In May 2018, Judge M. Casey Rogers, who is overseeing the federal Abilify litigation, entered an Order to establish the “initial parameters by which the global mediation of this matter will proceed.” The parties were given 120 days (from May 1, 2018 until September 1, 2018) to finalize the framework for a mediation process. A Special Master has been appointed to assist the parties with the process.

Meanwhile, in tandem with the potential mediation process, the parties are also moving forward with the selection of a second round of bellwether cases to work up for trial in the federal litigation.

Accordingly, the Court will randomly select 100 cases by July 6, 2018. From there, the pool will be further narrowed to 40 individuals, claiming either Bipolar Disorder or Major Depressive Disorder/Depression as the diagnosis leading to their Abilify prescription and “Gambling” as an obsessive/compulsive/impulsive behavior they claim was caused by Abilify. Once the pool is reduced to 40 cases, the parties will engage in a discovery process to further reduce the pool to 10 cases by the end of 2018.

The Court is currently leaning towards the possibility of consolidating some of the cases for trial.

Visit our site for more information about the Abilify lawsuit and settlement options.

This month, the New Jersey Supreme Court designated the Abilify litigation in New Jersey a multicounty litigation (MCL). The Notice and Order can be found here: https://www.njcourts.gov/notices/2018/n180510b.pdf.

Though Bergen County Superior Court Judge James DeLuca had been overseeing all of the Abilify cases filed in New Jersey, those cases will now be transferred to Atlantic County Superior Court for centralized management by Judge Nelson C. Johnson. Accordingly, all future Abilify complaints filed in New Jersey Superior Court, no matter where they might be venued, shall be filed in Atlantic County. While Judge Johnson will oversee management and trial issues for the New Jersey Abilify MCL cases, he may, in his discretion, return the cases to the original county of venue for disposition.

The MCL will be litigated in parallel with the multidistrict litigation (MDL) that has been pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida, before Judge M. Casey Rodgers, since October 2016. Plaintiffs are cautiously optimistic about the MCL designation and the latest developments in the MDL, including Defendants recently settling the three cases set for initial trials this summer in the MDL, for undisclosed amounts (such representative cases that are worked up for trial are known as “bellwether” cases).

Visit our site for more information about the Abilify lawsuit and settlement options.

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.

Continue Reading New Jersey Abilify Cases: Parties Move for MCL Designation