The legal minds at imPaneled have recently been wrestling with weighty issues going to the Panel’s administration of justice. But it’s a Friday afternoon in August, so those issues will have to await another post. The spotlight today falls on the comedy highlights from the Portland Panel courtroom–none of which are quite on a par with the highlights from the above-quoted proceedings in a fictional Alabama courtroom. But Their Honors and the Panel bar still get an “A” for effort.
Blair Hahn of Richardson Patrick scored comedy points in Portland, when he suggested that the cases comprising MDL 2459, In re Lipitor Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, should be centralized in a southern court because the South is “the Diabetes Belt.” Their Honors, however, were more impressed with the fact that relatively few cases are pending in light of Lipitor’s long-time and wide-spread use, and denied the motion accordingly.
In MDL 2454, In re Franck’s Lab, Inc., Products Liability Litigation, Their Honors had much to say about defense counsel’s efforts to compress ten minutes worth of argument into two minutes, repeatedly chiding him for speaking too quickly. Judge Breyer (“You must be compensated by the page.”) and Chief Judge Heyburn (“You should do disclaimers on TV ads.”) were most creative to that end. But Franck’s Lab had the last laugh, as the Panel granted its motion.
MDL 2460, In re Niaspan Antitrust Litigation, for now falls in the “mystery” rather than “comedy” category, as Their Honors still have not issued an order in that proceeding, a week after otherwise completing their Portland clean-up. Perhaps certain candidates for the MDL prize have temporarily vacated their chambers for cooler climes in the August heat, and haven’t been taking Their Honors calls.
Finally, imPaneled cannot help but take a bow for nailing our prediction as to MDL 2457, In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010 (No. II). After allowing the red light in the courtroom to glow longer than any outside of Amsterdam during Dan Becnel’s Panel-record length oral argument, Their Honors rebuffed his novel effort to create a new MDL from opt-outs and assorted scraps of MDL 2179, In re Oil Spill (blah blah blah) . . . . And–just like imPaneled–they gave a shout-out* to Elizabeth Cabraser for her able defense of the existing MDL. Is that “comedy”? Perhaps not to you. But we had a nice chuckle in a “great minds think alike” kind of way.
More to come next week, when imPaneled will finally shed its Portland-centric posture.
* – The above should not be construed as a blanket endorsement of 21st century colloquialism in scholarly legal writing such as imPaneled.