As we previously reported, the United States Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (MDL) met on Wednesday, March 30, 2011, in San Diego, CA, to hear arguments regarding whether the Darvocet and Darvon federal cases should be given MDL treatment. One of the main sources of contention among the parties is where to centralize the cases. The proposed locations include: the Eastern District of New York, the Northern District of Illinois, the Eastern District of Louisiana, the Western District of Louisiana, the Southern District of Ohio and the Eastern District of Kentucky.
On April 11, 2011, the Panel announced that it needed more time to consider the arguments for and against consolidating the federal cases. A decision is now not expected until after a July 2011, hearing where additional arguments are expected to be made. The Panel noted that plaintiff, Karen Esposito, who filed the initial motion for consolidation back in December 2010, alleged four actions against defendant, Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals. However, since Esposito’s filing, there are an additional eighteen (18) alleged actions involving more than a dozen defendants. These additional defendants have not had an opportunity to comment on whether the cases should be consolidated.
Judge John G. Heyburn II, chairman of the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation advised that, “Consideration of this Section 1407 motion so soon after a handful of actions were filed, where the contours of the litigation are in flux, leaves the Panel with less than ideal information to make the best possible decision. This is a potentially complex case. Our desire to make the most informed possible decision counsels further deliberation.” In the interim, the Panel has advised that the cases can continue in the transferor courts.