Shortly before agreeing to the $250 million settlement Fresenius settlement offer, around 300 state claims were consolidated into multidistrict litigation.
The consolidation proceeding made it clear that the warning given on Fresenius’ website was not enough to provide all health care providers with knowledge of GranuFlo’s and NaturaLyte’s side effects.
Prior to news of this settlement, a series of cases were being prepared for bellwether trials.
Bellwether trials are designed to help both sides of a lawsuit gauge how juries may respond to evidence and testimony most likely to be repeated throughout similar cases.
With the settlement offer pending, however, these trials will probably not occur.
Historically, most Plaintiffs opt-in to an offer for settlement as opposed to facing the risk of receiving nothing for their injuries.
The Fresenius settlement offer may be, from the company’s perspective, a very good deal.
Rather than take a risk of a large plaintiff verdict in the first couple bellwether trials, the $250 million payout may be a necessary evil for the company.
Remember, if the terms of the settlement are met, it could mean an average value of $64,500 for each case.
When the settlements are awarded to each plaintiff, some will receive much more than this figure while others could receive nothing if their case faces major legal impediments.
On the other hand, a jury could award much more to single plaintiffs at trial.
Getting out ahead of these bellwether trials prevents plaintiffs from setting a “bar” high, or low, for these cases.
Ultimately, the plaintiff’s attorneys leading the litigation are best able to value the cases.
They must gauge the risks, and costs, involved with proceeding to trial to obtain a larger settlement or run the risk of obtaining much less.