INJURY LAW BLOG

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Product liability suits vs. power morcellators are consolidated

Posted by Smiley & Smiley on Oct 30, 2015 10:14:12 PM

When a defect is discovered in a product, there is often a rash of claims filed in courts around the country, including usually at least one or more in New York. This often brings into play the oversight by a federal judicial panel for multidistrict litigation. When the panel decides it is appropriate, it will order centralization of the multiple product liability cases in a single district court, usually under one judge's control.

This procedural device is used to conserve resources, cut down on multiple expenses incurred by plaintiffs in each separate case and prevent the issuance of conflicting pre-trial rulings in the various jurisdictions. The consolidation of actions also serves to bring the parties together in a framework more conducive to a group settlement that would resolve all of the claims. Under the federal multidistrict litigation procedure, the cases may be sent back to their originating district court for trial if a group settlement does not emerge.

The multidistrict panel recently issued an order centralizing a group of 20 cases filed in various jurisdictions nationwide against Johnson & Johnson and several other manufacturers. The cases deal with allegations that a power morcellator device made by the defendant companies can spread cancer cells throughout the body. This happens in the aftermath of using a morcellator during a hysterectomy and other similar procedures.

A district court judge in the District of Kansas will preside over the consolidated cases. The device allegedly leaves behind broken fibroid and uterine tissue that seeps into surrounding bodily areas, thereby spreading potentially cancerous cells throughout the body. That would reduce the patient's life expectancy. 

It is alleged that the manufacturers knew of the risk but failed to tell the public or issue warnings. The cases are based on strict liability with respect to a failure to warn, design defect and other theories of recovery. Product liability cases in New York and elsewhere involve complex litigation that requires the guidance of an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in handling the various problematic issues that can emerge in such claims.

Source: injurylawyer-news.com, "Power Morcellator Lawsuits Coordinated in Kansas Court", Ava Lawson, Oct. 29, 2015

Topics: defective-products

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