Plaintiffs in the multi-district litigation over the NexGen knee implants made by Zimmer Biomet (NYSE:ZBH) must prove their cases under a so-called “Lone Pine” order issued by the Illinois federal judge overseeing the MDL.
Named for a 1986 decision dismissing a mass toxic tort case against a New Jersey landfill, a Lone Pine order requires plaintiffs to show a link between their injuries and the product accused of causing it.
Although a pair of bellwether trials are scheduled for October and November, it’s been a challenge to find suitable cases to serve as bellwethers, prompting a seemingly exasperated Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer of the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois this week to issue a Lone Pine order.
“The court is prepared to try 2 more ‘bellwether’ cases in this MDL, and has set aside time in October and November for that purpose. At a recent status conference, however, the court learned that the trials set for this fall – Goldin v. Zimmer and Lewis v. Zimmer – will not in fact proceed, or will not address the flex loosening issue that has emerged as central to the plaintiffs’ theory of liability,” Pallmyer wrote June 1. “The plaintiffs’ Steering Committee has repeatedly voiced its vehement objection to a ‘Lone Pine’ order, but the court concludes the circumstances warrant entry of such an order. The parties are directed promptly to negotiate the specific terms of such an order.”
Pallmyer said she would not strike the trial dates pending for this fall; a status conference is slated for later today, according to court documents.