Unexpectedly, Judge Appoints Settlement Lawyers in Taxotere Chemo Litigation

Chief Judge Kurt Engelhardt
Chief Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt

In an unusual move, US District Judge Kirk D. Engelhardt overseeing In Re: Taxotere (Docetaxel) Products Liability Litigation – MDL No. 2740 appointed plaintiff and defense settlement committees, calling on them to focus less on preparing for trial and more on resolving the case.

The Plaintiffs’ Liaison Counsel and Steering Committee were only appointed in November and the MDL was created only in October. Pressing the attorneys on the case is in step with the judge’s character. See Crusading Judge Takes Over Taxotere Products Liability Litigation.

He told the lawyers to be “engaging in continuous general settlement discussions on a regular basis, as opposed to participating in detailed discovery, trial preparations, and presentation at trial, wherein those time-consuming tasks would distract counsel from pursuing avenues for potential resolution of some or all of the issues in this multi-district litigation.”

“The settlement committees are expected to hold regular discussions, in an attempt to establish common understandings, potential ground rules, component parts and concepts, anticipated relief, necessary approvals, and ultimately financial details, including drafting of all pertinent documents, in an attempt to resolve this matter prior to remand of some or all of the member cases,” the judge wrote in Pretrial Order No. 6.

To date 267 cases have been filed in the MDL. Plaintiffs in these actions each allege that they experienced permanent hair loss as a result of using Taxotere. All actions will require discovery regarding the design, testing, manufacturing, marketing, and labeling of Taxotere. The defendant is Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC.

All the actions share common factual questions arising out of allegations that Taxotere (docetaxel), a chemotherapy drug, causes permanent hair loss, that defendants were aware of this possible side effect and failed to warn patients, and that defendants marketed Taxotere as more effective than other chemotherapy drugs when other drugs were equally effective without the associated permanent hair loss.

For further information read FDA Releases New Patient Info for Taxotere (Docetaxel) Cancer Drug

Plaintiff Settlement Committee:

Ben W. Gordon, Jr.
Levin Papantonio
316 S. Baylen Street, #600
Pensacola, Florida 32502
(Phone): 850-432-7274
Email: bgordon@levinlaw.com

Mark R. Niemeyer
Niemeyer, Grebel & Kruse, LLC
10 S. Broadway, Suite 1125
St. Louis, Missouri 63102
(Phone): 314-241-1919
Email: niemeyer@ngklawfirm.com

Irving J. Warshauer
Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshauer, L.L.C.
2800 Energy Centre
1100 Poydras Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70163
(Phone): 504-522-2304
Email: iwarshauer@gainsben.com

Dennis C. Reich
Reich and Binstock LLP
4265 San Felipe #1000
Houston, Texas 77027
(Phone): 713-622-7271
Email: dreich@reichandbinstock.com

Ashlea G. Schwarz
Paul McInnes LLP
601 Walnut Street, Suite 300
Kansas City, Missouri 64106
(Phone): 816-984-8100
Email: ashlea@paulmcinnes.com

Defendant Settlement Committee:

Anand Agneshwar
Arnold & Porter
399 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10022-4690
(Phone): 212-715-1107

Bruce H. Nagel
Nagel Rice LLP
103 Eisenhower Parkway
Roseland, New Jersey 07068
(Phone): 973-618-0400 (Ext. 110)

Harvey L. Kaplan
Shook, Hardy & Bacon
2555 Grand Boulevard
Kansas City, Missouri 64108
(Phone): 816-559-2214
Email: hkaplan@shb.com

John Strongman
Shook, Hardy & Bacon
2555 Grand Boulevard
Kansas City, Missouri 64108
(Phone): 816-559-2430
Email: jstrongman@shb.com

Larry Bodine

Attorney Larry Bodine is Editor of Mass Tort Nexus, and the Editor of The National Trial Lawyers. He is the former Editor in Chief of Lawyers.com and the American Bar Association Journal. He is a cum laude graduate of both Seton Hall University Law School and Amherst College.

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