Although the Fosamax litigation pending before Judge Carol E. Higbee in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Atlantic County contains both Fosamax femur fracture lawsuits and Fosamax osteonecrosis of the jaw (“ONJ”) lawsuits, during a May 26, 2011 status conference it was clear that Judge Higbee is cognizant of the fact that there are different and unique facets of the respective Fosamax litigations.  Although the Fosamax litigations were consolidated to promote judicial efficiency, Judge Higbee is mindful that given the distinct aspects to both the Fosamax femur fracture cases and the ONJ cases, they both deserve separate considerations.  For instance, the Fosamax lawsuits have different causation issues and are in different phases of the litigation process. Unlike the Fosamax femur fracture cases, one out of the 185 ONJ lawsuits has already gone to trial.  Moreover, trial dates were actively negotiated for several other ONJ cases pending before Judge Higbee.  During the hearing, Judge Higbee urged counsel involved in the ONJ cases to agree to trial dates in December 2011 and February 2012.  It is expected that four of the ONJ cases will be tried during this period.  Additionally, Judge Higbee stressed the importance of expediting the ONJ litigation because she would like the Fosamax femur fracture trials to commence early next spring.  She also urged defense counsel to streamline the process of producing documents by simultaneously searching for both femur fracture and ONJ documents.

Currently, there are 167 Fosamax femur fracture cases pending in New Jersey.  During the hearing, Judge Higbee established an anticipated timeline for the progression of the Fosamax femur fracture lawsuits.  Judge Higbee informed counsel that she would like to try a group, or at the very least, one of the Fosamax femur fracture lawsuits next spring.  In order to accomplish this goal, she stressed the importance of expediting the discovery process.  She made clear that New Jersey has very broad discovery rules, and reiterated that relevancy is not a basis for withholding documents.  Clearly, Judge Higbee does not want discovery to stall the process.  Moreover, it is expected that plaintiffs in the Fosamax femur fracture lawsuits will begin being deposed in August 2011, and that their physicians will follow this coming September and October.  If all goes according to plan, the Fosamax femur fracture lawsuits will be ready for trial in early 2012.

Stay tuned for further developments as they arise in both the federal and state Fosamax femur fracture lawsuits.

Published June 15, 2011 by