Zantac Trial Scheduled To Begin in November Before California State Court Jury
Following a Zantac settlement reached last month to resolve what was expected to be the first U.S. trial over cancer caused by the recalled heartburn drug, nationwide focus has shifted to a California state court claim set for trial in November 2023, which may help gauge how juries will respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout thousands of lawsuits brought against the drug makers.
Zantac (ranitidine) was used by millions of Americans for treatment of heartburn and acid reflux, before it was removed from the market in late 2019, after it was discovered that the active pharmaceutical ingredient is inherently unstable and produces high levels of the chemical byproduct N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which is a potent human carcinogen.
Over the past four years, GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer, Sanofi and various other manufacturers, distributors and retailers involved in the sale of brand name or generic ranitidine pills have faced Zantac lawsuits brought by former users who indicate they have been diagnosed with bladder cancer, esophageal cancer, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer or other injuries, as NDMA moved through their body.
For several years, most of the litigation was focused in the federal court system, where all Zantac cancer lawsuits were centralized before Judge Robin L. Rosenberg in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings. However, late last year, Judge Rosenberg issued a controversial ruling, determining that all of the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses were excluded from testifying at trial under federal evidentiary rules.
While appeals have been filed to challenge Judge Rosenberg’s ruling, the decision has left federal plaintiffs without any means of proving the recalled Zantac pills caused their cancer, and all Zantac lawsuits pending in the federal court system have been dismissed. However, the federal ruling does not have any impact on lawsuits filed in California and various other state courts, where different standards for the admissibility of expert witness testimony apply.
New California Zantac Trial Scheduled
The first Zantac lawsuit to go to trial was expected to begin this month, involving a Zantac bladder cancer claim filed by James Goetz. However, last month the company announced it had reached a confidential agreement to settle the claim.
According to a June 30 report by Reuters, a new trial is now scheduled to begin in California state court on November 13, which will likely be the first Zantac case to go before a jury in the U.S. However, GlaxoSmithKline and plaintiffs’ lawyers indicate that the specific Zantac lawsuit that will go before a jury on that date has not yet been selected.
Even though the results of the trial will have no binding impact on other Zantac cancer lawsuits pending nationwide, the case is likely to be closely watched to see how the jury responds to evidence and testimony which could be repeated in tens of thousands of trials nationwide.
July 2023 Zantac Lawsuit Update
There are an estimated 70,000 Zantac lawsuits still pending in state courts nationwide, with other claims expected to go before juries in various different venues later this year, if additional settlements are not reached.
While federal plaintiffs are appealing the decision made Judge Rosenberg in the federal court system, other state court judges are expected to weigh in on the reliability of plaintiffs expert witness testimony in the coming months, evaluating the strength and reliability of the plaintiffs evidence establishing that Zantac causes cancer under different state court standards.
In addition to cases moving forward in California, other trials are expected in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Nevada. The results of the California trial, and other early cases, could help the parties reach a Zantac cancer lawsuit settlement agreement, preventing state courts from having to hold tens of thousands of costly trials.
ShawnAugust 26, 2023 at 3:37 pm
Am I reading this correctly, that there has been a settlement in California on the Zantac case?
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