Each Zantac (ranitidine) lawsuit based on personal injuries will be filed as an individual case, not as part of a class action. But as often happens with mass torts, logistics and efficiency dictate that most such cases filed in federal court will be filed and managed as part of the ongoing Zantac multi-district litigation (MDL).
|Litigation||Zantac (Ranitidine) Products Liability Litgation|
|District||Southern District of Florida|
|Assigned Judge||Judge Robin L. Rosenberg|
The public only learned of the potential contamination of Zantac and generic ranitidine products in September 2019, so the litigation is still in its early stages. But even so, hundreds of Zantac (ranitidine) lawsuits are already pending across the country.
By early 2020, fifteen lawsuits were pending in nine district courts against the original manufacturer of Zantac (Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.), the manufacturers and distributors of Zantac OTC—Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC and related companies—and at least one manufacturer of generic ranitidine. The cases claimed that ranitidine (the active ingredient in Zantac) can break down to form the cancer-causing chemical N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). They further claimed that the defendants knew or should have known that their products exposed consumers to NDMA but concealed that danger from the public.
The first fifteen cases included nine personal injury claims asserting the NDMA consumed while taking Zantac had caused cancer. The other cases sought certification as class actions and were brought on behalf of potential classes of consumers and third-party payors who had paid for Zantac and were seeking refunds and other economic damages. By the time the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) ruled on five plaintiffs’ motions to create an MDL, at least 126 similar “tag-along” cases were pending in 21 federal districts.
On February 6, 2020, the JPML centralized the federal ranitidine cases for discovery and pretrial purposes. The order transferred those cases to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida and assigned the MDL to Judge Robin L. Rosenberg:
More than fifty defendants are currently involved in the Zantac MDL, including Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline LLC, Pfizer Inc., Sanofi-Aventis, various Sanofi subsidiaries (including Sanofi US Services, Inc. and Chattem, Inc), and numerous generic ranitidine manufacturers as well as wholesalers, distributors, and retailers of Zantac and other ranitidine products. The MDL now includes more than 250 cases and continues to grow.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Judge Rosenberg delayed the initial status conference scheduled for March 20, 2020; it was held remotely on May 12, 2020 with everyone attending by telephone or videoconference. The Court also held a remote preliminary discovery conference on May 13, 2020. The next remote status conference is set for July 9, 2020. The Court and the parties continue to organize the procedures for the MDL and to prepare to begin discovery. The procedures include an initial census of cases including personal injury or medical monitoring claims. To promote efficiency and reduce delays, Judge Rosenberg has established procedures allowing every U.S. plaintiff with a ranitidine-related personal injury claim to file their case directly in the MDL.