You are here: Home > MDL > St Jude Medical > Current Developments

Current Developments

Last Updated: November 13, 2009

November 9, 2009

The Court held a status conference at November 9, 2009. The parties briefly discussed the status of pending individual MDL cases and the pending litigation in Ramsey County. The next telephone conference is scheduled for: January 7, 2010 at 10:00 a.m.

June 11, 2008

The Court held a status conference at 2:00 p.m. on June 11, 2008. Counsel for plaintiffs noted that the parties had stipulated to dismissal of the Jurgena case, and noted that they would be filing a new individual case. The parties also discussed the status of plaintiffs' petition for en banc review of the Eighth Circuit's recent ruling on class certification. Plaintiffs stated that the Eighth Circuit has denied the petition for en banc review. Plaintiffs also stated that they intend to file a new motion for class certification for a consumer fraud class based on material omissions, and will file a supporting memorandum on or before July 15, 2008.

The parties also provided a brief update of the Ramsey County litigation and the Canadian class litigation. Counsel for plaintiffs indicated that the Ramsey County district court has denied plaintiffs' motion for class certification in that case. There were no developments to discuss in the Canadian class litigation. The Court set the next status conference for July 24, 2008, at 11:00 a.m., and will establish a briefing schedule at that time with respect to plaintiffs' motion for class certification.

April 11, 2008

The parties first discussed the recent ruling of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the class certification. Plaintiffs' counsel noted that they would be preparing and submitting a motion for rehearing en banc. Pending the outcome of that rehearing, plaintiffs' counsel stated that they may return to the Court seeking certification outside the scope of a consumer fraud class. Plaintiffs' counsel next addressed the status of the Jurgena case, stating that the case has been settled. The parties next discussed discovery timing issues with respect to the AVERT study, and agreed that St. Jude Medical would likely be able to produce requested data within 30 days.

The parties also discussed the status of various individual MDL cases. Defendant's counsel stated that the Hansenbank and Wilkinson cases were to be remanded. Plaintiffs' counsel stated that the Sanchez and Bailey cases have individual as well as class-related claims, and that the parties are discussing resolution of the individual, miscellaneous claims. Plaintiffs' counsel also stated that the McFadden case has been dismissed. The parties discussed the status of the Ramsey County and Canadian class litigation, with no significant developments in these cases.

February 5, 2008

The parties discussed the status of the appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, noting that the Eighth Circuit had not yet taken any action on the appeal. The parties discussed plaintiffs' request for additional discovery regarding the AVERT study, and agreed to meet and confer on plaintiffs' request. The Court requested discussion of the Jurgena case, a non-MDL case against St. Jude Medical pending in the Court. The parties indicated that discovery was ongoing in the case, and that the case had not yet been through mediation. The Court stated that the case should be submitted to mediation as soon as possible, and discussed a possible trial date for the case.

The parties also discussed the status of several non-class cases in the MDL, noting that the Hasenbank and Wilkinson cases were to be remanded, and that the McFadden case was being dismissed. Plaintiffs' counsel also stated that the Sanchez case was presently under investigation. Counsel for St. Jude Medical stated that the Jones case was being settled, and that the Daugherty case was being remanded to Arkansas. Finally, the parties discussed the status of the two related class actions. The class action in Ramsey County State Court remains pending, where plaintiffs' counsel recently argued a motion for class certification. The Canadian class action was set for trial on March 30, 2008, but has been continued until the spring of 2009.

January 25, 2007

The Court held a status conference on January 25, 2007 at 1:00 p.m.

Briefing before the Eighth Circuit on class certification is ongoing. Defendant filed an opening memorandum and plaintiffs must submit their response by February 21.

Proposed PTO 52 regarding Daubert motions and briefing schedule was submitted. Daubert motions are to be filed by February 15. The Court set oral argument on the motions for April 13 at 2:00 p.m.

The Court indicated that it will issue a written order denying without prejudice the motion to remand filed in Daugherty v. St. Jude Medical. The Court explained that remand is premature because generic expert-related discovery is not yet completed.

The Court received an update on the status of the mediation program. There are currently 13 individual cases, 4 of which defendant characterizes as non-injury. The Court indicated that it would like to set trial dates for the individual cases at the next status conference.

The Court received an update on the state court litigation. There are 22 state cases pending, most in Ramsey County, Minnesota. The Court also received an update on the Canadian litigation, which is set for trial in September.

April 26, 2006

Status Conference - Parties discussed the sample size for the AVERT study. Plaintiffs counsel expressed concern that the sample size could not produce statistically significant results because the study would not have enough power with a sample size of 60. He predicted that whatever party is ultimately loses based on the study will argue that the study was not properly done in the first place. Defense counsel said he needed to review the study material. The Court will address the issue by telephone in two weeks if St. Jude Medical has a position based on its review of the materials.

March 22, 2006

The Court held a telephonic status conference on March 22, 2006 at 11:30 a.m.

Briefing on the motion for class certification is ongoing with a hearing to be held on April 26, 2006 at 1:30 p.m. Plaintiffs received permission from the Court to file their reply brief by April 7, 2006. Defendants indicated that they might wish to file a sur-reply.

Plaintiffs have identified 3 rebuttal experts. Declarations of plaintiffs’ experts will likely be completed by the end of June, and defendants will follow in July and August. The Court ordered plaintiffs to prepare a brief report from Dr. Wilson regarding the Epic slides, and ordered defendants to quickly submit the slides to Dr. Wilson for his review.

The Court received an update on the status of the mediation program. Since the last status conference, both the Sliger and the Meaux case settled, and the newly filed Jurgena case was added to the mediation program. There are currently 15 individual cases, five of which St. Jude Medical is unwilling to mediate because of non-injury. The Court stated that its current focusing is on the motion for Class Certification now but will turn to the remaining individual cases after resolving that motion and set trial dates for the resolution of the individual cases.

The Court received an update on the state court litigation. There are 28 cases pending, all in Ramsey County. The Court also received an update on the Canadian litigation. The appellate court affirmed the lower court and plaintiffs received their full fees and costs.

The next status conference is set for April 26, 2006, following the motion for class certification.

January 20, 2006

The Court held a telephonic status conference on January 20, 2006 at 2:00 p.m. (the conference had been originally scheduled for January 12, 2006, at 2:00 p.m.).

Briefing regarding the Eighth Circuit decision and class certification issues is underway, and a hearing on the issues will likely be scheduled for April.

The parties have agreed that St. Jude Medical will identify liability experts by February 14, 2006, and that plaintiffs will identify rebuttal experts by March 4, 2006. Depositions of experts are anticipated to occur between March 14 and June 13, 2006.

The Court received an update on the status of the mediation program. Since the last status conference, a few of the cases have been resolved, and no new cases have been added to the mediation program. The Meaux case settled. There are currently nineteen cases, four of which are class actions, and eleven of which are still in negotiations. There are five cases that St. Jude Medical is unwilling to mediate because of non-injury.

The insurance carrier, Kemper, has not yet changed. There are three additional carriers that may replace Kemper when it completes its obligations.

The Court received an update on Canadian cases. There are three class actions pending, with an anticipated trial date in the second half of 2007.

The Ramsey County case, O’Neill, does not yet have set trial date.

The next status conference is set for March 15, 2006, at 2:00 p.m. (CST), and will be conducted telephonically.

Back To Top

November 3, 2005

The Court held a telephonic status conference on November 3, 2005 at 2:00 p.m.

The parties discussed the Eighth Circuit decision and the briefing schedule regarding the class certification issues identified in that opinion. The plaintiff’s opening brief will be due January 10, 2006. The parties discussed the scope of the briefing, and whether additional discovery is needed. The Court directed the parties to meet and confer regarding document production.

The parties agreed to provide expert reports regarding liability first, and expert reports regarding damages afterward.

The Court received an update on the status of the mediation program. There are fifteen individual cases left, and fourteen of those are being negotiated outside of the mediation program. The Court was advised that only one case, Van Gilder, would probably not be a candidate for mediation, as it has already been through mediation twice with no resolution. The Court inquired regarding insurance, and was informed that currently there were no issues. The insurance carrier, Kemper, has not changed, however, another carrier may replace Kemper before the end of the year.

The Court received an update on state court cases. There are fewer than twenty-nine cases pending. The Ramsey County case, O’Neill, is scheduled to go to trial in spring of 2006. In addition, there was an issue in O’Neill regarding the applicability of a Canadian damages limitation on Canadian parties to that action. The court in O’Neill determined that the Canadian damages limitation was applicable to the Canadian parties in that case. The Court was informed that some Canadian depositions have taken place, and that they may be completed within sixty days.

The next status conference is set for January 12, 2006, at 2:00 p.m. (CST), and will be conducted telephonically.

July 15, 2005

The Court held a telephonic status conference on July 15, 2005 at 10:30 a.m.

The parties reported that the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals heard argument in St. Jude’s appeal on June 20, 2005, but has not yet ruled. Argument was presented concerning the certification of the medical monitoring and the consumer fraud classes.

The Court received an update on the status of pending cases. Twenty individual cases are still pending in the MDL, four of which are class representatives. One case is set for mediation and five may be set for mediation soon. On mediation failed, and negotiations in another case appear stalled. Approximately 29 cases are pending in Ramsey County. The first trial, which will likely be the Cosentino case, will likely take place in early 2006. It is possible that, to the extent that issues such as expert issues are raised in the Ramsey County trial that are also pertinent to this matter, this Court and the Ramsey County court may try to cooperate or collaborate on their resolution.

Plaintiffs raised the Moe case, which was mediated unsuccessfully in approximately May 2004. Although no resolution was reached, the parties, including the insurer, believed that a negotiated settlement could be reached. Plaintiffs have had difficulty getting a response as to any further steps or activity. St. Jude reported that they expect to know whether mediation/negotiation will resume or the case will be set for trial in the next 30 days.

With respect to the Canadian Litigation, the parties informed the Court that approximately 11 class notices have been sent out in Ontario. Depositions are scheduled to take place in October. The parties have also agreed that some of the depositions taken in connection with this matter may be presented.

With respect to the Sutcliffe case, the Court declined to hear the plaintiff’s motion related to the Medicare lien and directed that the issue be raised in a separate proceeding to which Medicare is a party.

The plaintiffs raised with the Court St. Jude’s alleged non-compliance with Special Master Solum’s Order directing St. Jude to respond to the plaintiffs’ leaflet mobility interrogatories. The Court directed that the parties attempt to resolve the dispute by narrowing the interrogatories. The parties are to submit a joint letter report to the Court within the next two weeks, at which point the Court will take up the issue if necessary.

Additionally, plaintiffs raised the issue of production of the AVERT study data in the SAS format. The Court directed that St. Jude attempt to produce, as quickly as possible, the data in the SAS format with any patient information redacted. If the result is not satisfactory, the Court will again take up the issue.

The next status conference is set for Friday, September 16, 2005.

May 4, 2005

The Court held a status conference on May 4, 2005 at 1:30 p.m.

The parties are still waiting to be assigned a date for argument before the Eighth Circuit.

The parties have again agreed to extend certain discovery deadlines, and will submit proposed pretrial orders 44 and 45 to the Court. Specifically, the parties agree that generic fact discovery will be extended to July 5, 2005, and case specific discovery will be extended to August 15, 2005. Additionally, plaintiffs will identify their generic experts by August 15, 2005; defendants will identify their generic experts by September 21, 2005; and both parties will identify rebuttal experts by October 14, 2005. Generic experts will be deposed by November 1, 2005 and February 1, 2006, respectively.

The Court received an update on the status of pending cases. Twenty-four individual cases are still pending in the MDL, three of which are very close to settlement and five of which are set for mediation in May and June. Approximately twenty-five state cases are still pending. The case tentatively set for trial in Ramsey County in fall or winter of 2005 will likely be postponed due to the availability of expert testimony. The Ramsey County court determined that the O’Neil case, which this Court remanded to state court, is properly before the court.

With respect to the Canadian Litigation, the parties informed the Court that a class notice is being sent out in Ontario. There also are class actions pending in Quebec and British Columbia.

The Court inquired as to the Sutcliffe case. The parties informed the Court that a settlement had been reached in that case, and that Medicare has asserted a lien against the settlement. A motion concerning the Medicare lien appears to have been filed both in this Court and in the District of New Jersey. The parties will look into this and let the Court know what they find.

The next status conference is set for Wednesday, July 13, 2005.

March 30, 2005

The Court held a telephonic status conference on March 30, 2005 at 12:30 p.m.

The parties reported that they are still waiting to be assigned a date for argument before the Eighth Circuit.

Discovery is proceeding, although plaintiffs report some difficulty working with the University of Pittsburgh. The plaintiffs requested additional time to complete the deposition of Barbara Illingworth. The Special Master initially granted four hours of deposition: the Court granted plaintiffs one additionally hour.

St. Jude renewed its motion to dismiss the Jones case. Plaintiffs reported that two letters had been sent to Ms. Jones’ attorney, but that no response had been received. The Court agreed to allow the plaintiffs one more month to attempt to contact the attorney.

The Court received a general update on the status of pending cases, and requested that the parties detail the status of each MDL case at the next status conference.

With respect to the Canadian Litigation, the parties informed the Court that the defendant’s appeal had been denied, and trial set for October 2, 2006. Trial is tentatively set to begin in the Ramsey County Litigation some time this fall.

The next status conference is set for May 4, 2005.

January 24, 2005

The Court held a status conference on January 20, 2005 at 12:30 p.m.

The parties reported that briefing in defendant’s appeal to the Eighth Circuit has been completed, and the parties are waiting to be assigned a date for argument.

The parties have agreed to extend certain discovery deadlines, and will submit proposed pretrial orders to the Court. Specifically, the parties propose that the deadline for generic fact discovery be extended to April 1, 2005, for generic expert discovery be extended to May 15, 2005, and for case specific discovery be extended to May 15, 2005.

St. Jude renewed its motion to dismiss the Jones case. To date, the plaintiff’s counsel in that case has not responded to St. Jude’s motion. The Court will contact the plaintiff’s counsel and then make a ruling.

The Court was informed that a plaintiff in Arkansas contacted plaintiffs’ counsel to ask about the procedure for securing an early remand. The Court advised that if the plaintiff wishes an early remand, the Court will consider such a motion. However, the Court noted that early remand is generally appropriate only in exceptional circumstances, such as where a plaintiff’s health is deteriorating.

The Court received an update on the status of pending cases. Four class actions and twenty-one individual cases are still pending in the MDL. Twenty-eight state cases are still pending. Three of the MDL cases and seven of the state cases are set for mediation this month.

With respect to the Canadian Litigation, the parties informed the Court that they are still waiting for a decision on defendant’s request for permission to appeal. Class notice has been sent out in the Quebec action

The next status conference is set for Wednesday, March 20, 2005.

Back To Top

November 16, 2004

The Court held a telephonic status conference on November 16, 2004 at 10:30 a.m.

The parties reported that briefing in defendant’s appeal to the Eighth Circuit should be complete by December 6, 2004. The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the Products Liability Advisory Council have requested permission to file amicus briefs.

The Court heard updates on the status of discovery, which is continuing. Discovery in the Sliger case will be extended an additional 90 days.

The Court also received an update on the status of mediation of the individual cases. Twenty-one individual cases are still pending. Of those, six will not be set for mediation. Four are currently set for mediation and either have been or will be scheduled. Attempts at mediation were not successful in ten cases, but discussions are continuing in six. One case is the subject of a motion to dismiss.

With respect to the Canadian Litigation, the parties informed the Court that they are still waiting for a decision on defendant’s request for permission to appeal. A class has been certified and is moving forward in Quebec.

Approximately twenty-five cases are still pending in Ramsey County. The case previously set for trial in March 2005 has been rescheduled for fall 2005.

The next status conference is set for Thursday, December 16, 2004 at 9:30 a.m. At that time, the Court will also hear argument on St. Jude’s motion to dismiss in the Jones case.

October 12, 2004

The Court held a telephonic status conference on October 5, 2004 at 11:00 a.m.

The Eighth Circuit denied defendant’s petition for writ of mandamus or prohibition or other extraordinary relief, but granted defendant’s petition for permission to appeal under rule 23(f). The parties reported that briefing of the appeal should be complete by December 6, 2004. In light of the pending appeal, further discovery in the class case in chief has been stayed. However, the individual cases will continue to proceed as scheduled.

The Court heard updates on the status of discovery. The parties advised that, generally, depositions are continuing. However, there is a dispute over the deposition of Dr. Joseph Graham, which is currently scheduled for October 20. In light of the short time frame, the Court directed the attorneys involved to schedule a telephone conference with the Court to resolve the issue. The parties also advised the Court of discovery disputes in a number of individual cases. The Court directed the party raising the issue to submit a letter brief to the Court, with the opposing party to respond ten days later. Additionally, the number of interrogatories permitted in the individual cases will be expanded to 35. Should the need arise, the parties can raise any particular cases requiring additional interrogatories with the Court.

The Court also received an update on the status of mediation of the individual cases. Twenty-six individual cases are still pending. Of those, four involve class representatives. Eight will not be set for mediation. Nine are currently set for mediation and either have been or will be shortly scheduled. Attempts at mediation failed in five cases.

With respect to the Canadian Litigation, the parties informed the Court that they are still waiting for a decision on defendant’s request for permission to appeal. A class has been certified and is moving forward in Quebec.

Approximately twenty cases are still pending in Ramsey County, one of which is set for trial in March 2005.

The next status conference is set for Tuesday, November 16, 2004 at 9:30 a.m.

August 13, 2004

The Court held a status conference at 9:00 a.m. on August 11, 2004.

The parties first reported that defendant has filed a petition writ of mandamus or prohibition or other extraordinary relief and a petition for permission to appeal under rule 23(f)at the Eighth Circuit, and are waiting to hear when the court will consider these matters.

The Court then heard updates on the status of discovery. The parties reached an agreement to extend the discovery deadlines by 60 days. A proposed pretrial order will be submitted to the Court. , The parties then discussed plaintiffs’ request for additional discovery in those individual cases not resolved through mediation. The Court directed the parties to meet and confer to attempt to agree to a presumptive set of interrogatories, but left open the possibility that particular cases might require additional or different interrogatories.

The Court also received an update on the status of the mediations. Of the 39 cases still pending before the Court, the parties have agreed that 10 appear to have been resolved and will be dismissed without prejudice, 8 will not be mediated, 6 are currently set for mediation, 6 will be set for mediation in the near future, and the remainder have not been resolved through mediation and will proceed.

With respect to the Canadian Litigation, the parties informed the Court that they are still waiting for a decision on defendant’s request for permission to appeal. Argument will be heard later this month on defendant’s challenge of the cost award received by plaintiffs.

Approximately 20 cases are still pending in Ramsey County, one of which is set for trial in March 2005.

The Court heard argument on plaintiffs’ motion to compel defendant to respond to an interrogatory and related document request. The Court observed that the parties have different ideas of what information is actually available, and ordered the parties to meet and confer on that question and report back to the Court within 10 days.

The Court also heard argument concerning defendant’s motion to protect the confidentiality of discovery material disclosed in a certain deposition. The parties disagree about how much of the deposition testimony and related documentation is properly designated as confidential. The Court ordered the dispute submitted to Special Master Solum. The cost of resolving the dispute is to be borne by the losing party. The Special Master may apportion the costs.

The parties raised a dispute regarding the issuance of class notice. The parties disagree as to when the class notice should be sent out, and what the notice should include. The Court determined that notice should not be sent out until the Eighth Circuit takes action on the two matters currently before it. In the event that the Circuit decides not to act on those matter, the Court will rule on the notice issues raised by the parties after giving the parties an opportunity to raise any additional issues.

The next status conference is set for Wednesday, October 6, 2004 at 9:00 a.m.

June 22, 2004

The Court held a status conference at 9:00 a.m. on June 22, 2004.

The Court first heard updates on the mediation. A number of cases have been settled, and the Court encourages the parties to continue their good faith efforts to settle appropriate cases.

The parties raised a dispute regarding four depositions; the four individuals have been deposed in related litigation. The Court will permit each of the four witnesses to be deposed for a total of four hours per witness, assuming that all transcripts have been made available at least two weeks before the deposition. If the transcripts are not timely made available, the Court will entertain a motion for additional time to depose.

The parties also raised a dispute regarding an interrogatory served by plaintiffs to which defendant objects. The Court will entertain briefing on this issue, with plaintiffs brief being served within 10 days, and St. Jude Medical's response 10 days thereafter.

The Court heard updates on the Canadian Litigation and the Ramsay County Litigation.

The next status conference is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2004 at 9:00 a.m.

May 13, 2004

The Court heard argument on two pending motion and held a status conference on April 29, 2004.

The Court heard argument on plaintiff's motion for reconsideration and defendant's motion to decertify the consumer fraud class (as well as to remove certain states from the class). Also pending is defendant's motion for permission to file an interlocutory appeal, which was submitted on the papers. The parties also discussed the status of the proposed class notice. The Court will take up the issue of class notice after ruling on the pending motions.

The Court then turned to the status conference, and heard updates on the status of the MDL discovery.

The parties discussed the on-going mediations. The Court requested that the Court be kept apprised of settlement negotiations, and will address additional shifting of fees and expenses if necessary.

The Court heard updates on the Ramsey County litigation and Canadian litigation.

The next status conference was scheduled for June 22, 2004 at 9:30 a.m.

Back To Top

March 18, 2004

The Court held a status conference on March 18, 2004.The Court began by discussing the mediation-related issues. The parties have met with Special Master Carey, and have begun to schedule mediations beginning in April. When possible, the mediations will take place in Minnesota. The majority of plaintiffs in the MDL have agreed to participate in this mediation process. Plaintiffs steering committee ("PSE") is following up on those plaintiffs who have not yet signed up for a mediation date. St. Jude Medical clarified that although many plaintiffs have signed up for mediation dates, there might be cases in which St. Jude does not think mediation is appropriate. Upon idenfiying individual cases that St. Jude Medical determines should not be mediated, St. Jude Medical shall promptly inform the Court and the plaintiffs.

The parties could not reach agreement on how the Special Master would be compensated. The Court ordered that the parties will share expenses, and that St. Jude Medical will reimburse plaintiffs in cases in which there is a successful medication.

The Court also addressed briefing issues in the two outstanding motions, (1) plaintiff's motion for reconsideration and (2) defendant's motion to decertify. The Court will permit St. Jude Medical to file a reply (not a sur-reply) in the decertification motion.

The outstanding motions will be argued on the same day. The Court set a hearing date of April 14, 2004. Since the status conference, that date has been changed, and the new date will be announced as soon as it is determined.

The parties updated the Court on the status of the privilege log, currently under advisement by Special Master Solum.

The parties also updated the Court as to the status of discovery. Discovery was stayed for 45 days following the last status conference. In relation to the stay, the Court also ordered several depositions to be scheduled. It appears that nearly all of those depositions have been scheduled.

St. Jude Medical indicated that it intends to file a request to file a motion for interlocutory appeal of the preemption issue. The Court will permit the filing of the motion for interlocutory appeal, and the motion for interlocutory appeal will be addressed at the same time as the additional outstanding motions.

The Court also addressed a new putative class action complaint that was filed in Ramsey County and removed to this Court. Plaintiffs' attorneys in that case have moved to remand the case to Minnesota State Court. The parties have agreed that St. Jude Medical need not file a response pending the motion for remand, and the Court approved that course of action.

The Court heard updates on the status of the Canadian litigation, and the Ramsey County litigation.

The next status conference will be scheduled as soon after April 14, 2004 as the parties are available. The Court intends to hear argument on all outstanding motions on the day of the next status conference.

February 18, 2004

The Court held a status conference on Thursday, February 12, 2004, in Minneapolis.

The Court first addressed the plaintiffs' pending motion to reconsider. That motion is expected to be fully briefed by mid-March.

St. Jude Medical was given permission to file a motion to decertify the consumer class. St. Jude's brief is due on or before March 9. Plaintiffs will be given three weeks to respond, and any reply will be due within 10 days of the response.

St. Jude Medical also requested a stay or extension of discovery for 90 days. The Court reserved ruling on that request, and will consider it only after the parties agree on a settlement mediator and provide the Court a written plan of how the settlement negotiations will proceed.

The parties updated the Court on the status of the privilege log dispute.

The parties also discussed the status of the medical monitoring claim, and in particular, the scheduling of 9 depositions. The Court ordered that the scheduling of the depositions should go forward, and if necessary, will set a date certain by which the depositions must be scheduled.

The Court next heard a discussion of the "Two Track Schedule", referring to the medical monitoring claim proceeding separately from the consumer fraud action. Plaintiffs submitted a trial plan, and a proposed notice to class members. St. Jude was ordered to submit any objections to the notice to the class within 10 days of the hearing, and the plaintiffs will then have an opportunity to address those concerns. St. Jude's response to the trial plan will not be due until the Court has been fully briefed on St. Jude's motion to decertify the consumer fraud class. The Court will announce a more certain date in a later opinion.

The parties discussed the appointment of an end game committee and settlement mediator. The end game committee members have been tentatively determined. The parties voiced some disagreement about the scope of the committee. The parties expect to select a settlement mediator shortly. The parties voiced some disagreement about the scope of the settlement mediator's role, and whether the mediator's role will include both MDL and individual claims. The parties were ordered to meet and confer on the role of the mediator.

Also discussed was the status of the escrow account, and whether aggregate, or individual amounts would be reported. The Court will address that issue as soon as possible.

The Court heard updates on the Canadian and Ramsey County litigation.

The next status conference will be held March 18, at 11 a.m. in the Minneapolis Courthouse.

January 27, 2004

The Court held a status conference on January 16, 2004.

The parties discussed discovery matters, including the status of privilege log documents and plaintiffs' requested discovery of certain depositions.

The Court heard updates on the status of the Canadian litigation, as well as the Ramsey County litigation.

Plaintiffs suggested the formation of an "end game" committee, and defendants agreed to discuss the possible formation of such a committee.

The parties addressed the plaintiffs' request for discovery of depositions taken in related state court cases. The Court ruled that the depositions at issue shall be produced to the plaintiffs in all cases in which there is no protective order or seal on the deposition or the case as a whole.

The Court also addressed plaintiffs' three-part motion to reconsider the Court's ruling regarding sub-class certification of the plaintiffs' medical monitoring claims. The Court granted the motion as it related to plaintiffs' request to add Illinois to the subclass, and granted the motion as it requested that the Court reconsider its decision regarding a class of plaintiffs suffering "subcellular" injuries. The Court issued a briefing schedule, with plaintiffs' brief due two weeks from the date of the hearing, and defendant's response due two weeks from receipt of the plaintiffs' materials; and the plaintiffs' reply due three days after receipt of the response. The Court denied plaintiffs' motion as it related to reinstating the class certification for the personal injury class. The Court also noted, in relation to the subclass certification, that the defendant will have an opportunity in the future to suggest that the Court add or subtract certain states from the conditionally certified subclasses.

The Court ordered the parties to meet and confer to attempt to agree on a settlement master. The meet and confer process must be completed before the next status conference.

The Court ordered the parties to meet and confer to discuss the possibility of proceeding with trial of the certified consumer fraud class.

The Court ordered the parties to meet and confer regarding the establishment of an "end game" committee.

The next status conference is set for February 12 at 10 a.m., in Minneapolis.

November 21, 2003

The Court held a status conference by telephone on the morning of November 19, 2003.

The parties reviewed the pending motions, including St. Jude's motion for summary judgment, the motion regarding certification of sub-classes, and the defendant's request for clarification of the Court's Order regarding the classification of privilege log documents and plaintiffs' related request for appointment of a special master. Those matters continue to be under advisement, and the Court will issue written orders as soon as possible.

The parties will meet and confer and adjust the pretrial schedule, and will provide the Court with an amended pretrial order reflecting necessary modifications.

Plaintiffs have requested discovery of certain depositions from related state court proceedings. The parties will meet and confer, and if necessary, the Court will order expedited briefing (according to the schedule set at the hearing) to address this discovery request.

The Court heard updates on the Canadian and Ramsey County Litigation.

The next status conference will be held in mid-January, with a specific date to be determined.

October 22, 2003

A status conference was held on October 14, 2003 at 1:30.

The Court heard argument on the fifty-state subclass issue, and on the request for clarification of its ruling on the release of various documents from the privilege log.

The Court took both issues under advisement. Also under advisement is St. Jude's motion for summary judgment based on preemption.

The Court also heard updates on the Canadian litigation, as well as the Ramsey County litigation.

There were no urgent, last minute items.

The next status conference is set for November 17, 2003 at 1:30.

August 28, 2003

The Court held a status conference today.

A hearing date of October 14 was set for the next status conference. At that time, the Court will also hear argument on the sub-class. Briefing on the sub-class certification issue will be complete within approximately the next two weeks.

The Court is considering plaintiffs request that a class action notice be sent out immediately; there will be no briefing on this issue.

The Court completed its in-camera inspection of a representative group of documents from St. Jude Medical's privilege log. The parties will meet and confer to reach agreement on the remaining documents.

The Court heard updates of the Ramsey County and Canadian litigation.

April 2, 2003

The Court held a Status Conference:

The hearing on defendant's motion for summary judgment on the issue of preemption will be rescheduled for the week of May 12, 2003.

A schedule was established for briefing on the Court's conditional order for class certification.

The Court will sign an Order to Show Cause why Sulzer Carbometics, Inc. should not be held in contempt for failing to obey a subpoena.

The Court ordered that the deposition of James Ladner shall proceed despite any stipulated 60-day stay in discovery. The Court encouraged the parties to create a list of subjects to be covered in that deposition.

The Court will issue an Order appointing Richard B. Solum as special master for the Ladner deposition.

The Court will grant defendant's motion for a protective order requiring the return of inadvertently produced documents. The parties will draft a proposed order and submit it to the Court.

The Court will advise the parties when it has reached a full ruling on the disputed privilege log matters.

February 13, 2003

The Court held a status conference:

Plaintiffs' motion to compel the deposition of James Ladner - The Court ordered that Mr. Ladner shall be produced for no more than three additional hours of testimony. The deposition will be supervised by a special master, to be appointed by the Court. The parties may, if they wish, submit a list of subjects to be addressed in the deposition.

Privileve Log - The Court determined that defendant shall be allowed to submit additional explanations for items on the log, after which the parties shall meet and confer to try narrowing the representative items challenged by plaintiffs. If necessary, the Court will review these representative items in camera.

Inadvertently Produced Documents - The Court will await defendant's motion to compel return of these documents.

Plaintiffs' Request for St. Jude Personnel Files - Plaintiffs shall submit a formal request for the documents it wants, noting the specific information it seeks from which files, including a time frame. Defendant shall have the opportunity seek a protective order if it feels the request is too broad.

January 23, 2003

The Court held a status conference.

The parties discussed their dispute regarding the deposition of James Ladner, the discovery privilege log, and documents inadvertently produced by St. Jude. The parties will continue to meet and confer on these matters, and will advise the Court on their status within one week.

December 16, 2002

The Court held a status conference via telephone.

The Court approved the parties' proposal for briefing on St. Jude's motion for summary judgment on pre-emption: Plaintiffs' Opposition due 3/31/03; St. Jude's Reply on 4/4/03. Hearing will be held the week of April 7, 2003.

The parties will prepare a pre-trial order stipulating to an extension of the pre-emption discovery deadline by 90 days.

The Court reviewed in camera the document Bates labeled SJM1790422104, and ruled that the document should not be redacted.

The Court accepted St. Jude's proposal that Plaintiffs' expert Dr. Wilson travel to Minneapolis to inspect the EPIC Valve Animal Study Pathology Slides, and will subsequently be permitted to take slides back with him to study.

Next status conference: January 22, 2003. 12:30 pm in Courtroom 13E of the U.S. Courthouse in Minneapolis.

November 13, 2002

The Court held a status conference.

Outstanding discovery matters were addressed.

The parties agreed to allow defendant's classification designation to remain on four documents.

The Court instructed defendant to provide copies of certain deposition transcripts to plaintiffs at plaintiffs' expense.

October 2, 2002

The Court heard argument on plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification, and took the motion under advisement.

September 24, 2002

The Court held a status conference by telephone.

The court heard plaintiffs' objection to defendant's sur-reply, and defendant's supplementary objections to evidence. The Court will allow the sur-reply. The Court will also review defendant's supplementary objections to evidence, and advise the plaintiffs if the Court wishes them to respond.

Protocol for the hearing on plaintiffs' motion for class certification was discussed. Each side will have 1 hour for argument.

Cross-noticing of depositions with Ramsey County (Minn.) state cases was discussed. The Court directed that such depositions should be cross-noticed, but not until after October 15, 2002. Counsel shall notify and coordinate with MDL plaintiffs' counsel to arrange scheduling of depositions.

Problems with third party discovery in the Western District of Texas was discussed. The Court directed that any discovery disputes should henceforth be resolved in this Court.

The parties discussed efforts to maintain confidentiality of MDL documents filed under seal.

August 27, 2002

The Court held a status conference:

Coordination with Canadian Actions - The Court conferred with Mr. James Newland, lead plaintiffs' counsel in the Canadian actions.

Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification

The hearing on plaintiffs' motion was rescheduled. New date: Wed., Oct. 2 10:00 am

The Court ordered plaintiffs to re-file their Reply Brief on Class Certification with no more than 50 pages. Defendants were granted a sur-reply, not to go outside the bound of issues discussed in the reply. Both parties will receive the same total number of pages.

Merits Discovery Issues

The parties reached agreement on a protocol for plaintiffs' experts to examine pathology slides.

The Court denied plaintiffs' motion to compel testimony of current and former Spire employees.

The parties discussed the issue of third party subpoenas, and the Court determined that it will permit the use of subpoenas from the Western District of Texas where appropriate.

Discovery on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment on Preemption

The Court will permit discovery as proposed by plaintiffs, and defer ruling on the motion for summary judgment.

The Court requested a status report on this discovery in November.

The parties agreed to permit two days of depositions on three witnesses who are relevant to both preemption and general merits: Flory, Billingsworth, and Tweeden.

Status of Pretrial Orders - Parties have agreed on orders regarding case-specific discovery and designation and deposition of generic experts.

Coordination with State Litigation

State Counsel Liaison Patrick Murphy gave his report.

Ramsey County Judge Bjorkman has been reassigned; appointment of a new judge is pending.

July 24, 2002

The Court held a status conference:

Motion on Class Certification - The schedule was discussed. Plaintiffs' reply brief is due August 16.

Status of Merits Discovery - Defendant has produced 90% of requested documents. Defendant represents that nearly 100% of documents will be produced within 30-45 days.

Production of St. Jude's foreign marketing materials for the Silzone valve was discussed. The Court asked the parties to brief this issue, and to include a survey of what kind of such materials exist.

Parties have agreed that discovery, except for case-specific and possible expert discovery, will conclude by February 3, 2003.

Preemption Discovery - Plaintiffs have proposed that preemption depositions should not take away from time allotted for merits depositions on the same individuals. Defendants will respond to this proposal within two weeks; plaintiffs will reply by August 21.

Common Benefit Fund Pretrial Order - The Court determined, and the parties agreed, that defendant will provide semi-annual reports to the Plaintiffs' Executive Committee on the common benefit fund balance. Defendant will make such reports to the Court on a bimonthly basis. Plaintiffs may petition the Court to learn the balance if they feel it is necessary. The first reports shall be submitted by January 1, 2003.

Report of State Liaison Counsel - State plaintiffs' liaison counsel Patrick Murphy will attend a status conference with Ramsey County Judge Bjorkman on July 25, 2002.

The Court presented its draft letter to state court judges, and made changed per the parties' suggestions.

Web Site - The Court presented draft language for the "Introduction" section to the website, and made changes per the parties' suggestions.

Coordination with Canadian Cases - The Court asked defendant to send a quarterly letter to the Court with updates on the status of the Canadian cases.

Back To Top

June 25, 2002

The Court signed Pretrial Order No. 17, prohibiting St. Jude from contacting putative class members.

The Court held a Status Conference:

The Court denied plaintiffs' motion to strike St. Jude's objections to plaintiffs' expert evidence. The court noted that although it will not evaluate plaintiffs' expert evidence under Daubert v. Merril Dow Pharmaceuticals, it will carefully scrutinize the evidence to ensure that it supports plaintiffs' motion for class certification.

The Court denied plaintiffs' motion to strike the declaration of defendant's expert, Dr. Judith Jones.

The Court determined that plaintiffs' shall be given additional time to respond to Dr. Jones' evidence. This requires pushing the hearing on plaintiffs' motion for class certification to September.

Call certification hearing is now scheduled for Tuesday, September 10,

The July 10 status conference is cancelled.

Next status conference will be July 25. At that conference, parties and the Court will discuss a schedule for the remainder of the case.

The following status conference was scheduled for August 27.

May 14, 2002

The Court held a status conference:

The Court denied defendant's request to require 10-day advance production of deposition exhibits for merits discovery.

The Court will permit defendant to file its pre-emption motion. Defendant anticipates filing this motion around June 7. Plaintiffs shall respond within 45 days pursuant to Rule 56(f). This response shall be limited to a description of what discovery plaintiffs anticipate will be necessary to fully respond to the pre-emption motion. Defendant will then have the opportunity to reply. The Court noted that the pre-emption motion shall not delay the scheduled beginning of general merits discovery.

The parties have reached agreement on contacting former patients about this litigation. When contacted by patients, St. Jude will send a hard copy of the Court's MDL web site for this litigation.

The Court will review proposed changes in language to the "Introduction" to the Court's MDL web site, and make a determination.

State Liaison Counsel presented a draft letter for the Court to send to state courts handling similar cases.

The next status conference is scheduled for Tuesday, June 25, at 12:30 pm, in Judge Tunheim's courtroom.

A conference to discuss presentations on the motion for class certification is scheduled for Wednesday, July 10, at 12:30 pm in Judge Tunheim's courtroom.

April 24, 2002

The Court signed Pre-Trial Order No. 15, establishing a briefing schedule for plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification.

The Court held a Status Conference, at which the following occurred:

Patrick Murphy, State Liaison Counsel, tendered his report.

After reading the briefs and hearing argument on redactions in documents relating to St. Jude's Medical Expense Reimbursement Program (MERP), the Court ordered that St. Jude eliminate redactions concerning the identities of hospitals and other health care providers.

After reading the briefs and hearing argument on bifurcation of merits discovery, the Court ordered that merits discovery shall not be bifurcated.

The Court ordered that plaintiffs shall be limited to twenty (20) depositions of identified individuals, including former St. Jude employees. The Court also ordered that fact depositions shall be limited to no more than seven (7) hours of actual examination. These limits may be revisited if they prove to be impracticable.

March 19, 2002

The Court held Status Conference No. 3, in which the following occurred:

Pleadings and Depositions – The parties provided an update on the status of the pleadings, as well as the status of depositions of class representatives, St. Jude Medical employees, and others.

Order Prohibiting St. Jude Medical from Communicating with Putative Class Members – The Court approved a pre-trial order prohibiting St. Jude Medical from communicating with putative class members, and prospectively requiring St. Jude Medical to notify explant patients of this litigation, and to receive permission from patients to test valves that are explanted in the future.

Appointment of State Liaison Committee – The Court signed PTO #12, appointing Mr. Patrick Murphy to coordinate the activities of this litigation with actions in various state courts. The Court directed Mr. Murphy to produce a report on what the committee’s duties will be, how it will proceed, and whether the Court should communicate with state courts.

Miscellaneous Pretrial Orders – The Court signed PTO #11, which governs notice and information-sharing for depositions. The parties have also reached agreement on orders governing the sharing of information between Canada and the United States and revising dates in PTO #2.

Discovery: The Court directed the parties to provide briefing on the extent to which St. Jude Medical must disclose the names of physicians who have performed various echocardiograms.

Web Site: The Court’s web site for this litigation was previewed and discussed. The Court will include the parties’ Joint Status Reports on the site. The site will be publicly available no later than April 1, 2002.

Next Status Conference – The parties will confer to schedule the next conference, to be held by telephone. The next live status conference will be in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 14, 2002, at 9 a.m.

Back To Top

February 25, 2002

The Court held a telephone conference to address plaintiffs’ motion to compel defendant to answer plaintiffs’ First Set of Interrogatories Regarding Class Action Issues. These interrogatories asked defendant to state facts and identify documents supporting various denials in defendant’s Answer. Defendant objected to several of the interrogatories.

The Court granted plaintiff’s motion to the following extent:

(1) defendant must disclose the facts supporting its denials

(2) defendant must identify and disclose documents that support its claims;

(3) defendant must identify lay and expert witnesses when those witnesses become known to defendant.

The Court ordered that defendant has until March 8, 2002 to comply with this order.

February 11, 2002

The Court held Status Conference No. 2, in which the following occurred:

The caption was amended to include St. Jude Medical, S.C. as a party, and to correct a spelling error.

The pending class action suits of plaintiffs Maronen, Macolly, Fabre, and McFadden will remain active until defendant can obtain relevant medical records. When the Court determines that defendant will not be prejudiced in this effort, those cases will be dismissed in light of the Master Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint.

The Court issued Pretrial Order No. 8.

Plaintiff Ronald Linker’s motions to remand to the District of South Carolina and to videotape his deposition were held in abeyance until the Court receives up-to-date information on Mr. Linker’s medical condition.

The parties discussed plaintiff’s subpoena to the Food and Drug Administration. This discussion led to Pretrial Order No. 9.

The Court gave the parties 30 days to submit a new Draft Pretrial Order No. 6.

The Court ordered the parties to meet and confer on crafting an order regarding confidentiality and the similar pending case in Canada.

The deadline for joinder of additional parties was moved ahead 30 days.

The Court decided to allow plaintiffs to conduct depositions on issues of commonality and typicality. The plaintiff ordered the parties to meet and confer on who will be deposed and on a procedure for the depositions.

The Court ordered the parties to meet and confer on the issue of preserving explanted heart valves.

December 10, 2001

The Court held its first status conference. The parties discussed pending Rule 26F reports, upcoming depositions, electronic documents, and other discovery and scheduling matters. The state court cases and pending Canadian cases were discussed regarding discovery of these related cases. The Court also asked parties to submit a report regarding prospective attorneys’ fees.

December 4, 2001

The Court held its initial conference. Parties selected their prospective lead and liaison counsel. Initial procedures, schedules, and deadlines were discussed.

Back To Top