Week Ahead in Products Liability: Aug. 30, 2021


(Reuters) - Here are some upcoming events of interest to the product liability community. All times are local.

Monday, Aug. 30

8:30 a.m. - A discovery hearing is scheduled before Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in San Francisco in the city's lawsuit against drug manufacturers and others over the opioid crisis. Defendants in the case include AbbVie Inc's Allergan, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd and Endo International PLC, and pharmacy operator Walgreen Co. Claims against Johnson & Johnson and the nation's three largest drug wholesalers are stayed pending finalization of a nationwide settlement. The case was selected as a bellwether of about 3,000 lawsuits over opioids pending in a multidistrict litigation in the Northern District of Ohio.

The case is City and County of San Francisco v. Purdue Pharma LP, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 3:18-cv-07591. For San Francisco: Robbins Geller Rudman and Dowd, Elizabeth Cabraser of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein. For Allergan: Zac Byer of Kirkland & Ellis; for Teva: Zack Hill of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; for Endo: Jeremy Kamras of Arnold & Porter; for Walgreens: Joshua Dick of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.

9 a.m. - The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear an appeal by three plaintiffs in the multidistrict litigation over Chinese drywall who say they were deprived of most of their recovery in a class action settlement because the plaintiffs' steering committee in the case mistakenly classified them as claimants against the wrong manufacturer.

The case is Frego et al v. Settlement Class Counsel, 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 20-30596. For appellants: Ed Rowan of Taylor Martino. For class counsel: Stephen Herman of Herman Herman & Katz.

Tuesday, Aug. 31

8 a.m. - An evidentiary hearing is scheduled before U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers in Pensacola, Florida, in multidistrict litigation over 3M Co's Combat arms earplugs. The judge will hear expert testimony on the general scientific reliability of a diagnosis of so-called "hidden hearing loss" that does not show up on standard hearing tests, and will also consider choice of law issues for upcoming bellwether cases. Plaintiffs in the MDL, the largest in U.S. history, allege that they suffered hearing loss or damage as a result of using the plugs.

The case is In re 3M Combat Arms Earplug Products Liability Litigation, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, No. 19-md-2885. For the plaintiffs: Bryan Aylstock of Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz, Shelley Hutson of Clark, Love & Hutson and Chris Seeger of Seeger Weiss. For 3M: Mike Brock of Kirkland & Ellis.

Wednesday, Sept. 1

10 a.m. - U.S. District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan will hear oral arguments over former Rochester Drug Cooperative Inc Chief Executive Laurence Doud's motion to dismiss an indictment accusing him of illegally distributing opioid drugs. Prosecutors said that despite the company's obligations to not ship drugs to pharmacies it knew were dispensing the drugs unlawfully, Doud agreed to ship opioids to pharmacies even when "red flags" existed demonstrating they were diverting them. Doud, who led Rochester from 1991 to 2017, has pleaded not guilty and denied wrongdoing.

The case is U.S. v. Doud, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 19-cr-00285. For the United States: Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alexandra Rothman, Louis Pellegrino, Nicolas Roos and Stephanie Lake. For Doud: Derrelle Janey of Gottlieb & Janey.

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

(CORRECTION: This article has been updated to remove an incorrect entry for a trial in litigation against Remington over the Sandy Hook mass shooting. The trial has been postponed until 2022.)

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