Master Settlement of Fleet Phosphosoda Litigation Expected by June 29

Plaintiffs and defendants involved in the litigation over Fleet Phospho-soda are expected to have a final settlement agreement in place by the end of the month to resolve hundreds of lawsuits filed by individuals who allegedly suffered kidney damage and other injuries after using the laxative at high doses for colonoscopy prep. 

U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster cancelled a settlement meeting that was scheduled this week, saying that a Fleet Phospho-soda settlement agreement should be signed by June 29. Judge Polster said he is hopeful that no further conferences will need to be held in the litigation.

Now that the agreement to settle Fleet Phosphosoda lawsuits is in place, Judge Polster also issued an order indicating that any contingency fee agreement entered between plaintiffs’ lawyers and claimants after June 14 will not be enforceable or permissible. Since the requirements to obtain settlement benefits and the amount of those benefits are now established, the use of contingency fee agreements would not be permissible.

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The Fleet Phosphosoda litigation involves allegations that C.B. Fleet Co. failed to adequately warn about the risk of kidney damage when double doses of Fleet Phospho-soda are used to clear out the bowels before a colonoscopy or other colon procedure.

A Fleet Phospho-soda recall was issued in December 2008 after the FDA warned that the over-the-counter oral sodium phosphate solution should not be used as a bowel cleanser due to the risk of acute phosphate nephropathy, a rare form of kidney damage.

In January, Judge Polster ordered that all plaintiffs who have claims against C.B. Fleet Co. over problems with Fleet Phospho-soda submit information about their claims to be included in a global settlement that was being negotiated. At that time, more than 1,200 Fleet Phospho-soda kidney lawsuits had been filed in various state and federal courts throughout the United States.

Although Fleet Phospho-soda litigation dates back as far as 2004, most of the cases currently pending were filed in the wake of the December 2008 recall.

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