Insights & Events

Extraordinarily Knowledgeable

Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation re-transfers two cases to Aredia®/Zometa® MDL over plaintiffs’ objections.

news | December 3, 2008

On December 3, 2008, the federal Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued an order transferring two actions pending against a Firm client, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NPC), back to the Aredia®/Zometa® MDL over the objections of the plaintiffs. In re: Aredia and Zometa Products Liability Litigation, MDL No., 1760 (J.P.M.L., Dec. 3, 2008).  The two cases had originally been filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, where the MDL is sited.  The plaintiffs and their treating physicians were located on other fora, however.  Chief Judge Todd J. Campbell had previously transferred those two cases (and 29 others) to each plaintiff’s home forum pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) based on the convenience of the parties and the witnesses, but recommended that the cases be transferred back into the MDL under 28 U.S.C. § 1407 for coordinated pre-trial proceedings.  On September 3, 2008, the JPML entered a conditional transfer order retransferring all of the cases to the MDL.  Plaintiffs in two cases objected, arguing that the cases were almost ready for trial and that trial would occur more expeditiously if the cases remained in the plaintiffs’ home fora rather than being transferred back to the MDL. The JPML stated in response:

we are sympathetic to this concern; however, inclusion of the present claims in MDL NO. 1760 will have the salutary effect of placing all related claims in this docket before a single judge who can formulate a pretrial program that (1) prevents repetition of previously considered matters; and (2) allows pretrial proceedings with respect to any individual issues to proceed concurrently with pretrial proceedings on common issues.

Accordingly, the JPML transferred the actions to the MDL court for continued pre-trial coordination.

The MDL coordinating cases involving Aredia® and/or Zometa® was assigned to Chief Judge Campbell by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on April 18, 2006.  Hollingsworth LLP is counsel to Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.