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Corporate defendants rack up wins in "test" trials

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Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-31-11 12:58 PM
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Corporate defendants rack up wins in "test" trials
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A string of courtroom victories by drugmakers in key product-liability trials could be a signal that these and other companies can beat back claims in upcoming cases against them.

..//..Bellwether cases are sample trials ordered by judges in situations where hundreds or thousands of plaintiffs have similar claims consolidated before a single state or federal court. Typically, a judge chooses a few individual lawsuits to proceed ahead of the rest. As their name suggests, the result of these battles can be predictive.

A win by the defendant might prompt settlements or spur plaintiffs to drop other cases.

..//..The defense also has an advantage, they argue, because the bellwether process can drag on for years and defendants have become adept at slowing down individual trials by filing procedural requests with the courts.

This favors defendants, who typically can afford to bankroll protracted litigation, said Paul Pennock of Weitz & Luxenberg, a plaintiff's attorney.


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