CAFA Does Not Apply to State Mass Tort Action, Says 9th Circuit

The Ninth Circuit recently held that a coordinated mass tort action can remain in California state court despite the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA). The reason was that the plaintiffs– approximately 1,500 of them– wanted to join their cases for discovery and pretrial purposes only.
Ninth Circ 10-17-2013.jpgCAFA requires mass actions to be litigated in federal court when there are at least 100 individuals seeking monetary damages. However, the law also provides that the plaintiffs propose joint trial, based on common questions of law and fact. Because these plaintiffs did not request a joint trial, but only coordinated discovery and pretrial matters, the cases could not be removed to federal court under CAFA.
The coordinated actions were brought in California state court against the makers of propoxyphene, an ingredient in Darvon and Darvocet. The plaintiffs are alleging that the drug caused them to suffer various heart problems and other serious ailments. The drugs were removed from the market upon FDA recommendations in 2010. The FDA was prompted by clinical data showing that propoxyphene created a risk of potentially fatal heart rhythm abnormalities.
Other Darvocet and Darvon cases are currently pending in an multi-district litigation in the Eastern District of Kentucky.
If you have suffered serious heart problems while taking Darvon, Darvocet, or another drug containing propoxyphene, the attorneys at Jones Ward PLC would be happy to discuss your rights with you. Please contact attorney R. Lauren Horner at lauren@jonesward.com for more information.