Mass Torts – Zantac Case Latest Update
According to a new court order issued on January 25th, 2022, many cancers that were part of the Zantac case have been removed due to the lack of scientific proof. When the mass tort first started, lawyers signed up cases for almost every cancer.
Nonetheless, the plaintiff’s steering committee has been continuously working with experts for a long time now. The experts included several doctors and epidemiologists who conducted many epidemiological studies. These studies found no epidemiological support for the other cancers previously considered for the Zantac settlement.
According to the latest update, only five cancers will now be considered in this litigation, which is now an MDL scheduled to be heard in Miami, Florida. It states – Zantac, a drug used to treat heartburn, leads to stomach cancer in some users. Apart from stomach cancer, the latest list includes bladder cancer, the third is esophageal, the fourth is liver cancer, and the fifth is pancreatic.
The Upsides And Downsides
From a lawyer’s point of view, there’s a downside and an upside to this latest case development. The upside is that now there are fewer claims. At one point, there were hundreds of thousands of claims which now have reduced significantly. Each person with Zantac stomach cancer or the others who qualify for the Zantac case will now receive more compensation.
Ultimately, the whole proceeding intends to help serious injury victims and their families. The people with true cases of merit who have suffered have a better chance of receiving more compensation than they would have earlier.
As for the downside, lawyers who had signed up on hundreds of thousands of mass tort lawsuits will now have to dismiss a huge chunk of these cases. They also must have invested a ton of money in marketing, let alone that they had to spend time working on a case, prosecuting it, for zero benefits. They must pull their socks and rework cases to ensure they’re airtight and en route to victory in the trial scheduled later this year.
How Did It Happen?
During the initial stages of such litigations, large companies that generally occupy the defendant’s position receive time to review and prepare for the case proceedings. Once prepared and ready for presentation, they will be subjected to Daubert hearings. Daubert is a hearing where they determine whether the case submissions are scientifically reliable. In this case, the doctors and the lab experts will testify, and the judge will determine.
After the Daubert hearings are done, the case will go through Bellwether trials. These trials happen when large mass tort cases involve thousands of plaintiffs. Here, the respective officers of the law will pick a set of plaintiffs suing the pharmaceutical companies and develop a typical representative case. Both parties will have to agree on this case and go to trial. In the Zantac case, we’re yet to see how these trials will go.
However, the first order of business after the latest court order would be to dismiss all irrelevant cases initially signed in on the litigation. Anyone who filed suits mentioning cancers other than those mentioned in the court order will lose out on the potential settlement they expected to receive as a part of the Zantac case.
As history has shown us, these cases can end with a verdict that will lead to a settlement worth millions of dollars as compensation or a relatively meager amount. The entire litigation and settlement will depend on how the bellwether trials go.
For example, if the jury finds that grave damage was done due to the ignorance or actions of the defendant, the verdict will order a huge compensation that will likely be near the 100 million ballpark. This will settle all the cases where each claimant will receive amounts according to their plaintiff category.
But if it goes the other way, the judge might pass a verdict where the settlement amount will be relatively a meager amount, like a few hundred thousand, if there’s no causation or other defense reason supported by the jury.
Xanax faced such a scenario where they got to settle their case for very small amounts. But other cases, like with talcum powder, have been settling for relatively large amounts. There was one verdict that included settlements worth over three billion dollars.
In short, the results of this case depend on how the latest proofs and scientific discoveries steer the case in conjunction with the legal expertise that represents your case. So if you have reasons to believe that you might be entitled to receive a settlement, in this case, we recommend you contact an experienced and reputed mass tort lawyer to provide you with guidance and fight on your behalf.