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Judge dismisses final MDL case

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

The final lawsuit in a multi-district litigation case involving Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) claims against Indiana-based Zimmer Holdings has been resolved, with U.S. Judge Sarah Evans Barker in the Southern District of Indiana dismissing with prejudice the suit against the company on Dec. 23.

Combined into the MDL case of Zimmer Holdings Inc. Securities, Derivative & ERISA, 1:09-MDL-06000, the litigation involved claims that Zimmer allowed participants in an employee investment plan to continue buying company stock even after quality and safety complaints about its orthopedic surgical products and hip resurfacing system impacted the company’s financial infrastructure and essentially led to artificially inflated stock prices that weren’t accurate based on the product issues.

Three cases were consolidated in the Southern District, and after Barker ruled on two suits, the only remaining case was Jonathan M. DeWald v. Zimmer Holdings, et al., No. 1:09-CV-00745.

Relying on precedent from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued earlier in 2011 as the analytical template for this Zimmer Holdings case, Barker determined that the stock declines as alleged were insufficient to hold that the defendants acted imprudently. Specifically, she stated that each plan participant had several months to divert contributions into 28 other investment options. The Zimmer Holdings plan document established that the participants had independent control over their investments, so the judge determined the ERISA Section 404(c) safe harbor provision applies and bars the plaintiffs’ claim about failure to disclose. Barker also dismissed the plaintiffs’ failure to monitor and derivative claims regarding conflict of interest, co-fiduciary and liability issues.

An appeal is before the 7th Circuit on the two other cases, with a combined cause number of 11-1471.•

Rehearing "In the news, and onto the docket" IL Feb. 2-15, 2011

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  1. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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