Judge Rosenberg, the Justice Presiding over the Florida Federal Zantac Multi-District Litigation, has entered an order setting a deadline for claimants wishing to participate in the Zantac MDL. The deadline to file a short-form complaint and be added to the Zantac MDL registry is June 30th, 2022. The purpose of this deadline is to finalize the list of claimants involved in the MDL so that the Bellwether trials can move forward. The selection process for those trials has already begun.
The registry was created by the court as well as the short-form complaint in September of 2020. Thus, claimants have had almost 2 years to come forward and file their claims.
Zantac Trial Selection Process
In large or “Mass” tort cases where thousands of individuals have been allegedly affected by a product, cases are often consolidated into one court for efficiency. A short-form complaint may be created so that plaintiff’s claims can be added to the list without having to reiterate the same claims that have been alleged by thousands of others. This makes it easier for both sides since the defense also do not have to file a separate answer to each and every complaint this way.
Once a list of claimants is compiled and a filing deadline date passes, they can then move forward with Bellwether trials. Bellwether trials are simply individual cases that have been selected by designated representatives of the plaintiffs and designated representatives of the defendants (known as “steering committees”). The cases will represent a cross-section of cases with different but similar claims. The purpose of the Bellwether trials is to help both sides evaluate the factors that make a certain claim more or less likely to succeed and to help put a settlement value on the claims.
In the meantime, before the trials begin, discovery will be conducted and evidence unearthed by both sides. There will be motions challenging evidence filed. If the defense successfully challenges a critical element of all or some of the cases, they could potentially have cases tossed out before they ever get to trial. Once the discovery process ends 9as will be set by the Court) the trials can begin.
What This Means for Claimants
If you have retained counsel and filed a claim, then you are now just waiting to see what will come of the motions and Bellwether trials. If you have not yet filed a claim, you should be talking to a Zantac class action lawyer immediately to learn your rights. After the deadline passes, you may be barred by the statute of limitations to file a claim or you may be left to file your own individual case in state court. The problem with trying to file a single individual claim is that the cost of litigating a single claim is a major deterrent to a lawyer taking the case. They are handled in large groups or “mass” as a means of disbursing millions of dollars in costs across multiple cases. The inability to do that in a single case often makes it too costly to pursue.