U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga wasted no time in sinking her teeth into the meat of the first of many lawsuits leveled against Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) Fixodent denture cream. The first of dozens of such cases filed over alleged zinc poisoning was dismissed by Judge Altonaga in pretrial proceedings after the plaintiff’s experts were excluded.
The suit, filed by Marianne and Daniel Chapman, takes aim at P&G, claiming the zinc content of the denture creams causes myelopathy, which affects the spinal cord and can cause severe nerve damage and other maladies. A host of similar suits were brought against GlaxoSmithKline—maker the of Super Poligrip denture adhesive.
The myriad lawsuits against the cream manufacturers were consolidated as part of a multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, before Judge Altonaga, and the Chapman case reportedly was chosen to be heard first in an effort to assess how the court and juries will potentially rule on these issues.
Judge Altonaga had granted the defense attorneys’ request to bar testimony from the Chapmans’ expert witnesses, having concluded that the three experts offered by the plaintiffs could not provide a reliable basis for the jury to conclude Fixodent can cause myelopathy, and rejected the assertions that the denture creams caused a copper deficiency in the body.
Given the plaintiffs no longer had any expert witnesses, Judge Altonaga dismissed the lawsuit before it was scheduled to begin trial last week.
P&G has said that it intends to fight the remaining Fixodent lawsuits, while GlaxoSmithKline last summer reported that it has reached settlement agreements in the majority of the cases filed against Super Poligrip.