In a recent ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit determined that plaintiffs’ lawyers who settled cases outside of the consolidated proceeding in the Bard IVC Filters Product Liability Litigation must still honor their agreements to contribute a portion of their fees to the leaders of the multidistrict litigation (MDL).
The 9th Circuit held that by voluntarily participating in the MDL and signing a participation agreement with lead counsel, the plaintiffs’ lawyer subjected himself and his clients to the authority of the MDL judge. This decision potentially impacts approximately 300 cases settled outside of the MDL.
Shannon Clark, of Gallagher & Kennedy, represented the Common Benefit Fees and Costs Committee and lawyers affected by the ruling and emphasized the importance of upholding these agreements, stating, “the court is simply holding an attorney to a deal he made for himself and his clients.” Clark further asserted that allowing an attorney to reap substantial benefits from extensively utilizing work product would be inequitable without shouldering the associated expenses incurred in its creation.
This case underscores the ongoing debate surrounding the jurisdiction and authority of MDL judges in complex litigations, with potential implications for future fee agreements in similar proceedings.
Source: Reuters, Westlaw Today