U.S. District Court
Western District of Missouri
Introduction: Description of MDL No. 1967
This multidistrict litigation consists of over 25 cases currently pending before this Court. These cases involve allegations concerning Bisphenol-A, or BPA, a synthetic estrogen used to make polycarbonate, or hard, plastics. These plastics were used, among other purposes, to manufacture baby bottles. The plaintiffs allege that BPA is toxic and may lead to cancer, and that BPA is ingested when a bottle’s contents are consumed. The defendants include manufacturers of baby bottles and manufacturers of baby formula; some retailers were originally included as defendants, but they were subsequently dismissed at the plaintiffs’ request. The various complaints assert claims for violation of state consumer protection statutes, fraud, breach of warranty, unjust enrichment, strict product liability, breach of contract and negligence. While BPA is still approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration, most if not all of the baby bottle manufacturers have discontinued (or will soon discontinue) using BPA. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation determined that the BPA cases filed in various courts around the country involved common questions of fact, and that centralization of the cases was appropriate. Based on a number of factors, the Judicial Panel determined that the Western District of Missouri was an appropriate forum. All BPA cases were then ordered to be transferred to the Western District of Missouri, and assigned to the Honorable Ortrie D. Smith to coordinate discovery and other pretrial matters. Subsequent BPA cases filed in federal court will ordinarily be transferred to the Western District of Missouri and become part of MDL No. 1967 as a "tag along" case. Once discovery and other pretrial matters have been concluded, the cases that constitute MDL No. 1967 shall be transferred back to the district in which the case was originally filed, for trial or other proceedings.