Judge Cecchi Refuses Defendants’ Plea to Bifurcate the PPI Litigation

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The plaintiffs and defendants involved in Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) kidney injury litigation submitted contradicting proposals last month on how to proceed with the multidistrict litigation (MDL) witnessing a growing number of lawsuits. While the defendant PPI manufacturers AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, Procter & Gamble Co., McKesson Corp., Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., and Pfizer Inc. wanted the cases to be handled in two phases, the plaintiffs wanted a fast-track proceeding leading to a bellwether program with trial dates set for early 2020. In a case management order issued by Judge Cecchi on May 18, the defendant’s request was rejected and the parties were ordered to meet and discuss as per the plan proposed by the plaintiffs.

Both the parties are scheduled to discuss how to proceed with the federal MDL in a status conference on May 24. The next status conference is on June 12 for which both parties are required to submit a status report and an agenda by June 8.

The PPI litigation is centralized in the District of New Jersey as MDL No. 2789 (In Re:  Proton-Pump Inhibitor Products Liability Litigation [No. II]), presided over by Judge Cecchi. Lawsuits mainly involve Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix, Prevacid drugs that were prescribed to treat heartburn and acid reflux in the stomach. About 4,200 product liability cases are filed in this MDL, each lawsuit alleging that the drug makers failed to warn about the fatal side-effects like kidney failure due to prolonged use of PPI.

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