The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has consolidated all Total Body Formula lawsuits filed in federal court on behalf of individuals injured by the dietary supplement that was recalled earlier this year. The litigation will be centralized in the Northern District of Alabama for pretrial proceedings.
According to court documents, there are currently at least 15 Total Body lawsuits that have been filed in various federal courts throughout the United States.
A motion was filed by plaintiffs to consolidate and coordinate the lawsuits during discovery and pretrial litigation as part of a process known as a multidistrict litigation, or MDL.
In March 2008, several flavors of Total Body Formula and Total Body Mega Formula were recalled after it was discovered that the liquid dietary supplement contained excessive amounts of selenium and chromium. The CDC and FDA received over 200 reports of users who suffered problems after using the Total Body Formula, including liver toxicity, hypoglycemia, renal failure, significant hair loss, deformed fingernails, diarrhea, muscle cramps, joint pain and fatigue.
Arguments on consolidation of the Total Body litigation were heard by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on September 25, 2008. In an order filed October 21, 2008, the Panel found that the cases all involve common questions of fact and that centralization in the Northern District of Alabama will serve the convenience of the parties and witness and promote the efficient handling of the lawsuits.
“All actions share questions of fact arising from the defendants’ manufacturing, marketing, selling and distribution of Total Body Formula and Total Body Mega Formula,” wrote Judge John G. Heyburn, Chairman of the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. “Plaintiffs in all actions allege that certain flavors of these products contained excessive amounts of minerals and caused them injuries. Centralization… will eliminate duplicative discovery, prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings, and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary.”
It is fairly common for an MDL to be formed in complex product liability cases where many lawsuits involving common underlying facts have been filed throughout the country.
There are currently 12 Total Body lawsuits already pending in the Northern District of Alabama, two in the Middle District of Florida and one in Northern District of Florida.
As Total Body Formula recall lawyers file additional lawsuits for cases that are still being investigated, they will be transferred to the Northern District of Alabama, regardless of what court they originate in. If the cases do not settle or otherwise resolve during pretrial litigation, the lawsuits will then be sent back to the original court where they were filed for trial.