Week Ahead in Health: Aug. 23, 2021

(Blank Headline Received)

Here are some upcoming events of interest to the health community. All times are local.

Monday, Aug. 23

10 a.m. – Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma will present its closing arguments in favor of its plan to exit bankruptcy, which rests on a settlement resolving thousands of lawsuits accusing it of fueling the national opioid crisis.

The case is In re Purdue Pharma LP, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 19-bk-23649.

For Purdue: Marshall Huebner of Davis Polk & Wardwell.

2 p.m. - An administrative law judge at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is scheduled to preside at a pretrial conference in the agency's antitrust case against Illumina Inc. over its $7.1 billion acquisition of cancer-test detection company Grail Inc. FTC regulators contend Grail technology relies on Illumina's DNA sequencing and a merger would impede others from entering the market. Lobbying teams at the firms Sidley Austin and DLA Piper have pressed U.S. officials to back the merger.

The case is In the Matter of Illumina Inc and Grail Inc, Federal Trade Commission Office of Administrative Law Judges, Docket No. 9401.

For the government: Susan Musser and Wells Harrell of the FTC.

For Illumina: Christine Varney and Richard Stark of Cravath, Swaine & Moore.

For Grail: Michael Egge and Marguerite Sullivan of Latham & Watkins.

Tuesday, Aug. 24

10 a.m. – Johnson & Johnson will fight an attempt by personal injury claimants to prevent it from shifting its talc liabilities into a new entity that would then be placed in bankruptcy. The claimants are seeking an injunction through another talc-related company’s bankruptcy.

The case is Imerys Talc America Inc., U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, No. 19-10289.

For the tort claimants: Rachel Strickland of Willkie Farr & Gallagher.

For J&J: Diane Sullivan of Weil Gotshal & Manges.

12:00 p.m. - A remote hearing is scheduled before Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis in Waterbury, Connecticut in a case against gun maker Remington Arms Co brought by family members of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 26 people died. The company last month offered $33 million to settle the nine families' claims. The plaintiffs have said their wrongful death claims likely totaled more than $225 million, with punitive damages potentially pushing the total over $1 billion.

The case is Soto et al v. Bushmaster Firearms International LLC et al, Connecticut Superior Court, Judicial District of Waterbury, No. UWYCV156050025S.

For plaintiffs: Josh Koskoff of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder.

For Remington: Jeffrey Mueller of Day Pitney.

Wednesday, Aug. 25

9:00 a.m. - Professional golf instructor Mark Blackburn will urge the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Montgomery, Alabama to revive his lawsuits alleging that Shire US Inc's Crohn's disease drug Lialda caused him to develop kidney failure. Blackburn claims that Shire, which was bought by Takeda Pharmaceutical Co in 2019, should have recommended regular kidney function tests with the drug, and argues that U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala in the Northern District of Alabama wrongly applied the learned intermediary doctrine in concluding that his doctor would not have followed such a recommendation.

The case is Blackburn v. Shire US Inc et al, 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 20-12258.

For Blackburn: Jonathan Waller of Waller Law Office.

For Shire: Jeffrey Peck of Ulmer & Berne.

9:30 a.m. - Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Jerry Garguilo will hold a hearing on whether to hold Endo International Plc in contempt for failing to provide New York and two of its counties with more information about late-produced discovery in their lawsuit over the drugmaker's alleged role in the opioid epidemic. Garguilo is also weighing whether to enter default judgment against Endo over the late productions, which came mid-trial and include internal communications and records about its sales representatives' visits to New York doctors. The company previously settled a lawsuit by a group of counties in Tennessee after a judge there entered default judgment against it on similar grounds.

The case is In Re Opioid Litigation, Suffolk Supreme Court, No. 400000/2017.

For Suffolk County: Jayne Conroy of Simmons Hanly Conroy.

For Nassau County: Hunter Shkolnik of Napoli Shkolnik.

For New York: John Oleske of the New York Attorney General's office.

For Endo: James Herschlein of Arnold & Porter; Hank Bullock of Mayer Brown; Jonathan Redgrave of Redgrave.

Thursday, Aug. 26

9:00 a.m. - A discovery hearing is scheduled via videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in Oakland, California in litigation over claims that Gilead Sciences Inc's HIV drugs Viread, Truvada, Atripla, Complera and Stribild cause damage to patients' kidneys and bones. Plaintiffs allege that Gilead was aware the products were unsafe but concealed the risk from consumers while making billions from the drugs.

The case is Holley v. Gilead Sciences Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 18-cv-06972.

For plaintiffs: Steve Berman of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro.

For Gilead: Debra Pole of Sidley Austin.

Friday, Aug. 27

2:00 p.m. - A status conference is scheduled via videoconference before Chief District Judge Nancy Rosenstengel in East St. Louis, Illinois in the recently consolidated multidistrict litigation over the widely used commercial herbicide paraquat, marketed by ChemChina's Syngenta Group under the brand name Gramoxone and previously sold in partnership with Chevron. Plaintiffs allege the chemical, which is banned in many countries, caused them to develop Parkinson's Disease. Around 150 cases have been consolidated before Rosenstengel.

The case is In re Paraquat Products Liability Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois, No. 21-md-03004.

For plaintiffs: Khaldoun Baghdadi of Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger; Sarah Shoemake Doles of Carey Danis & Lowe, Peter Flowers of Meyers & Flowers.

For Syngenta: Ragan Naresh of Kirkland & Ellis.

For Chevron: Jason Levin of Steptoe & Johnson.

Know of an event that could be included in Week Ahead in Health? Contact Brendan Pierson at brendan.pierson@thomsonreuters.com

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Brendan Pierson reports on product liability litigation and on all areas of health care law. He can be reached at brendan.pierson@thomsonreuters.com.