Kaufman and Peterson Focus on Drug and Medical Device MDLs for DRI

Shook Partner Chris Kaufman and Associate Torrey Peterson have co-authored an article for DRI's For the Defense on "Exposing Meritless Claims in Drug and Medical Device Product Liability MDLs."

MDLs can "incentivize mass filings of meritless cases, making them arguably less efficient and just than intended," the authors explain. "In an ordinary 'one-off' case, procedural safeguards exist to protect defendants from litigating claims that lack merit . . . But courts may not apply those standards with the same rigor in an MDL as in an individual case—ironically justified by concerns of 'efficiency.'"

The authors offer several strategies for disposing of meritless claims in MDLs, including the enforcement of federal pleading standards and establishing a requirement for fully compliant plaintiff fact sheets. "Exposing and dismissing meritless cases in a broader sea of MDL filings requires sustained attention, resources, creativity, and commitment by manufacturers and their counsel to an overall strategy that promotes a just and efficient MDL," they conclude. "By doing so, the parties and the court will be better positioned to isolate the legal and factual issues in dispute, define the scope of discovery, and assess the remaining cases for possible resolution."