Contaminated Zantac Lawsuits Could be Centralized in Single Federal Court

Published on November 6, 2019 by Sandy Liebhard

Plaintiffs pursuing lawsuits over contaminated Zantac have requested that their claims be centralized before a single judge in one federal jurisdiction.

15 Zantac Lawsuits Pending in Federal Courts Nationwide

According to a Motion for Transfer filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on November 4th, a total of 15 cases have been filed in federal courts around the country arising from the purchase of contaminated Zantac. The lawsuits include six class action complaints that seek economic damages and medical monitoring for consumers who used tainted drugs, as well as nine personal injury claims that blame Zantac for causing various cancers.

A total of 11 defendants are named in the lawsuits, including

  • Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • Chattem, Inc.
  • CVS Health Co.
  • Dollar Tree Stores, Inc.
  • GlaxoSmithKline, LLC
  • GlaxoSmithKline Plc
  • Pfizer, Inc.
  • Publix Supermarkets, Inc.
  • Sanofi S.A.
  • Sanofi U.S. Services, Inc.
  • Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC

All of the Zantac lawsuits similarly allege that:

  • Plaintiffs purchased and used Zantac.
  • Zantac metabolizes in the body to create the carcinogen N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).
  • The quantities of NDMA that plaintiffs were exposed to present a risk of cancer.
  • Defendants knew or should have known that Zantac exposed consumers to NDMA.
  • Defendants concealed from consumers the NDMA-associated dangers posed by Zantac.

In seeking to transfer the pending docket, as well as any other contaminated Zantac lawsuits filed in federal courts in the future, the plaintiff’s argue that centralized pretrial proceedings would allow for streamlined discovery, reduce the potential for inconsistent court rulings, and reduce the inconvenience to the federal judiciary, as well as all parties and witnesses involved in the litigation.

Plaintiffs Want Contaminated Zantac Claims in New Jersey

The motion further proposes that the claims be consolidated in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, asserting that the jurisdiction is geographically convenient and has the resources to handle a large, complex litigation. Plaintiffs also note that two major defendants – Sanofi U.S. Services and Sanofi-Aventis – are headquartered in New Jersey.

If the JPML agrees to centralize federal lawsuits over contaminated Zantac, the cases will undergo coordinated discovery and other pretrial proceedings. However, each will maintain their individual identity throughout the proceeding.

At some point, the Court will select several representative cases for a series of early bellwether trials. Verdicts will help to gauge the strength of plaintiffs’ claims and might provide insight into how other juries might decide similar Zantac lawsuits. In some cases, bellwether trial verdicts also provide a path towards a global settlement that resolves all, or nearly all, lawsuits pending in a multidistrict litigation.

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