United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge.
April 11, 2017, the Court issued one omnibus Order granting
summary judgment for Defendants concerning the Indiana
statute of repose. (Doc. 136). At the conclusion of the
Order, the Court instructed the Clerk of Court to enter
judgment in each respective case. Given the nature of the
Depakote mass action and the issue underlying the Order
granting summary judgment, the Court intended to issue
judgment pursuant to Rule 54(b) for any case that had
multiple parties unaffected by the Order. On April 14, 2017,
the Court requested input from the parties before entering a
final judgment on the matter. The parties provided a joint
response on April 28, 2017, agreeing that judgment pursuant
to Rule 54(b) was appropriate for the following
Plaintiffs' claims: (1) Ginnifer E. and Philip Baugher,
individually as parents and next friends of F.B., a minor;
(2) Nicky Name (also known as Nicky Ward), individually as
parent and next friend of J.W.A., a minor; (3) Kathy Garrett,
individually and as next friend of C.T; (4) Angie Stevenson,
individually as parent and next friend of D.S., a minor; (5)
Sherry Williams, individually and as next friend of T.C., a
minor; (6) Linda Burns; and (7) Christopher Doty,
individually and as personal representative of the estate of
Ryan Doty. (Docs. 937; 938).
Rule 54(b) a district court “may direct entry of a
final judgment as to one or more, but fewer than all, claims
or parties only if the court expressly determines that there
is no just reason for delay.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b).
see also Gelboim v. Bank of America Corp., 135 S.Ct.
897, 902 (2015) (Rule 54(b) permits district courts to
authorize immediate appeal “[w]hen an action presents
more than one claim for relief… or when multiple
parties are involved, the court may direct entry of a final
judgment as to one or more, but fewer than all, claims or
parties if the court expressly determines that there is no
just reason for delay.”); In re MTBE Products
Liability Litigation, 2010 WL 1328249, at *4 (“the
role of this trial as a bellwether for an entire MDL makes
this the type of ‘exceptional' case where entry of
final judgment pursuant to Rule 54(b) is appropriate”).
Court finds that there is no just reason to delay entering a
judgment in this case. The claims of any one Plaintiff in the
mass action-even those Plaintiffs who brought their claims in
one unified complaint-are not dependent upon one another to
be resolved on the merits. While the Court previously found
certain cases sufficiently similar to warrant joint trials,
entering judgment on an individual Plaintiffs claim would not
trigger the type of “piecemeal appeal” the
Supreme Court cautioned against in Sears, Roebuck, &
Co. v. Mackey, 351 U.S. 427, 438 (1956).
summary judgment was granted because claims of these Indiana
Plaintiffs are time barred by the relevant statute of repose.
This is a discrete issue that is completely independent from
other cases within the mass action. There is no risk that any
change to the remaining cases would alter the analysis
related to these specific Plaintiffs. Finally, there are
approximately six hundred cases remaining on the Court's
docket, which will likely take years to adjudicate. If the
Court does not enter judgment under Rule 54(b), these
Plaintiffs could potentially wait a decade or more before all
of the associated claims in their original complaints were
resolved. To allow for the continued maturation of the mass
action and to prevent an injustice on all the parties, the
Court finds that judgment shall be entered under Rule 54(b).
The Clerk is directed to file a copy of this Order and the
Judgment in: Case No. 12-cv-53; Case No. 12-cv-57; Case No.
12-cv-1091; Case No. 13-cv-134; Case No. 13-cv-1157; Case No.
IS SO ORDERED.
 The claims of Denise Estes,
individually as parent and next friend of L.A.E., were
excluded from the parties' joint submission, as
Plaintiffs sought to file a motion for reconsideration
related to facts impacting the choice of law analysis in the
underlying summary judgment Order. (Doc. 937, pp. 2-3).
Plaintiffs filed the motion for reconsideration on May 9,
2017. (Doc. 945). The Court intends to address this issue at
the status conference on June 30, 2017. The lead trial
counsel for the Estes case shall appear in
person at the June 30, 2017 status conference
and be prepared to discuss the motion. Specifically, counsel
shall be prepared to address why it took over five years (or
even ninety days from the filing date of Abbott's motion)
to ascertain even the most basic information to a Depakote
case, e.g., where the mother was treated, where the mother
was prescribed Depakote, and even as basic as
where the mother resides.
Compare (Case No. 12-CV-54, Doc. 98, p. 2)
(“Plaintiffs [included Denise Estes] agree they are
residents of Indiana and conception, pregnancy and birth
occurred in Indiana.”) with (Case No.
12-CV-44, Doc. 114), (“Plaintiffs have been residents
of Illinois from 1993 through today, and they have never
resided in Indiana.”)
 The exception to this general
principal is for parents who bring claims on behalf of their
minor children and a claim in their own individual
capacity. It is difficult to conceive of a circumstance were
the Court would allow a parent's individual claim to be
tried separately from the minor child's claim; however,
this is the only circumstance where the factual ...