The Future of Philips CPAP Litigation: What Comes Next?

Millions of CPAP and BiPAP breathing devices were recalled by Philips in 2021 when it was discovered that the foam utilized in the devices was breaking down and releasing harmful carcinogenic chemicals into the user's respiratory system. As a result of the recall, a substantial number of CPAP users filed lawsuits (or registered claims with Philips) asserting that exposure to the toxic foam particles led to severe injuries, such as cancer.

The lawsuits arising from the CPAP recall were merged into a class action MDL that has the potential to be settled globally with Philips. In this article, we will review the progression of the Philips CPAP litigation and analyze the most recent advancements in this ongoing mass tort.

A Class Action MDL Formed for CPAP Litigation

In November 2021, several months following the recall announcement, the JPML consolidated Philips CPAP lawsuits (as well as registered claims) into a new class action MDL due to their sheer number. Judge Joy Flowers Conti in the Western District of Pennsylvania was assigned to preside over the new CPAP recall class action MDL.

The initial transfer order that established the CPAP class action MDL included 110 pending CPAP recall lawsuits from federal courts throughout the United States. As of January 2023, there were slightly over 300 pending cases in the CPAP recall MDL. Nevertheless, this number is very deceptive because most potential CPAP plaintiffs chose to register claims with Philips rather than file a civil lawsuit. As a result, the claim registration program has artificially kept the number of pending cases in the MDL low.

When can we expect the bellwether trials to commence? Based on how things are progressing and the timelines we have observed in other mass tort MDLs that move at a leisurely judicial pace (the Paragard MDL being a prime example), the first CPAP bellwether test trial may take place around September 2024.

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