Digitek Litigation: Judge Appoints Lawyers as Plaintiffs’ Co-Liaison Counsel

U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin, who is overseeing the consolidated Digitek Litigation, appointed two lawyers to serve as Plaintiffs’ Co-Liaison Counsel in the federal MDL formed last month in the Sourthern District of West Virginia.

Following an order by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on August 13, 2008, all federal Digitek lawsuits are centralized and consolidated before Judge Goodwin for purposes of pretrial litigation.

The cases involve claims for severe and life threatening injuries allegedly caused by double strength digoxin tablets, which were produced by Actavis Totowa and distributed by Mylan Pharmaceuticals and UDL Laboratories, Inc.

So far, at least 64 individual federal cases have been transferred and consolidated in the multidistrict litigation, or MDL. In addition, Digitek lawyers expect that potentially hundreds of other cases will likely be filed in the coming months on behalf of individuals whose cases are still being investigated and documented.

In a pretrial order filed September 26 , 2008, Judge Goodwin appointed attorneys Harry F. Bell, Jr. and Fred Thompson, III, as Plaintiffs’ Co-Liaison Counsel in the Digitek litigation. The lawyers will perform services that will benefit all digitek attorneys representing plaintiffs, such as maintaining a document depository and complete records of all documents served in the cases.

The order also indicates that the Co-Liason Counsel will receive and distribute pleadings, orders and motions to pro se parties, coordinate service and filings and notify the court clerk if any changes are needed to the attorney list on the court’s website, among other duties.

Judge Goodwin also set a deadline of October 20, 2008 for applications or nominations to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) to be filed. A small number of attorneys who represent plaintiffs who have filed Digitek lawsuits will be appointed to the PSC to conduct and coordinate pretrial discovery on behalf of all cases that have been centralized in the MDL.

A nationwide Digitek recall was issued on April 25, 2008 for all lots of the generic heart medication after it was discovered that some tablets sold contain double the appropriate amount of the active ingredient digoxin. Within weeks of the drug being pulled from the market, the first Digitek recall lawsuits were filed on behalf of individuals who alleged that they suffered a digoxin overdose, with serious and potentially fatal consequences.

All federal cases filed throughout the United States are being transferred to the Digitek MDL in the Southern District of West Virginia for purposes of pretrial proceedings. This procedure is designed to eliminate duplicative discovery, avoid inconsistent pretrial rulings and to conserve the resources of the court, the parties and their attorneys. If the cases do not resolve during pretrial litigation, they will then be returned back to the original jurisdiction where they were filed for trial.

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