In November 2017, counsel for plaintiffs and defendants in the Abilify litigation in New Jersey state court moved to have the litigation designated as a multicounty litigation (MCL).

As the New Jersey judiciary site notes, a “[m]ulticounty litigation may be distinguished from other personal injury claims by several distinct features. First, multicounty litigations involve large numbers of claims that are associated with a single product. Second, despite the number of claimants, there is a commonality of factual and legal issues. Third, there is a value interdependence between the different claims.”

Currently, there are nearly 50 Abilify cases filed in Bergen County in New Jersey Superior Court, but that number is expected to rise over the next few months.

Superior Court Judge James DeLuca has been handling the litigation thus far. Accordingly, the parties have requested that the cases remain with Judge DeLuca for continued case management.

The motion for MCL designation is meant to ensure that any Abilify case filed in New Jersey will be transferred to Judge DeLuca; although no case has been filed outside of Bergen County, to date.

There is already a multidistrict litigation (MDL) designation in the Abilify federal litigation, which is consolidated in Northern District of Florida.

Similar to a MCL, which involves cases from the same state, a MDL involves multiple civil cases pending in different districts (and from different states) that share one or more common questions of fact. Such actions may be transferred to any single district for consolidated pretrial proceedings. The MDL for Abilify was consolidated in October 2016, before U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers.

A decision on the parties’ application for MCL designation of the Abilify litigation in New Jersey is expected within the next couple months.

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