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In January 2013, the New Jersey Superior Court considered the application for MDL. The Superior Court started forming pre-trial stipulations and committees to consolidate the ABG II and Stryker Rejuvenate hip replacement recall cases in Bergen County, New Jersey. This is similar to what happened with the DePuy recall, another MDL in Bergen County.
How does an MDL work?
Congress developed the multi-district litigation (MDL) option in 1968. The reason for the formation is MDL is to handle complex civil lawsuits that have claimants in several different districts. Instead of having litigation in several different districts, it consolidates all of these into one court.
Oftentimes an MDL will involve lawsuits that have affected a number of people. For example, with medical device recalls or with medication recalls. If a product recall is assigned an MDL, all cases related to that particular recall are going to go through the centralized court first. Here these cases will go through the pre-trial and discovery process. If the case is dismissed or remains unsettled during the MDL stage, it will continue in the original court where the claim was filed.
What are the benefits of an MDL?
One of the benefits of an MDL is the fact that there is a single judge assigned to the case in a single jurisdiction. Some of the benefits of this will include:
- Reduced court costs – Both sides of the civil suit are going to save money by consolidating cases for pretrial and discovery.
- It reduces court resources – MDL does more than save money, it also saves court resources. Rather than all these different courts being tied up to handle the proceedings, (oftentimes in the hundreds) there is a single court handling everything. The assigned judge is therefore going to be an expert on the case because he or she has the time necessary to familiarize him- or herself with the issue
- Improved consistency – If there is a single judge that will issue rulings, all cases will be handled with the same stipulations in the same manner. This ensures objectivity because all cases receive the same treatment in the pre-trial stage. In complex matters such as with the ABG II and Stryker Rejuvenate hip replacement recall, it is important that there is consistency amongst the facts, witness testimony, and judge’s rulings.
- Benefits to those seeking compensation – Another benefit for the affected parties seeking a settlement is that both the pretrial and discovery phase is likely to go faster. By pooling information and resources, an MDL saves time and money for attorneys handling the case as well. This means that they have more time to spend on the litigation portion for their clients. This means that this type of case may offer a faster resolution.
A problem that affects a great number of people
If we look at the geographical breakdown of Stryker ABG II/Rejuvenate MDL cases, it is easy to see that plenty of people throughout the nation have been impacted. There are 120 in Minnesota, 67 in Illinois, 13 in Florida, 33 in Arkansas, 17 in Louisiana, and 24 in California. In fact, when looking at the breakdown, it would be easier to discuss states that are not involved, considering that these are the minority.