According to a Pretrial Order issued by U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe, who is overseeing the federal Avandia lawsuit MDL, the Court will establish and maintain a website that will post information and orders from the multi-district litigation.
Last year, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated and centralized all federal Avandia lawsuits before Judge Rufe in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The cases are being coordinated during pretrial litigation under a federal procedure known as an MDL, or multi-district litigation. This process is designed to avoid duplicate discovery and inconsistent rulings in cases spread throughout the federal court system. If the cases do not settle or resolve during pretrial litigation, they will be remanded back to the original court where they were filed for trial.
According to the current scheduling orders, the first trials in the Avandia litigation are expected to begin in June 2010 on cases filed directly in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The discovery plan calls for 100 of these cases to be designated for early discovery, which will involve case specific depositions by the parties.
A subset of the early discovery cases will later be selected for the initial trial pool, which will be the first Avandia trials to be heard by a jury.
The Court indicates that a website will be established for the MDL to make information and orders from the Avandia lawsuit “readily and publicly available.”
It is not uncommon for courts assigned to oversee an MDL to create a dedicated website, or an area on the Court’s main website, to post information specific to the MDL. Similar sites are currently available to the public in the Digitek litigation in the Southern District of West Virginia, the Levaquin litigation in the District of Minnesota and Kugel Mesh Hernia Patch litigation in the District of Rhode Island, to name a few.
Judge Rufe’s order indicates that the Court intends to establish the Avandia MDL website with the input and participation of the parties’ Steering Committees and Liason Counsel.