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In re Zantac (Ranitidine) Prods. Liab. Litig.

United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida

April 3, 2020, Decided; April 3, 2020, Filed

MDL NO. 2924; 20-MD-2924



Order Rescheduling Initial Conference, Establishing April

Deliverables Team, and Scheduling Interviews for Leadership Applicants

The Court, like the parties, continues to monitor the constantly evolving situation with COVID-19. The Court extends its wishes to everyone for good health and safety. Recognizing but notwithstanding the limitations imposed by the current pandemic, there is much highly productive work already that has been accomplished and that must continue in this litigation. The Court has reviewed the joint letter of the parties, dated March 18, 2020, with respect to the next steps that they believe are necessary and possible to accomplish over the coming weeks until the Court convenes its rescheduled Initial Conference and selects leadership. In [*25]  light of the latest guidance received from health officials, coupled with the large number of interested parties and non-parties in this litigation, the Court has determined that it will not schedule an in-person proceeding to conduct its Initial Conference or its interviews of the leadership applicants. However, recognizing the need for permanent leadership in this case as well as the importance of conducting an initial conference, the Court issues the following Order to provide clarity to all parties and counsel.

Initial Conference & Agenda

1. The Initial Conference originally was scheduled for March 20, 2020 by Pretrial Order (PTO) #1 but was cancelled due to COVID-19 by PTO #9. The Initial Conference is hereby rescheduled to 9am ET on May 12, 2020. This conference will be held by videoconference; no persons, including the parties and counsel, will be permitted to attend in person. There will be a court reporter in attendance at the conference and a transcript will be made of the conference. The Court is continuing to work through the best manner in which to facilitate video and telephonic attendance and will provide connection information in a subsequent notification.

2. As this case [*26]  proceeds into its next phase, it remains increasingly important that counsel continue to work cooperatively and in good faith to resolve issues through virtual meetings and conferrals. The Court envisions that this immediate next phase of the litigation can and should be used most importantly to begin that process of conferring to identify this common ground and work through areas of disagreement. Secondarily, this time will permit counsel to begin drafting pleadings and discovery requests that will, after permanent leadership is appointed, be used as strong work products allowing the parties to move forward most efficiently in filing their complaints and serving discovery. Paramount to these discussions materially advancing the litigation process is a willingness on the part of the plaintiffs to, as clearly as possible and based on the available information received and known this far, articulate their claims and/or theories of liability against the different defendants. Similarly, the defendants should inform plaintiffs of all known and anticipated defenses. The Court takes this opportunity to emphasize that it operates on the presumption that disputes will be raised with the Court [*27]  only after counsel have exhausted their own best efforts to resolve and/or narrow the issues for the Court.

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2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62805 *


Prior History: In re Zantac (Ranitidine) Prods. Liab. Litig., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19881 (J.P.M.L., Feb. 6, 2020)


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