A Very Busy Day for the JPML
Undoubtedly, today was an interesting day for the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (“JPML”). The panel, which convened at the Gene Snyder U.S. Courthouse in Louisville, Kentucky, heard oral arguments on several high-profile matters. We are eagerly anticipating news on the latest developments in both the Fosamax femur fracture and DePuy Pinnacle hip implant litigations.
Regarding the Fosamax femur fracture litigation, the JPML gathered to hear arguments as to whether pending Fosamax femur fracture lawsuits should be centralized. On March 23, 2011, Merck & Co. filed a petition to consolidate the Fosamax femur fracture lawsuits into an MDL. Specifically, Merck requested that the lawsuits be consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey (where Merck is headquartered) or, in the alternative, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. Merck’s request has been opposed by individual plaintiffs on the grounds that consolidating the Fosamax femur fracture lawsuits into an MDL will complicate and delay their own lawsuits.
The JPML also heard oral arguments as to whether the litigation over the DePuy Pinnacle hip implants should be consolidated into its own MDL or, in the alternative, transferred and included as part of the DePuy ASR hip implant MDL, which is currently underway in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Although the initial motion for consolidation was filed by an individual plaintiff, DePuy concurs that an MDL is appropriate. DePuy claims that there are at least 37 Pinnacle hip lawsuits, spread throughout 18 district courts. However, several other plaintiffs have filed responses, either opposing consolidation or proposing alternate locations. Thus, if the JPML determines that the DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuits should be consolidated, it will then have to determine what venue is appropriate.
Stayed tuned as details from today’s hearings unfold.