By Christina Grube
(MASS TORT NEWS) Yesterday, California Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo denied a motion to dismiss all plaintiff experts in the California Zantac JCCP (In Re: Ranitidine Product Cases, JCCP No. 5150), allowing the first Zantac bellwether trial to proceed this July. Judge Grillo denied the defendant GSK’s (formerly GlaxoSmithKline) motion to exclude the testimonies of all plaintiff experts, allowing nine of the ten experts to testify in the July 23, 2023 bellwether (full order below).
Judge Grillo fully denied the defendant motion to exclude six experts; Benet (pg. 19), Neugut (pg. 34), Portier (pg. 38), Jameson (pg. 41), and Conry (pg. 45). Grillo further ruled to bar three experts–Bose (pg. 22), Najafi (pg. 25), and Qato (pg. 59)–from testifying on certain aspects of the case. Grillo fully granted the defendant motion to dismiss only one expert, Pease (pg. 61).
Co-lead counsel R. Brent Wisner says he is “not surprised” at Judge Grillo’s decision. “The California court order validates what we have been saying for years—that the evidence needs to be shown to a jury,” Wisner said in a news release.
Co-lead trial counsel Jennifer A. Moore also shared her excitement for a Zantac jury trial, saying “Our client will now have his day in court, and we look forward to sharing the evidence with the jury that GSK has known for decades that Zantac contains staggering amounts of a proven carcinogen.”
Beyond allowing plaintiff experts to testify, Judge Grillo also denied the defendant’s attempts to use a recent ruling removing all plaintiff experts from the federal Zantac MDL 2924 (In Re: Zantac (Ranitidine) Products Liability Litigation) as support for their current motion to remove experts in the California Zantac JCCP cases.
“The court uses the MDL order based on the persuasiveness of its analysis and as a cross-reference,” Judge Grillo wrote. “That noted, the court does not find the MDL order dispositive.”
Although the Zantac MDL remains active in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida under Judge Rosenberg, many plaintiff lawyers no longer view the federal suit as a viable option for plaintiff restitution.
After Rosenberg dismissed all plaintiff experts from the MDL in late 2022, Wisner told MTN, “I learned early on that the direction of this MDL was not looking out for the best interests of the victims. I am glad my firm realized this and focused on filing in state court.” Wisner Baum currently leads the charge of moving filings against Zantac producers to state courts and continues filing thousands of plaintiff claims in California, Delaware and Illinois.