Gary E. Mason Selected to Lead SoClean Litigation

Mar. 28, 2022 – Gary E. Mason of  Mason LLP will co-lead multidistrict litigation over the alleged false marketing of cleaners for CPAP breathing machines, a Pennsylvania federal judge ordered. On Friday, U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti selected Gary E. Mason of Mason LLP and Anne French-Hodson of Sharp Law and to helm the plaintiffs’ end of the SoClean marketing MDL.. Judge Conti also oversees the MDL over Koninklijke Philips NV’s allegedly defective breathing machines in the event the cases present overlapping issues involving the machines and cleaning products.

Judge Conti said the appointments were made after the court reviewed each application and “conducted an interview of each applicant in open court during which the court had the privilege to learn about each applicant’s impressive relevant professional experience and the contributions he or she may offer to the plaintiffs and the court in this multi-district litigation.”

The plaintiffs in the SoClean MDL allege that the company failed to disclose that its cleaning devices emitted ozone gas, which Philips had claimed hastens the degradation of foam on the machines, which could cause health issues.

In a lawsuit against Philips over its statements on the cleaners, SoClean claimed, “If anything, the use of ozone cleaners would help mitigate the off-gassing of harmful chemicals and effectively destroy them through chemical reactions.”

The SoClean litigation was sent to Judge Conti by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on Feb. 2. According to the JPML’s order, Conti was selected in part because of her work on the Philips breathing machine cases.

“In view of the factual overlap between MDL No. 3014 and the SoClean actions in which plaintiffs used a Philips device, coordination of pretrial proceedings between the two litigations in a single district would appear to offer substantial efficiencies,” the panel said. “We are not persuaded, however, that Philips’ proposal — separating the SoClean actions between two different MDLs — would be similarly efficient.”
The panel added that Judge Conti “is, of course, free to structure each MDL as she deems fit, and to establish separate tracks for discovery and other pretrial proceedings as appropriate. We are confident that she will steer this matter on a prudent course.”

The case is In Re: SoClean Inc. Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 3021, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.