LNL – Two added to settlement talks in Zyprexa cases

A federal judge wants two more states to get busy settling their lawsuits against Eli Lilly & Co.

U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein added Idaho and Minnesota to the list of states to be watched by special master Michael Rozen, who is overseeing settlement talks in cases brought by states involving the company’s prescription anti-psychotic Zyprexa.

Weinstein wrote that federal courts and state courts must coordinate on similar cases. States with suits pending in state courts are Arkansas, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Utah.

“As a matter of comity and pursuant to national judicial policy promoting cooperation between federal and state courts dealing with closely related litigations, the Special Settlement Master is now authorized and encouraged to help coordinate the work of this court with that of state courts before which related attorney general cases are now pending,” Weinstein wrote.

Idaho’s and Minnesota’s suits are now before Weinstein, who is also presiding over suits brought by Mississippi, West Virginia, Louisiana, New Mexico, Montana and Connecticut.

Instead, the 12 attorneys general are asking for a total exceeding $1 billion, according to court documents.

“While most states have settled their cases against Lilly for a few million dollars each, the states with cases now pending in this court — Connecticut, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico and West Virginia — are seeking, on essentially the same theories and evidence, many billions of dollars in damages in fines,” Weinstein wrote.

Bailey Perrin Bailey of Houston is representing Mississippi. The firm donated $50,000 to state Attorney General Jim Hood in 2007.

Legal Newsline