Ozempic MDL Lawsuits Reassigned To New Judge For Further Pretrial Proceedings

New MDL Judge has set a status conference for June 10, at which time she will meet with parties involved in Ozempic lawsuits for the first time.

A panel of federal judges has reassigned all Ozempic lawsuitsWegovy lawsuitsMounjaro lawsuits and other injury claims involving GLP-1 RA diabetes and weight loss drugs to a new U.S. District Judge, following the recent death of the judge originally appointed to oversee the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL).

In February 2024, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation appointed Judge Gene E. K. Pratter to preside over the coordinated pretrial proceedings for all Ozempic MDL lawsuits, which is ultimately expected to include several thousand claims brought by former users of the new-generation drugs who developed a painful and debilitating form of stomach paralysis, known as gastroparesis.

However, Judge Pratter passed away on May 17, reportedly due to complications associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at the age of 75, after serving in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania since 2004.

Her death led to a pause in the litigation while the U.S. JPML determined which federal judge will take over the MDL proceedings proceedings.

GLP-1 RA Injury Lawsuits

The litigation involves claims brought against manufacturers of Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro, Zepbound, Trulicity and other glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RA) drugs, which have become some of the most widely used prescription medications on the market in the U.S. in recent years, given benefits promoting weight loss.

While the medications have been promoted as safe and effective, lawsuits claim there is growing evidence that users and the medical community were not adequately warned about the long-term risks associated with the medications.

With some estimates indicating that nearly 2% of the U.S. population has been prescribed one of the GLP-1 medications, either for diabetes treatment or weight loss, it was widely expected that the litigation will become a major mass tort in the coming months, and Judge Pratter had been working to establish the organizational structure and schedule for pretrial proceedings when she passed away.

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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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On June 6, the JPML issued an order reassigning the litigation (PDF) to District Judge Karen S. Marston after a nearly month-long pause in the Ozempic MDL.

In a separate case management order (PDF) issued on the same day, Judge Marson scheduled a status conference to meet with lawyers involved in the lawsuits for the first time on June 10. She urged the parties to meet and confer with each other before the status conference, and submit any suggestions for an agenda by the close of business today.

Judge Pratter was expected to establish a bellwether program, where a small group of cases would be prepared for early trial dates to help gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation. However, an order was not yet issued outlining the criteria or timing for making those selections.

Now that Judge Marson has been chosen to continue the pretrial proceedings, she is likely to continue with Judge Pratter’s bellwether program by working with plaintiffs and defendants to determine what Ozempic lawsuits are representative of the greater litigation, and then sending them through case-specific fact discovery before scheduling them for the first bellwether trials.

Following coordinated discovery and any early bellwether cases, if the parties are unable to negotiate settlements or another resolution for the litigation, Judge Marston may later remand each claim back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for trial.

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