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MDL court grants Summary Judgment in four first-wave Zometa cases; Case No. 3:08-1157 (Anderson), Case No. 3:08-1156 (Melau), Case No. 3:06-0377 (Thomas).

Case No. 3:08-1157, Anderson.

In the first wave of cases in the In re Aredia and Zometa Products Liability Litigation, Chief Judge Todd Campbell of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee granted summary judgment for firm client Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (“NPC”) on August 13, 2009 in a pharmaceutical products liability lawsuit filed by a renal cancer patient. (Click here to view the Memorandum.) Judge Campbell granted NPC’s Daubert motion to exclude the treating health care providers’ opinions regarding specific causation. That left plaintiff without admissible expert testimony on this important element of his claims and resulted in summary judgment for NPC. As an alternative basis for granting summary judgment, Judge Campbell held that plaintiff also failed to present evidence of proximate causation – i.e., that a different warning regarding Zometa® would have changed the behavior of plaintiff or his doctors.

Judge Todd Campbell also granted a motion to strike a punitive damages claim. (Click here to view the Order.) Applying a Minnesota statute, Minn. Stat. § 549.191, Judge Campbell held that plaintiff was not permitted to plead punitive damages claims without filing a motion for leave to amend his complaint, supported by one or more affidavits to show that the factual basis for his punitive damages claim. Plaintiff argued that he was not required to comply with that statute because he had filed his lawsuit in Tennessee. However, Judge Campbell rejected that argument, holding that Minnesota law applies and that the filing of this lawsuit in Tennessee “does not change Minnesota’s substantial public interest in regulating the assertion of punitive damages claims.”

Case No. 3:08-1156, Melau.

Judge Campbell also granted summary judgment for firm client Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (“NPC”) on August 13, 2009 in a pharmaceutical products liability lawsuit involving claims asserted on behalf of a deceased prostate cancer patient. (Click here to view the Memorandum.) Judge Campbell granted NPC’s Daubert motion to exclude the treating health care providers’ opinions regarding specific causation. This meant that plaintiff has no admissible expert testimony on this issue. Therefore, NPC was entitled to summary judgment.

Case No. 3:06-0377, Thomas.

Judge Campbell also granted summary judgment for firm client Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (“NPC”) on August 13, 2009 in a pharmaceutical products liability lawsuit filed by a multiple myeloma patient. (Click here to view the Memorandum.) Judge Campbell granted NPC’s Daubert motion to exclude any opinions of plaintiff’s treating health care provider regarding specific causation. Therefore, plaintiff had no admissible expert testimony on this important element of his claims and NPC was entitled to summary judgment. 

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