Jurisdiction Multidistrict Litigation.

AuthorHawkins, Derek
PositionVictoria Looper, et al., v. Cook Incorporated, et al.

Byline: Derek Hawkins

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Victoria Looper, et al., v. Cook Incorporated, et al.,

Case No.: 20-3103

Officials: KANNE, HAMILTON, and ST. EVE, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Jurisdiction Multidistrict Litigation

These two consolidated appeals raise issues about how the common practice of "direct filing" in multidistrict litigation may affect the choice of law in individual cases within the larger MDL. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation asked Judge Richard L. Young of the Southern District of Indiana to oversee a multidistrict litigation docket to coordinate discovery and other pretrial proceedings in thousands of medical product-liability suits against Cook Incorporated and related entities alleging that Cook's inferior vena cava (IVC) filters were defective. See 28 U.S.C. 1407.

In these appeals, plaintiffs Victoria Looper and Sammie Lambert filed their lawsuits directly in the MDL court in Indiana rather than filing in the states where they lived and had the IVC filters implanted and then waiting for their cases to be "tagged" and transferred by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. Cook moved to dismiss both cases based on Indiana's two-year statute of limitations for personal injury actions. Looper's and Lambert's home states (South Carolina and Mississippi) have three-year statutes. If the South Carolina and Mississippi statutes apply, their cases were timely. If the Indiana statute governs, as Cook argues and the district court held, Looper and Lambert filed their cases too late.

The appeals raise questions that have broad implications for MDL courts that endorse direct filing for the sake of efficiency. The dispute here shows the need for care and clarity up front in adopting direct filing. In these appeals, however, we do not need to reach...

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