Judge William H. Orrick held the Initial Status Conference for the Juul MDL on Friday, November 8th. Prior to that conference he stated that he had a “sense of urgency in moving this case forward. The allegations are very serious and raise significant public health concerns. My expectation is that all parties share this sense of urgency and will move forward together in a speedy, collaborative, and efficient manner to secure a just resolution of these cases.”
He appointed interim leadership for the plaintiffs, although he has said these appointments do not guarantee selection for final leadership. The primary role of the interim leadership team will be to address preliminary discovery issues, such as the protective order, ESI protocol, selection of necessary vendors and the discovery planning that can occur before the final leadership team is in place.
The interim leadership team consists of Sarah London of Lieff Cabraser Heiman & Bernstein; Dena Sharp of Girard Sharp; Ellen Relkin of Weitz & Luxenberg; and Dean Kawamoto of Keller Rohrback.
More than 40 lawyers appeared during the hearing, presenting their qualifications for leadership. Judge Orrick heard from lawyers representing individual plaintiffs, school districts, state and local governments, as well as those leading class actions.
Final leadership is not expected to be announced until after the Court is informed of the results of the initial census, with Judge Orrick saying he would “not be able to knowledgably balance the selection of lawyers in light of the numbers, types, and scope of the cases within the MDL” until he had that information. At Judge Orrick’s request, Jamie Dodge of the Institute for Complex Litigation and Mass Claims at Emory University School of Law will assist with the initial census.