Digitek lawyers suggest four state class actions

By Steve Korris | Apr 9, 2010

CHARLESTON -– Lawyers leading a national class action over economic damage from the recall of heart medicine Digitek prepare to abandon 46 states.

CHARLESTON -– Lawyers leading a national class action over economic damage from the recall of heart medicine Digitek prepare to abandon 46 states.

In March, Fred Thompson of Motley Rice proposed four state actions as an alternative to national action against Mylan Pharmaceuticals and Actavis Totowa.

Thompson advised U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin that he could certify separate class actions under laws of West Virginia, New Jersey, Kansas and Kentucky.

Goodwin presides over hundreds of Digitek suits from federal courts around the nation by appointment of the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi District Litigation.

Suits started in 2008, after Actavis Totowa recalled pills from a New Jersey plant.

Some plaintiffs allege personal injuries, and others seek economic damages.

Dozens of plaintiffs have dismissed suits since defendants found that lawyers filed them without any reasonable basis.

Defense lawyer Richard Dean of Cleveland argued in February that dismissal of so many class claims should cast doubt on those that remain.

Thompson answered, "As one can only speculate as to the reasons why any of those claims were dismissed, the fact of such dismissals is of no probative or substantive value on the merits of class certification."

He attributed many to a campaign of intimidation from the defendants.

He wrote that defendants threatened plaintiffs with sanctions and legal fees if they did not dismiss their cases.

He defended his selection of a Kentucky man as class representative for West Virginia.

"Defendants are wrong in arguing that an out of state resident cannot, under any circumstances, serve as an adequate class representative for residents of a particular state," he wrote.

He wrote that the man could represent West Virginia or Kentucky.

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