The Drug and Device Law Blog writes whines about inadequate fact sheets in the Yaz Yasmin MDL.
Plaintiff Fact Sheets are basically questionnaires that serve as interrogatories in mass tort cases. In the Yaz/Yasmin cases and other MDLs, they are really agreed upon case specific interrogatories. If nothing else, fact sheets cut through the bickering of what defendants may legitimately ask. They could call them “agreed upon interrogatories” and it would mean the same thing.
Echoing this otherwise excellent Drug and Device Law Blog’s trite and tired leitmotif – those lazy, greedy plaintiffs’ lawyers! — the post gripes:
The goal for the other side in MDL litigation is to file as many complaints as possible and after that do as little work as possible – while waiting around for the almost inevitable settlement, be it large or small. Thus, MDL plaintiffs want only one-way discovery. Their side gets to discover the living daylights out of our clients, and drive up our expenses to the maximum extent possible. But our side doesn’t get anything more than pieces of paper called “questionnaires” or “fact sheets.”
The reality is that when a plaintiff does provide meaningful responses, mass tort defendants applaud the effort by beating them down over every last detail. And, oh my, if plaintiff’s fact sheet triggers something like defendant has to provide shipping records or any other obligation, it will NEVER be good enough. “Dear Counsel, your Plaintiff’s Fact Sheet is incomplete because you did not tell us who your doctor was in the eighth grade when you broke your leg.”
As for the crack about trying to run up a defendant’s costs – please! Mass tort defendants act like they have money to burn.
This post makes one charge that sticks. Mass tort lawyers are overly inclusive in their criteria to make a claim so they just stick every prospect in the MDL and hope for a settlement that overpays them. This is invariably going to be true: it only takes one lawyer to pull together and file the fringe cases. But defendants have an easy solution to this problem: don’t pay settlements on cases that lack merit. This does everyone a favor. It leaves more in the kitty for worthy plaintiffs and dissuades mass tort lawyers from bringing claims without merit.