U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga, who is handling the consolidated Fixodent and Super PoliGrip lawsuits filed over zinc poisoning from denture creams, issued an order designating lawyers to serve in leadership positions in the MDL, or Multidistrict litigation. These denture cream lawyers will perform services that benefit all of the plaintiffs involved in the litigation during the pretrial proceedings.
On June 9, 2009, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation centralized all federal denture cream lawsuits before Judge Altonaga in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, for coordinated discovery and pretrial litigation.
All of the complaints involve similar allegations that the plaintiffs have suffered severe injuries caused by denture cream zinc poisoning when high amounts of zinc entered their body from the use of Fixodent or Super PoliGrip adhesives. The increased zinc levels in the body can cause copper depletion, known as hypocupremia, which is known to cause permanent neurological problems like neuropathy, numbness, tingling, pain, weakness, loss of sensation, loss of balance, paralysis and difficulty breathing.
According to a Case Management Order issued July 13, 2009, Judge Altonaga appointed two denture cream attorneys, Andy Alonso and Scott Weinstein, to serve as Co-Lead Counsel for all plaintiffs. These attorneys will act as the spokespersons for all plaintiffs at pretrial proceedings and in response to inquiries from the court. They will also be the attorneys who will submit and argue motions, examine witnesses at hearings and negotiate stipulations and potential settlements with the defendants, which would apply to all cases.
The court also appointed 10 lawyers to serve on a Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC), who will share in the responsibilities for conducting discovery and other work that has the common benefit for all plaintiffs.
There are currently at least 18 individual cases consolidated before Judge Altonaga, including 14 Super PoliGrip lawsuits against GlaxoSmithKline PLC and 4 Fixodent Lawsuits against Proctor & Gamble. In addition, as denture cream lawyers throughout the United States file additional cases in various federal districts throughout the country, they will be transferred to the Southern District of Florida for pretrial proceedings.
Although the lawsuits are consolidated in an MDL, each of the cases remain individual claims and will be returned back to the court where they were originally filed for trial if they cases to do not settle or otherwise resolve during pretrial litigation.
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