September 16, 2014 — USPLabs, LLC, the manufacturer of OxyElite Pro and Jack3D, has been hit with dozens of additional lawsuits in the last few months and they have asked judges to reconsider centralizing the litigation in federal court.
USPLabs originally asked judges to create a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in January 2014. At the time, there were nine lawsuits involving dozens of plaintiffs pending in seven district courts, three of which were class actions.
The Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (JPML) denied the original petition in April 2014. The judges found that the lawsuits did not have significantly overlapping discovery because injuries involved two different formulations of OxyElite Pro (one with Aegeline and another with DMAA) and another product, Jack3D. The panel also noted that the class actions presented unique challenges, especially considering that USPLabs settled a false-advertising class action in 2012.
Since January, an additional 12 personal injury lawsuits have been filed by 40 plaintiffs in four separate district courts. Five of those lawsuits were filed in the last month by 32 plaintiffs. All of the new claims involve OxyElite Pro. In total, there are 46 personal injury plaintiffs involved in 17 lawsuits. Of these plaintiffs, 44 claim to have suffered liver damage and two plaintiffs claim to have had cardiac arrest.
On September 11, USPLabs filed a new motion (PDF) to establish a MDL. They are requesting either the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (San Diego) or the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas (Dallas). USPLabs is located in Dallas and two primary defendants are located in California. San Diego provides a central location for lawsuits that span from Hawaii to Florida. USPLabs is not asking the JPML to centralize the three class action lawsuits.
The MDL process is designed to reduce the burden on individual parties, their attorney, judges, and the court system by structuring the proceeding and distributing the workload. Otherwise, parties must duplicate discovery and undergo multiple depositions. The MDL also eliminates the risk of conflicting rulings in different courts.
As the litigation proceeds, lawyers will choose certain cases for “bellwether” trials. Lawyers use these trials to gauge how a jury will respond to evidence, which can help expedite settlements or other resolutions in other lawsuits.
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