What will be two years after Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) was ordered for all federal Fixodent and Poligrip lawsuits in June 2009, a bellwether Fixodent trial is set to begin on June 6, 2011, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida before Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga.
MDL is a mechanism for the consolidation and centralization before a single judge of pretrial procedures for the purposes of avoiding duplicate discovery (the gathering and sharing of information between parties), preventing inconsistent rulings, and conserving the resources of the parties, counsel, and courts. In order for the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to approve a case for MDL, the cases must share at least one question of fact. In approving the denture cream litigation for MDL, the Panel stated that “[t]hese actions share questions of fact arising out of the allegation that the levels of zinc contained in certain brands of denture cream can cause copper deficiency and neurological injuries.” Currently, approximately 100 Poligrip and Fixodent lawsuits have been consolidated for pretrial proceedings before Judge Altonaga in Florida.
The case scheduled to begin trial on June 6 was filed by Florida residents Marianne and Daniel Chapman. Mrs. Chapman is seeking compensation for her alleged permanent disability, disfigurement, pain and suffering, mental anguish, diminished enjoyment of life, medical bills, and lost wages due to her Fixodent use. She is charging Fixodent manufacturer Procter & Gamble with strict liability, negligence, intentional misrepresentation, breach of warranty (express and implied), violation of Florida state law under its Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and loss of consortium (spousal relations) on behalf of Mr. Chapman.
A bellwether trial is a one that occurs early (and is often the very first) among cases that are similar and the outcome of which is expected to provide some degree of insight to other claimants, their lawyers, the defendant(s), and the general public about how the other cases will proceed. Often, the results of a bellwether trial influence settlement of the remaining similar cases. Judge Altonaga in August 2010 ordered the parties before her to complete attempts at mediation (a non-binding form of alternative dispute resolution) by March 28, 2011. If a resolution is reached, this could also have an effect on how the other denture cream cases will proceed.
The Rottenstein Law Group will report the results of this denture cream trial, so be sure to check back here regularly. It should be pointed out, however, that the outcome of the Chapmans’ case, and in particular the settlement amount, will not be necessarily representative of the outcome of others. (In fact, the details of a settlement will almost certainly be kept strictly confidential.) While the cases that are consolidated under MDL are similar, they also vary in ways that cause their settlement values to vary. In the end, the amount you might be owed by a denture cream manufacturer such as GSK or P&G will depend most of all on your specific injuries and damages. To discuss your potential claim for free with an experienced attorney, fill out this form or call 1 (888) 976-8529.