Zantac litigation is continuing to move slowly forward. Thousands of claimants are waiting patiently as the wheels of justice proceed. According to a recent calendar released by the court, the parties are choosing potential bellwether cases.
What is a bellwether case?
The term bellwether has an interesting history. It is connected to terminology used when herding sheep. The person in charge of the herd chooses a male sheep, known as the wether, to lead the flock. This shepherd puts a bell on the chosen wether — and, the leader of the group was known as the bellwether.
A bellwether case serves much the same purpose. There are many Zantac user victims filing lawsuits. The issues they all have are very similar. Bellwether cases are kind of like a type of test run. The court will be choosing a handful of these people to represent the issues that thousands of people are raising with their Zantac lawsuits. The outcome from bellwether cases will help the parties on both sides of the lawsuits assess their chances of winning other cases.
The future of the Zantac lawsuits
As discussed in more detail in a previous post, available here, researchers found a connection between Zantac use and an increased likelihood of cancer. Those who developed cancer after using the popular heartburn medicine have been filing lawsuits against the makers of the antacid, stating the exposure to such a dangerous level of the carcinogen caused their cancer.
There are many steps before the bellwether cases move forward. Although discussions of potential bellwether cases have begun, the court notes that it will need to select expert witnesses and complete the discovery process before it reviews the final list of people who will be involved in the bellwether cases. The fate of these cases will help others get a better idea of how their cases will ultimately be resolved.