When it comes to ‘lawsuits’ stemming from design and manufacturing defects related to the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II hips, the majority of them are consolidated into a Multi District Litigation format (MDL) in the United States District Court of Minnesota. Per MDL rules, the cases are filed and tried individually, but are consolidated for purposes of discovery and case management as there are similarities between the underlying cases. The Stryker MDL (No.: 13-2441) was established last year and the cases are set before Magistrate Judge Franklin L. Noel and District Judge Donovan W. Frank.
Distinction of Bellwether Trials For Stryker Cases
On March 12, 2014, the Court met with Plaintiffs’ Lead Counsel Committee and Defense Counsel to prepare a schedule for the Court to hear between three and five ‘bellwether’ cases in the Summer of 2015. These bellwether trials will typically involve a representative sampling of plaintiff’s from the MDL so the parties involved can gauge the values of cases similar to them. While the individual plaintiff’s to be involved in the Stryker bellwether trials, have yet to be determined, a bellwether group may include:
- A personal who received a Stryker hip and has some pain, but no surgical intervention
- A personal with elevated metal levels in their blood
- A personal who suffered from complications and required a hip revision surgery to remove and replace the hip
- An individual have two Stryker hips that failed and required revision
The March 14th Pretrial Order No. 12 also sets the following:
- Before the May 1, 2014 status conference counsel shall agree on 3-5 bellwether categories
- If a reasonable number of bellwether cases can not be agreed upon by April 1, 2014, parties are to submit a proposal as to how many categories they believe are necessary
- If there is disagreement as to the number of bellwether cases necessary, the Court shall make a determination
- In advance of the May 1, 2014 conference, counsel shall meet and determine three cases that shall be designated ‘lead’ cases within each category
- If unable to agree as to which cases should be part of the specifically devised bellwether groups, the Court will make a determination as to three cases within each bellwether category
- A scheduling order will be set for each lead bellwether cases prior to the June 12th status conference
- At an ‘appropriate time’, Magistrate Judge Noel will reach out to the judges overseeing pending Stryker lawsuits in New Jersey and Florida to “explore ways in which the three courts might facilitate a coordinated settlement of all the state and federal cases in which the plaintiffs allege they suffered injury from dual modular hip replacement prostheses sold under the names Rejuvenate and ABG II.”
Read the full Order here. Stryker.Pretrial.Order12
What is the impact of the latest Stryker MDL Scheduling Order?
Admittedly, at first blush a series of deadlines may seem like little to get excited about. However, from the perspective of a law firm with pending Stryker cases, this most recent MDL order is indeed encouraging as this demonstrates that the Court is willing to push these cases forward. While a series of bellwether cases set for trial more than a year out, seems like a long time away, setting these trial dates is crucial towards moving the litigation forward and ultimately towards resolution.
Further, the Court’s outward statement that they will actively facilitate the coordinated settlement of these cases is encouraging as the settlement of any complex piece of litigation very much relies on an active and hands-on judge.
Is it too late to take legal action if you have a recalled Stryker hip?
No. If you’ve been hesitant to get an attorney or get involved with the pending Stryker MDL, you can still join the pending MDL without any prejudice to you. After confirming that you indeed have a recalled Rejuvenate or ABG II device, we can get your case added to the pending litigation. Since we have all of the forms and discovery in these cases, our office can get your case up to speed. Even if you expect to undergo additional procedures or a hip revision surgery, we can get your case prepared so you can focus on your medical needs.
If you have additional questions about the Stryker or other types of hip litigation, we welcome you to call or contact our office where you can speak to an attorney who has direct knowledge of this litigation.