The first bellwether trial is expected to begin on November 15, 2021 (initially set for September) with additional trials expected to follow in early 2022.
According to the case management order issued by Judge Cecchi in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, the number of Bellwether Discovery Cases were reduced in early December to nine bellwether discovery cases, along with a "soft cap" of four depositions per side in each case. Judge Cecchi first ordered both sides of the PPI class action lawsuit to select 20 representative cases for a discovery pool.
Bellwether Trial Case Selection
The process for selecting which cases will go to trial is as follows:
- The Plaintiffs' Steering Committed (PSC) will select 1 case from among its picks and 1 case from among defense picks
- The defendants will collectively select 1 case from among their picks and 1 case from among PSC’s picks;
- Special Master Ellen Reisman will select 2 cases --one case chosen by plaintiffs and one originally picked by defendants, based on claims that are most representative of other cases pending in the litigation.
- The parties and Special Master Ellen Reisman will inform the Court of their selections on or before January 29, 2021, which selection shall be subject to the approval of the Court.
- The six selected Bellwether Trial Cases will then undergo preparation for trial, including additional fact discovery, expert discovery, and dispositive and trial-related motion practice.
More than 15,000 PPI lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers of the heartburn and acid-reflux drugs, including prescription versions of Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix and Dexilant and over-the-counter Prilosec OTC, Nexium 24HR and Prevacid 24HR.
Of the manufacturers, AstraZeneca was sued in most of the actions, followed by Proctor & Gamble, Takeda and Pfizer.
Manufacturers and their Brands Included in PPI Lawsuits
The following are the proton pump inhibitor manufacturers and the brands they each make:
AstraZeneca - Nexium and Prilosec
Takeda - Dexilant and Prevacid
Proctor & Gamble - Prilosec OTC
Pfizer - Prontonix
READ MORE PROTON PUMP INHIBITOR GASTRIC CANCER LEGAL NEWS
In August 2017 a judicial panel combined almost 14,000 PPI claims pending in federal court (out of 15,164 cases filed) into a multidistrict litigation, or MDL. About two years later that number of lawsuits tripled and became the second-largest mass litigation in the U.S. And attorneys expect the MDL could include thousands more claims because of PPI widespread use and consumers have learned about the link between PPIs and kidney problems.
Attorneys also say PPI cases in the early bellwether trials will be closely watched by all parties as it will gauge how juries will likely respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated in future claims.