Zimmer (NYSE:ZMH) asked an Illinois federal judge this week to sanction a trio of lawyers representing plaintiffs in the multi-district litigation brought over its knee implants, saying the attorneys should never have brought the cases in the 1st place.
Zimmer wants Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer of the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois, who is overseeing the MDL, to force the lawyers to cover its costs in preparing to try the cases as part of the bellwether process, according to court documents.
The 3 cases – Shoat v. Zimmer, Davis v. Zimmer and Teague v. Zimmer – were selected by Zimmer as potential bellwethers after 5 of its initial 6 selections were withdrawn for lack of merit, according to the documents. But after Zimmer began the discovery process for the suits, lawyers for the 3 plaintiffs said the cases wouldn’t stand up after all.
"When Zimmer’s attorneys inquired of plaintiffs’ attorneys whether they intended to serve case-specific expert reports, the individual plaintiffs’ attorneys in the 3 Zimmer-selected cases (Charles Johnson (Shoat), Sheila Bossier (Davis), and Karen Beyea-Schroeder (Teague)) responded by email – in lockstep language – that ‘[a]s the case has progressed it does not appear that it can be supported by a case specific expert report for a personal injury claim,’" Zimmer alleged.
"Plaintiffs’ attorneys abandoned 5 of Zimmer’s 6 1st-round case picks for trial after Zimmer had expended significant effort over months investigating them," Zimmer argued [emphasis theirs]. "Now, once again, plaintiffs’ attorneys’ conduct in Teague, Davis and Shoat is tantamount to dismissal, again frustrating this court’s long-stated intent to alternate bellwether trials of both plaintiff and defense picks. Worse, plaintiffs’ attorneys never informed Zimmer that they did not intend to pursue these claims. Instead, plaintiffs’ attorneys silently let the July 15, 2014, deadline for their case-specific expert reports pass without serving any reports, leaving Zimmer to piece together in the ensuing days the conclusions (1) that plaintiffs’ claims would not be supported by expert testimony and (2) that plaintiffs’ attorneys did not intend to take these cases to trial."