Florida federal court denies plaintiffs' motions to consolidate cases for pretrial purposes in Aredia®/Zometa® litigation.
M.D. Fla. -- United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida
Toxic Torts & Products Liability
On August 28, 2014, Judge John Steele of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida denied plaintiffs Kathy Sherman’s and Joseph Campese’s motions to consolidate two cases for pretrial purposes. Both plaintiffs allege that treatment with defendant Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation’s (“Novartis”) drugs Aredia® and/or Zometa® caused osteonecrosis of the jaw (“ONJ”). Sherman v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., No. 2:14-cv-173, 2014 WL 4252275 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 28, 2014); Campese v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., No. 2:14-cv-205, 2014 WL 4252275 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 28, 2014).
Judge Steele found that though “[c]ounsel in both cases are the same, many of the experts that may be used will be the same, and both cases involve bisphosphonate drugs . . .ultimately the damages at issue are unique, and the cases will be tried separately.” Doc. No. 37, at 3; Doc. No. 43, at 3. Judge Steele went on to encourage the parties to coordinate efforts where possible, but concluded “consolidation will not promote the advancement of the cases.” Id. These are the third and fourth decisions won by Novartis in the Middle District of Florida that reject a plaintiff’s request for consolidation. See also Guenther v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., No. 6:08-cv-00456, 2012 WL 5398219, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Oct. 12, 2012), adopted in full, 2012 WL 5305995, at *1 (M.D. Fla. Oct. 29, 2012); Dopson-Troutt v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., No. 8:06-cv-1708, 2012 WL 7659710, at *1 (M.D. Fla. Oct. 16, 2012) (both denying consolidation for both pre-trial and trial purposes).
These cases were part of the ongoing Aredia® and Zometa® multidistrict litigation, In re: Aredia® and Zometa® Prods. Liab. Litig., No. 3:06-MD- 01760 (TJC) (M.D. Tenn.), and had been remanded to the District of Columbia and District of Minnesota and then transferred to the Middle District of Florida for further pretrial proceedings and trial. Novartis has received complete defense verdicts in nine cases, won 65 cases on summary judgment, and obtained dismissal of over 300 other cases in the Aredia®/Zometa® federal and state consolidated litigations.
Novartis is represented in this matter by Firm partner Heather A. Pigman.