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I suffered significant personal injury after taking the drug Seroquel for seven years. A class action lawsuit was settled against the drug maker, Astra Zeneca, in 2010. According to this article (https://www.natlawreview.com/article/us-supreme-court-limits-potential-repeat-class-actions), my understanding is that once a class action case is settled another similar class action suit cannot be brought forward. Is this correct?

I was never a member of the original class action settlement.

If this is correct, does it bar me from pursuing an individual lawsuit?

  • We you a) a member of that class, and b) a party to that lawsuit? – sharur Jan 29 '19 at 0:35
  • No to both questions. I will go ahead and add that to my question. – user27343 Jan 29 '19 at 1:01
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my understanding is that once a class action case is settled another similar class action suit cannot be brought forward. Is this correct?

A settlement or judgment in a class action is binding against everyone in the class that didn't affirmatively opt out against the defendants in the lawsuit involving the same kind of wrongdoing by the defendants (e.g. a class action lawsuit over Seroquel wouldn't bar you from bringing a lawsuit over some different defective drug made by the same company).

There is generally a deadline to opt out of a class action lawsuit which is shared with the public by publication and if you opt out before that date by filing a document with the court, you aren't bound by the class action settlement and can bring your own lawsuit instead.

I was never a member of the original class action settlement. If this is correct, does it bar me from pursuing an individual lawsuit?

The fact that you didn't receive settlement funds or have any communications with the class action plaintiff's firm doesn't mean that you weren't a member of the class covered by the class action.

You need to read the definition of the members of the class in the class action lawsuit that was settled or resolved with a judgment. If you fit in that definition and didn't affirmatively opt out of the lawsuit by filing a document with the court, you cannot bring an individual lawsuit against the company.

On the other hand, if you don't fit in the definition of people who were part of the class defined in the class action lawsuit, then you can bring an individual lawsuit if it is not time barred and assuming that there is still a solvent defendant to sue that is left.

Nine or more years would be more than the statute of limitations in most states, and many companies go out of business or reorganize in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy after settling or losing at court in a class action lawsuit, however, which would bar an individual lawsuit.

For example, maybe the class action lawsuit has a class defined as "people who took doses of the drug Seroquel manufactured in Chicago, Illinois by a subcontractor of Astra Zeneca from 2007 to 2010." But, you got your doses of the drug from a plant that manufactured it in New York City. You would not be part of the class and could bring your own lawsuit if the statute of limitations has not expired.

Realistically, it sounds to me like you were probably within the definition of the class covered by the lawsuit, you didn't affirmatively opt out because you didn't learn about the lawsuit in time, you didn't receive any of the settlement funds for some reason even though you should have (most likely because you never learned of the settlement and thus didn't contact the court or the class action plaintiff's attorney), and the statute of limitations to bring an individual lawsuit against the drug company has probably expired.

It wouldn't hurt to contact the class action plaintiff's law firm, however, to see if any settlement funds are still available to be paid from the settlement that was reached in 2010.

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