and related support services for managing MDL proceedings.
  • Plaintiffs said New Jersey is “no stranger to complex business legal matters,” having judges who deal with many “complicated illegal corporate enterprise actions that have arisen in the past decade, and it is most suited to deal with this litigation in an expedient manner.”
  • It's conveniently located near three major airports and an Amtrak train hub. It's likewise convenient to Janssen since its HQ is in the state.
  • Movant-Plantiffs have filed several actions in the District of New Jersey—where every defendant conducts substantial business and where many are headquartered, including Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
(A movant makes a motion before a court, and the job of the movant is to convince a judge to rule, or grant an order, in favor of the motion.)

Why Judge Martinotti?

Judge Martinotti would be an "excellent" jurist to manage the litigation given his experience in mass tort litigation during his time on both the federal and state benches, according to the patients (plaintiffs). The judge was nominated to the state court bench in 2002.

Elmiron Failure to Warn

At issue is failure to warn. Only a few months ago—after several actions were already filed in (primarily, New Jersey) federal courts—the Elmiron label was revised to warn of the same vision-related injuries suffered by Plaintiffs. The Elmiron package insert was not revised until June 16, 2020.

Plaintiffs have brought claims under state tort law, and for consumer fraud, negligence, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, common law fraudulent misrepresentation and fraudulent concealment, and loss of consortium. They also seek punitive damages for Defendants’ wrongdoing. In an emailed statement, Janssen claims no wrongdoing and it is reviewing the filing and is “committed to defending the allegations made in these lawsuits."

The MDL Case is MDL No. 2973,  Elmiron (Pentosan Polysulfate Sodium) Products Liability Litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.


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