PHILADELPHIA — The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 26 affirmed dismissal of a Zostavax shingles vaccine injury case, agreeing that a plaintiff lawyer’s failure to conduct discovery did not justify post-judgment relief from a statute-of-limitations ruling (Chris Juday, et al. v. Merck & Co. Inc., et al., No. 19-1144, 3rd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 9450).
BOSTON — A Massachusetts federal judge on March 24 ordered three former top Insys Therapeutics Inc. employees to report to federal prison on May 19 following his denial of their motions to stay their sentences pending appeal to the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (United States v. Michael J. Gurry, No. 16-cr-10363, United States v. Richard Simon, No. 16-cr-10343, United States v. Sunrise Lee, No. 16-cr-10343, D. Mass.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 23 denied review of summary judgment in a silicone breast implant case in which the plaintiff wanted the court to recognize the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor and to resolve a purported circuit split about whether the alleged manufacturing defect violated federal current good manufacturing practices (CGMPs) (Nicole Weber v. Allergan, Inc., No. 19-869, U.S. Sup.).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Kansas federal judge overseeing the EpiPen multidistrict litigation on March 10 denied a motion by defendant Mylan Specialty L.P. to keep sealed a portion of his class certification ruling dealing with the defendants’ decision to package its epinephrine autoinjector in twin rather than single packs, saying the information is more than 10 years old and isn’t a competitive secret (In Re: EpiPen Marketing, Sales Practices and Antitrust Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2785, No. 17-md-2785, D. Kan.).
New developments in the following mass tort drug and device cases are marked in boldface type.
JERSEY CITY, N.J. — A New Jersey state appellate court on March 6 agreed that a plaintiff who claims that she was injured by unidentified hernia mesh cannot use market share liability to pursue her case against a manufacturer she suspects made her mesh (Deborah Kline, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. A-4355-17T1, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2020 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 481).
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — A New York state court judge on March 10 postponed the March 20 trial of the state attorney general’s lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors, according to a press release from the Attorney General’s Office (In Re Opioid Litigation, No. 400000/2017, N.Y. Sup., Suffolk Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on March 12 issued a declaration invoking the liability immunity and injury compensation provisions of the Public Health Services Act, 42 U.S. Code, § 247d-6e.
UTICA, N.Y. — A New York federal judge on March 9 accepted a magistrate judge’s recommendation to dismiss with prejudice half of a plaintiff’s claims against the makers of an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter but to allow the other claims to proceed (Kevin O’Neil v. Argon Medical Devices Inc., et al., No. 17-640, N.D. N.Y., 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15043).
LOS ANGELES — A federal lawsuit by health insurer Humana Inc. alleging that drug manufacturer Mallinckrodt ARD LLC and its predecessor created a monopoly for the multiple sclerosis (MS) drug Acthar mostly survived dismissal March 9 by a California federal judge who granted the insurer leave to amend its complaint (Humana Inc. v. Mallinckrodt ARD LLC, et al., No. 19-6926, C.D. Calif.).
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 13 reversed summary judgment in an Abilify tardive dyskinesia case, saying Louisiana’s statute of limitations can be reasonably construed to find that the claim was filed within one year (Raymond Crochet v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, et al., No. 19-30026, 5th Cir.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Florida federal judge overseeing the newly created Zantac multidistrict litigation on March 13 sua sponte canceled the MDL’s initial conference in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (In Re: Zantac [Ranitidine] Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2924, No. 20-md-2924, S.D. Fla.).
PHILADELPHIA — A pharmaceutical company and its CEO violated federal securities laws after misrepresenting to investors that the company had developed a vaccine for the COVID-19 coronavirus when, in fact, it had developed only a precursor for a vaccine, an investor argues in a March 12 class action complaint filed in Pennsylvania federal court (Patrick McDermid v. Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc., et al., No. 20-1402, E.D. Pa.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Seventy-three Ohio cities, counties, townships and villages have signed on to an agreement to distribute future opioid settlement money, according to March 12 press releases by the governor and state attorney general.
TUBINGEN, Germany — German vaccine developer CureVac AG on March 15 said it “abstains from commenting on speculations and rejects allegations about offers for acquisition of the company or its technology.”
CHICAGO — The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 6 ruled that the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in Merck Sharp & Dohme v. Albrecht, 139 S.C. 1668 (2019), did not negate a preemption ruling in Wendy B. Dolin’s generic Paxil wrongful death case against brand-name drug maker GlaxoSmithKline LLC (GSK) (Wendy B. Dolin, et al. v. GlaxoSmithKline LLC, et al., No. 19-2547, 7th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 7063).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — One week after Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. granted an application by a group of pharmaceutical firms to stay a portion of a trial court’s discovery order in a multidistrict price-fixing litigation, the full U.S. Supreme Court on March 6 denied the application and vacated the justice’s order, allowing discovery to continue despite the drug companies’ assertion that the discovery order improperly requires them to produce materials before they have the opportunity to object on the basis of relevance or responsiveness in violation of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1) (Actavis Holdco Inc., et al. v. Connecticut, et al., No. 19-1010, U.S. Sup., 2020 U.S. LEXIS 1515).
SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration on March 4 ordered a black box warning about serious behavior and mood-related risks for Singulair-brand montelukast, an inhaler first approved 22 years ago to treat asthma and allergy.
MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota federal magistrate judge on Feb. 28 sanctioned Boston Scientific Corp. for prejudicing and harming a whistleblower by not disclosing relevant witnesses in a heart defibrillator case until the last day of discovery (United States, ex rel. Steven Higgins v. Boston Scientific Corporation, No. 11-2453, D. Minn., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34459).
DURHAM, N.C. — Francis E. McGovern, one of three special masters in the opioid multidistrict litigation, died Feb. 14 following a fall at his home in Marin County, Calif., according to a press release from Duke University School of Law.