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Stryker Corporation, makers of the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II hip replacements that were recalled in 2012, is the next company to be part of multi district litigation (MDL) for the lawsuits related to their hip recall. The New Jersey Superior Court considered the application for MDL in January 2013 and then began forming the committees and pre-trial stipulations to consolidate the recall cases in Bergen County, NJ. This is following in the footsteps of the DePuy recall, which is also a MDL in Bergen County.
How Does MDL Work?
Multi district litigation (MDL) was formed by Congress in 1968 to handle complex civil lawsuits that are filed in several districts, consolidating them in one court. Most MDL involve lawsuits that affect many people, such as medication and medical device recalls. Once a MDL has been assigned to a product recall such as Stryker’s hip replacements, all cases related to the recall are first directed through a centralized court to go through the pre-trial and discovery process. If the case is not settled or dismissed during the MDL stage, then it would continue to trial in the original court in which it was filed.
The MDL system involves assigning one judge to the case in one jurisdiction. There are benefits to having all similar cases held in place, with one judge.
- Reduced court costs. By consolidating cases for pretrial and discovery, both sides in the civil suit save money.
- Reduction of court resources. In addition to saving money, MDL saves on court resources by having only one court handling the proceeding versus hundreds. Instead of having many judges having to familiarize themselves with the issue, the assigned judge will be well informed and an expert on the case.
- Consistency. By having only one judge to issue rulings, all cases will be handled in the same manner with the same stipulations. This creates fairness that all cases are being given the same treatment in the pre-trial stage. In complex cases such as those involving the hip implant recalls, it is important to ensure that there is consistency both in witness testimony, facts and the judge’s rulings.
Stryker Recall Lawsuits
The benefit to those who are pursuing a Stryker hip recall lawsuit is that the pretrial and discovery phase can be quicker and result in either a settlement or progressing on to trial. The MDL saves time and money for the attorneys handling the case by pooling information and resources, allowing them to focus more time on the litigation portion for their clients. The MDL process can speed the beginning phase of a civil trial and get the victim closer to resolution. In most cases, MDL is a benefit to those who are pursuing these large and complex types of civil lawsuits.