Litigation Update: Zantac MDL Procedures Are Announced

On April 1, 2020, the FDA requested the recall of all ranitidine heartburn medication products (commonly known by the brand name Zantac) because of the risks posed by NDMA contamination in some samples tested. Last week, Judge Robin L. Rosenberg, who is presiding over the MDL involving this drug currently venued in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District, issued Pretrial Orders #15 and 16 outlining the procedures for filing claims in the litigation.

PTO #15, the Order on Procedures for Implementing Census, filed on April 2, established the initial census process to be used to assist in case management.  It governs the form and schedule for service of an Initial Census Form (ICF) for all cases currently filed or transferred into the MDL as well as the unfiled but retained clients of applicants to leadership positions in the litigation.  PTO #15 also provides deadlines for the ICF submissions.

The PTO also provides for a Census Plus Form (CPF) to be submitted by all plaintiffs with filed cases as well as a Census Registry Program for unfiled claims.  The Registry program is not required but is encouraged in the Order and comes with certain benefits to those firms that register unfiled cases.

PTO #16 filed on April 3 is an Order Rescheduling the Initial Conference (to May 12, 2020), Establishing an “April Deliverables Team” and Scheduling Interviews for Applicants for Leadership Positions (on May 6 and 7, 2020).  The April Deliverables Team consisting of Mark Dearman, Marlene Goldenberg, Fred Longer, Jennifer Moore, and Conlee Whitely have been tasked with working with the previously appointed Practices and Procedures and Census Teams to prepare for the Initial Conference and to implement the work set forth in the Order.  Additional attorneys named to assist in this effort are Robert Gilbert, Mike McGlamry, Fred Longer, Jennifer Moore, Mikal Watts, Tracey Finken, Daniel Nigh and Adam Pulaski.

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Guidelines for the litigation have now been established and they provide an optional resource for the gathering of claimant data and submission of that information into the document repository of the MDL which is required if your firm wants to participate in the census registry program. As always, firms can seek assistance from other litigation support providers in order to submit the required information into the census plus registry.

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