Tuesday, July 11, 2017

[U] New Practice And Procedure Order Coming, In Merck's Federal Propecia®/Proscar® MDL in Brooklyn USDC

UPDATED @ Noon EDT: Looks like settlement talks are back on, here. . . .

I see some increased probability that the parties have active settlement discussions (and likely, on a global -- state and federal -- basis) underway, now. This is new -- and is simply my conjecture, based on the fact that all discovery is stayed, until September 20, 2017. [End, update.]

The schedule of events -- and timing for motions, may be changing -- based on a telephonic conference hearing, yesterday. We will let you know, right here, with an update when now taht the amended scheduling order has been filed, through PACER. Here's a bit -- from the order entered this morning:

. . . .Discovery in this matter is stayed until September 20, 2017. Accordingly, the deadlines governing the remainder of discovery are hereby revised as follows.

1. Expert Depositions. All expert depositions must be completed by November 6, 2017.

2. Motions. All motions to exclude or limit expert testimony pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and all dispositive motions shall be filed as follows:

a. Opening Briefs: November 27, 2017;

b. Opposition Briefs: December 27, 2017; and

c. Reply Briefs: January 10, 2018. . . .

The Court [still] anticipates that the First Bellwether Tranche shall be trial ready by March 2018. Following the entry of all orders disposing of all Daubert motions and dispositive motions, the Court will issue a scheduling order governing all trial related obligations, including the specific date for commencement of trial. . . .

Onward. There is no guarantee that there will be a global settlement -- or any settlement, at all. But I think it more likely now, than it has been in at least the past three years.



Anonymous said...

Thanks for this update, Condor. Is there any way to speculate to what extent this news impacts the MCL in New Jersey beyond the MDL in New York? - Mr. I

condor said...

No, Mr. I -- not really.

But from my perspective as a long time life science corporate defense lawyer in situations not unlike this one, it wouldn't make sense for Merck not to seek to resolve all the outstanding consolidated cases -- state and federal (including the few state cases pending elsewhere, like California, IIRC).

But all of this is pure conjecture, based on one line buried in a procedural order -- on my part.

Thanks for asking!


condor said...

Oops -- forgot to say. . . we may well learn more in Merck's SEC filed Form 10-Q in a few weeks, to be sure.


Anonymous said...

One more question if you don't mind. When your read of this situation is that this could be moving towards settlement does that mean to say that the bellwether trials might not even happen? - Mr. I

condor said...

Thanks Mr. I --

Well, the able federal judge is keeping trial dates on the calendar -- as is the state court judge.

The calendars rend to fill up, if not held with "reserved dates". so one cannot responsibly take (as plaintiff or defendant) trial dates off the calendar, just on the hope that a global deal is struck.

That said, I can say that if there is a deal, then there will be scant (no) purpose in holding the bellwether trials. Same applies in New Jersey state court. And California.

Let's see what Merck has to say in its litigation section -- in the forthcoming SEC filed Form 10-Q in early to mid August.