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Will I Need to Testify in My Zantac® (Ranitidine) Case?

There's a slight chance that the plaintiff will testify at trial in a Zantac® lawsuit, but deposition testimony is very likely.

Thousands of lawsuits have linked the heartburn/acid reflux medication Zantac® with the development of cancer and other health problems, and the FDA has requested the removal of Zantac® and other ranitidine products from the market.

If you're considering a legal claim over an illness that might be caused by your use of Zantac®, an initial concern might be whether or not you'll need to testify as part of the case. The short answer is probably yes. But when and where?

Plaintiff's Testimony In a Zantac®/Ranitidine Case

There are usually two potential times when a plaintiff (the person filing a Zantac® lawsuit) will need to testify. The first is during discovery, when the defendant (typically a company like Sanofi, manufacturer of Zantac®) asks to take the plaintiff's deposition. The second potential setting for the plaintiff's testimony is during trial.

Deposition Testimony

A deposition is a question-and-answer session in which a person (whether a party to a lawsuit or a witness) answers questions under oath. In a Zantac® case, the defendant (usually through a team of attorneys) will want to take a plaintiff's deposition for a number of reasons, including:

  • to get an idea of how credible and sympathetic the plaintiff might come across to a jury
  • to find out more about the plaintiff's legal claims (including details of the plaintiff's diagnosis of health problems linked to use of Zantac® (ranitidine)
  • to obtain additional information that may support or refute a potential legal argument
  • to get the plaintiff to confirm a particular statement or fact while under oath
  • to get information to potentially contradict something the plaintiff already said or might say in the future, and
  • to ask questions that might lead to new information.

Trial Testimony

Most Zantac® cases reach a settlement, so it's rare for these lawsuits to reach the trial stage. And a plaintiff is not legally required to testify at trial, though it's usually expected. When a plaintiff doesn't take the witness stand and testify, the judge or jury deciding the case might assume there's a weakness in the evidence, or that there's something the plaintiff is trying to hide.

But more importantly, a plaintiff's testimony can be very compelling, especially to a juror. Almost no other piece of evidence from the plaintiff can convey the extent of the harm and other losses the plaintiff has experienced.

Likelihood of Plaintiff's Testimony in a Zantac® Case

It's likely that the plaintiff will at least need to testify in a deposition. As mentioned above, most Zantac® (ranitidine) cases reach settlement, but it's rare for any kind of resolution to take place before the two sides go through the information-gathering "discovery" process. A key tool in this process is the deposition. At a minimum, it will give the defendant an idea of what to expect from the plaintiff should they testify at trial.

While the plaintiff's deposition might not be as important as certain others—expert witness testimony typically looms largest in a Zantac® (ranitidine) case—the defendant will want the opportunity to ask the plaintiff about a number of details related to the case, especially if the drug manufacturer believes that:

  • the true nature and extent of the plaintiff's claimed illness is different from what's being alleged, or that
  • a preexisting condition or some other cause might explain the plaintiff's development of cancer or other illness.

The likelihood of a plaintiff testifying at trial is much lower, simply because there's little chance of a trial actually taking place. But when a Zantac® case does make it all the way to trial, the plaintiff's testimony will only improve his or her chances of winning, since:

  • The plaintiff's own words will help bolster the case. In many lawsuits over the safety of Zantac®, a plaintiff will want to recover compensation for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and other damages that are fairly subjective from person to person. No one knows more about these damages (and their impact) than the plaintiff.
  • The defendant might contend that the plaintiff should have done more to reduce any harm or lessen the impact of any illness that could be linked to use of Zantac®. The plaintiff will want an opportunity to refute this argument.

If you're thinking about filing a lawsuit over health problems that could be related to your use of a ranitidine-based medication, it's important to have a lawyer on your side to develop the best strategy for your case and ensure a fair result. Learn more about finding the right attorney for your Zantac® case and how your lawyer will be paid.

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