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MDL OK’d for Poligrip, Fixodent Lawsuits

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Poligrip and Fixodent lawsuits filed by people who blame their neurological disorders on zinc in the denture creams have have been consolidated in a Multidistrict Litigation, and transferred to the Southern District of Florida.  As a result, all Poligrip and Fixodent lawsuits currently pending in federal court, as well any new cases filed, will be transferred to District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga in the Southern District of Florida.

On May 28, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in Louisville, Kentucky held hearings about possibly consolidating all federal lawsuits against GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Poligrip, and Proctor & Gamble, the maker of Fixodent, in a single jurisdiction.   In a transfer order issued last week, the Panel  ruled that centralization of the cases in an MDL  was  appropriate due to the common questions of fact involved in the various cases. 

So far, GlaxoSmithKline has been named  in 10 denture cream zinc poisoning lawsuits. Proctor & Gamble  has been named in two. But it is likely that many more will be filed in the coming months.  Earlier this month, we reported that one law firm, Morgan & Morgan, had told the National Law Journal that it was in the process of evaluating about 3,000 such cases and is nearly ready to file about 40 others. It has partnered with two other firms, including New York-based Parker Waichman LLP, that together also have about 75 denture cream lawsuits ready to go.

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation of the United States Courts was created in 1968. Since then, it has consolidated hundreds of thousands of lawsuits that involved high numbers of plaintiffs, including litigation over asbestos, breast implants and other matters. A multidistrict litigation (MDL) allows all cases to be coordinated under one judge for pretrial litigation to avoid duplicative discovery, inconsistent rulings and to conserve the resources of the parties, witnesses and the court. When lawsuits are consolidated as an MDL each retains its own identity. If the MDL process does not resolve the cases, they are transferred back to the court where they originated for trial.

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