$1.4 BILLION DOLLAR HIP REPLACEMENT SETTLEMENT ANNOUNCED The recent settlement related to the hip replacement device manufactured by Stryker is an example of how the Mass Tort laws work to help thousands of victims recover compensation. Drug and medical device manufacturers have a duty to notify their customers/patients of any side effects or defects caused by the use of their products. This duty continues even after the drug or device has completed clinical trials and received approval from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to be distributed. When a manufacturer learns of a side effect or defect, it has a responsibility to notify physicians and patients, immediately, so to protect the safety of the public. If a manufacturer fails to properly warn of a side effect or defect and, as a result, patient suffers an injury, a lawsuit can be brought against the drug or medical device manufacturer for compensation. Failure to warn claims against drug and medical device manufactures have evolved into a very complex area of law, an area commonly referred to as Mass Tort Law. While victims share a common injury or damage, the victims are often spread out over a diverse geographic area. As a result, thousands of lawsuits are often filed in state and federal courthouses throughout the country. To coordinate or centralize the handling of the pretrial proceedings in the federal cases, often the manufacturer and/or a lawyer(s) representing the victims will request the United States Judicial Panel on Multi-district Litigation (MDL) transfer the cases to one federal court. By statute, the MDL panel’s job is to 1) determine whether the cases involve one or more common questions of fact such that the actions should be transferred to one federal district for coordinated pre-trial proceedings; 2) select the judge or judges and court assigned to conduct such proceedings; and 3) appoint a victim’s/plaintiff’s steering committee, a committee of plaintiff lawyers set-up to coordinate the pre-trial proceedings. Typically, the federal court assigned will not, only, oversee the pre-trial proceedings, but will, also, oversee “bellwether trials.” In these trials, the judge and parties will select a representative sample of cases, usually between five (5) to ten (10), that are fully prepared and tried to a jury. Ultimately, the goal of these bellwether trials is to provide the parties a good indication as to what will happen in future cases and assist with settlement discussions. Those cases not filed in the federal system, but within a state court’s system, are coordinated similarly to those in the federal system. In fact, the state court judge assigned to the drug or device defect cases will often coordinate the scheduling of pre-trial proceedings with the federal judge assigned the cases by the MDL. The current hip replacement litigation is a real world example of this multi-jurisdictional legal process. In July, 2012, Stryker, the manufacturer of Rejuvenate and ABG II metal hip devices, announced the metal hip devices were to be pulled from the market as a result of metal corrosion and other substantial defects requiring revision surgeries. In the months leading up to this announcement and following, over a thousand lawsuits were filed on behalf of victims in New Jersey state court (the corporate headquarters of Stryker is located in New Jersey) and federal courts throughout the country. Ultimately, the MDL panel met and chose the U.S. District Court of Minnesota as the court to assist with the pre-trial proceedings and appointed a plaintiff’s steering committee (PSC). From there, the federal court in Minnesota coordinated pre-trial proceedings with Stryker and the PSC and worked with the judge in New Jersey toward a common goal, resolution. In 2014, the New Jersey Superior Court held several bellwether trials in 2014. As a result of the process and those bellwether trials, a $1.4 billion dollar settlement was announced in the Superior Court of New Jersey and U.S. District Court of Minnesota wherein victims who underwent a revision surgery to remove the Rejuvenate and ABG II metal hip devices BEFORE November 3, 2014 qualified for compensation. Knox Boteler is a partner in the law firm of Boteler, Finley & Wolfe. The firm assists those injured as a result of accidents, defective products, or other wrongful actions. If you have any questions related to the Stryker hip replacement settlement, please contact Knox Boteler at firstname.lastname@example.org or 251-433-7766. REQUIRED DISCLAIMERS Alabama Rule of Professional Conduct 7.2: No representation is made that the quality of legal service to be performed is greater than the services provided by other lawyers. The Mississippi Supreme Court advises that a decision on legal services is important and should not be based solely on advertisements. Free Background information is available upon request to a Mississippi attorney. The listing of any area of practice by a Mississippi attorney does not indicate any certification of expertise therein. See Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 7.2(d), Rule 7.4(a), Rule 7.6(a) (1997). General Disclaimer: This information is posted for general information purposes to help those interested parties or persons with potential civil claims better understand their rights and potential causes of action. 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