Group of 8 Ozempic MDL Lawyers Appointed To Serve on Plaintiffs’ Committee During Coordinated Pretrial Proceedings

The lead lawyers in the Ozempic MDL may choose up to 25 additional attorneys to serve on the Plaintiffs' Committee, who will take certain actions during pretrial proceedings that benefit plaintiffs in all GLP-1 lawsuits

The U.S. District Judge presiding over all federal GLP-1 lawsuits, which involve claims that drug makers failed to disclose the stomach paralysis side effects of Ozempic and other similar medications, has appointed a group of eight plaintiffs’ lawyers to serve in leadership positions during consolidated pretrial proceedings in the recently established federal multidistrict litigation (MDL).

The appointments came despite an objection from one attorney who claimed other Ozempic MDL lawyers were being shut out of the leadership process. The litigation is expected to involve thousands of individual Ozempic lawsuits, as well as other claims involving other glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RA) drugs, including Wegovy, Mounjaro, Zepbound, Trulicity and others.

GLP-1 RA drugs have become blockbuster treatments in recent months, given the widespread promotion of the medications as safe and effective for weight loss. However, evidence has emerged that certain users experience a painful and debilitating stomach paralysis, known as gastroparesis, which lawsuits allege was not fully disclosed by the drug makers on the warning labels.

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Lawyers are pursuing Ozempic lawsuits, Wegovy lawsuits and Mounjaro lawsuits over gastroparesis or stomach paralysis, which can leave users with long-term gastrointestinal side effects

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In February, after hearing oral arguments, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) issued a transfer order centralizing all stomach paralysis lawsuits involving any GLP-1 RA medication before U.S. District Judge Gene E.K. Pratter, who will preside over coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

There are currently only about 74 lawsuits centralized before Judge Pratter. However, Ozempic injury attorneys anticipate that thousands of claims are likely to be filed in the coming months and years, in line with the growing popularity of Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro prescriptions. The JPML noted some estimates indicate nearly 2% of the U.S. population have been prescribed these drugs for either diabetes treatment or weight loss.

Ozempic MDL Lawyers Appointed to Leadership Positions

In March, a group of Ozempic MDL lawyers filed a joint motion seeking to serve as co-lead counsel in the litigation, calling for attorneys Paul Pennock, Parvin Aminolroaya, Jonathan Orent and Sarah Ruene to serve as co-lead counsel for all plaintiffs.

In complex MDL proceedings, where large numbers of lawsuits are filed involving the same or similar underlying claims, lawyers appointed to leadership positions are tasked with coordinating status updates for the court, arguing certain pretrial motions, conducting discovery and depositions into common issues that impact all claims, and potentially negotiating a framework for Ozempic settlements that may help resolve large numbers of claims. However, each individual plaintiff still retains their own lawyer to meet various deadlines and establish that they meet the criteria for an Ozempic injury lawsuit payout.

In response to the initial motion, at least one MDL lawyer not included in the leadership structure filed a response in opposition (PDF). In a filing on March 27, Sarah Foster, an attorney with Schlesinger Law Offices, PA, objected to the plan, indicating the leadership selection process was closed off to other attorneys and only determined by those four, instead of by the Court itself.

“The Court should deny the motion because the application process leading to the proposed leadership ‘slate’ was closed off when, instead, it should have been open and transparent,” Foster wrote. “They determined whether the proposed leadership ‘applicant’ was sufficiently qualified, experienced, diverse, and committed to serve. They did what the Court is generally tasked with doing.”

Following a hearing earlier this month before Judge Pratter, the Court issued a case management order (PDF) on April 23, indicating that eight attorneys will serve on a Plaintiffs’ Committee. In addition to their regular duties, Judge Pratter charged the committee members with selecting additional Ozempic MDL lawyers to fill out the committee, so long as it does not exceed 25 members.

To address the objection, Judge Pratter appointed a liaison counsel, Roberta Lienbenberg, to serve as mentor to Foster during the Ozempic MDL proceedings.

Following coordinated discovery and any bellwether trials scheduled in the MDL, if the parties are unable to agree to Ozempic stomach paralysis settlements or another resolution for the GLP-1 injury claims, each individual claim would later be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for trial.

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