May 23, 2022 Update: The baby formula NEC clas action lawsuit in the Northern District of Illinois (In re: Abbott Laboratories, et al., Preterm Infant Nutrition Prod. Liab. Lit.- MDL No. 3026) is officially underway. Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer has been assigned to the MDL class action. The judge held her opening status conference last week on May 19. Within the next two weeks, Judge Pallmeyer is expected to announce her selections for the plaintiffs’ Lead Counsel, Liaison Counsel and leadership committee. A total of 52 cases are pending in the MDL as of May 16, 2022. That number is expected to triple by next month.
May 4, 2022 Update: There are now three baby formula class action lawsuits. There is a baby formula NEC class action in federal court. Illinois state court also has roped off NEC lawsuits lawsuits filed in that state from all over the country. We also have a Similac recall class action lawsuit that does not involve NEC. All three pieces of litigation are moving forward.
April 11, 2022 Update: We now have an NEC baby formula class action lawsuit in federal court. The JPML issued a transfer order which consolidates all pending NEC infant formula lawsuits into a new mass tort MDL: In re: Abbott Laboratories, et al., Preterm Infant Nutrition Products Liab. Lit. (MDL No. 3026). The NEC formula MDL has been assigned to Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer, Chief Judge of the Northern District of Illinois. Illinois was the venue preferred by the plaintiffs' NEC baby formula lawyers. The defendants (Abbott and Mead Johnson) were ironically pushing to leave their home state and put the MDL NEC class action in Connecticut. Now every NEC infant formula lawsuit in federal court will be transferred into the MDL for consolidated pretrial proceedings.
April 1, 2022 Update: Just over 40 NEC formula lawsuits have been filed against Mead and Abbott in federal courts over the last year. Twelve of these NEC lawsuits in federal court were filed in March 2022. As we discuss below, there is also a mini-class action NEC lawsuit in Illinois.
March 31, 2022 Update: The Supreme Court of Illinois previously granted the request to consolidate a group of about 20 NEC formula cases pending in Illinois state courts before a single judge (Dennis Ruth) in Circuit Court for Madison County. This effectively created a mini-MDL NEC class action lawsuit at the state court level. Now, however, Abbott is seeking to have the consolidated cases transferred from Madison County to either Cook County (Chicago) or Lake County, under the doctrine of forum nonconveniens (inconvenient forum).
Why do you care about the Illinois baby formula lawsuits if you live in California, Texas, New York, or any other state outside of Illinois? Because many NEC baby formula lawsuits will file lawsuits in Illinois even if the claim arose in another jurisdiction.
March 1, 2022 Update: It looks like an NEC baby formula class action lawsuit that will house all federal court NEC lawsuits is coming. The only question is whether the class action will be housed in Connecticut or Illinois.
Last week, Mead Johnson, the maker of Enfamil, advised the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) that it was in favor of consolidating the NEC lawsuits into a new NEC MDL class action. In January 2022, Abbott, the manufacturer of Similac, filed a petition with the JPML requesting the formation of a new MDL for the consolidation of all NEC infant formula lawsuits in the federal courts.
Abbott's attorneys are requesting the District of Connecticut, while lawyers for NEC plaintiffs' lawyers favor the Northern District of Illinois where Abbott is headquartered.