As our Texas Morcellator lawyers have reported, the defective and unreasonably dangerous power morcellators manufactured by Johnson & Johnson spread a very deadly kind of cancer.
Our morcellator attorneys represent victims who have been affected by these deadly medical devices nationwide. Lawyers handling these cases have now sought to consolidate all suits in Kansas federal court in multidistrict litigation or “MDL.”
What Is An MDL?
MDL is a federal procedure that is used in complex products liability lawsuits and “mass torts,” cases involving large numbers of people who were injured by the same product, conduct, or event.
The idea is that because there are so many common issues in these cases, much of the required briefing will be the same, as will “discovery” including witness depositions and relevant documents.
Defendants often prefer MDL proceedings because they prevent corporate witnesses from being deposed several times and giving inconsistent testimony.
Under existing law, when pretrial proceedings are completed, the MDL court (called the “transferee” court) must remand the cases back to the courts where they were originally filed (called the “transferor” courts). Corporate interests are seeking to change that law so that the transferee court will have the ability to try the cases too.
The Proposed Kansas MDL
The proposed Kansas MDL would be before U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil. It would include future power morcellator lawsuits as well as the 22 that have already been filed in 16 different states.
The Federal MDL Statute
The federal MDL statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1407, provides that:
§1407. Multidistrict litigation
(a) When civil actions involving one or more common questions of fact are pending in different districts, such actions may be transferred to any district for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings. Such transfers shall be made by the judicial panel on multidistrict litigation authorized by this section upon its determination that transfers for such proceedings will be for the convenience of parties and witnesses and will promote the just and efficient conduct of such actions. Each action so transferred shall be remanded by the panel at or before the conclusion of such pretrial proceedings to the district from which it was transferred unless it shall have been previously terminated: Provided, however, That the panel may separate any claim, cross-claim, counter-claim, or third-party claim and remand any of such claims before the remainder of the action is remanded.
(b) Such coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings shall be conducted by a judge or judges to whom such actions are assigned by the judicial panel on multidistrict litigation. For this purpose, upon request of the panel, a circuit judge or a district judge may be designated and assigned temporarily for service in the transferee district by the Chief Justice of the United States or the chief judge of the circuit, as may be required, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 13 of this title. With the consent of the transferee district court, such actions may be assigned by the panel to a judge or judges of such district. The judge or judges to whom such actions are assigned, the members of the judicial panel on multidistrict litigation, and other circuit and district judges designated when needed by the panel may exercise the powers of a district judge in any district for the purpose of conducting pretrial depositions in such coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings.
(c) Proceedings for the transfer of an action under this section may be initiated by—
(i) the judicial panel on multidistrict litigation upon its own initiative, or
(ii) motion filed with the panel by a party in any action in which transfer for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings under this section may be appropriate. A copy of such motion shall be filed in the district court in which the moving party’s action is pending.
The panel shall give notice to the parties in all actions in which transfers for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings are contemplated, and such notice shall specify the time and place of any hearing to determine whether such transfer shall be made. Orders of the panel to set a hearing and other orders of the panel issued prior to the order either directing or denying transfer shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the district court in which a transfer hearing is to be or has been held. The panel’s order of transfer shall be based upon a record of such hearing at which material evidence may be offered by any party to an action pending in any district that would be affected by the proceedings under this section, and shall be supported by findings of fact and conclusions of law based upon such record. Orders of transfer and such other orders as the panel may make thereafter shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the district court of the transferee district and shall be effective when thus filed. The clerk of the transferee district court shall forthwith transmit a certified copy of the panel’s order to transfer to the clerk of the district court from which the action is being transferred. An order denying transfer shall be filed in each district wherein there is a case pending in which the motion for transfer has been made.
(d) The judicial panel on multidistrict litigation shall consist of seven circuit and district judges designated from time to time by the Chief Justice of the United States, no two of whom shall be from the same circuit. The concurrence of four members shall be necessary to any action by the panel.
(e) No proceedings for review of any order of the panel may be permitted except by extraordinary writ pursuant to the provisions of title 28, section 1651, United States Code. Petitions for an extraordinary writ to review an order of the panel to set a transfer hearing and other orders of the panel issued prior to the order either directing or denying transfer shall be filed only in the court of appeals having jurisdiction over the district in which a hearing is to be or has been held. Petitions for an extraordinary writ to review an order to transfer or orders subsequent to transfer shall be filed only in the court of appeals having jurisdiction over the transferee district. There shall be no appeal or review of an order of the panel denying a motion to transfer for consolidated or coordinated proceedings.
(f) The panel may prescribe rules for the conduct of its business not inconsistent with Acts of Congress and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
(g) Nothing in this section shall apply to any action in which the United States is a complainant arising under the antitrust laws. “Antitrust laws” as used herein include those acts referred to in the Act of October 15, 1914, as amended (38 Stat. 730; 15 U.S.C. 12), and also include the Act of June 19, 1936 (49 Stat. 1526; 15 U.S.C. 13, 13a, and 13b) and the Act of September 26, 1914, as added March 21, 1938 (52 Stat. 116, 117; 15 U.S.C. 56); but shall not include section 4A of the Act of October 15, 1914, as added July 7, 1955 (69 Stat. 282; 15 U.S.C. 15a).
(h) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 1404 or subsection (f) of this section, the judicial panel on multidistrict litigation may consolidate and transfer with or without the consent of the parties, for both pretrial purposes and for trial, any action brought under section 4C of the Clayton Act.
Morcellators Spread Cancer
Power morcellators are dangerous because, in chopping up or “morcellating” uterine tissue, they spread or “seed” potentially cancerous tissue.
The cancer that power morcellators most commonly spread is Leiomyosarcoma (LMS), a malignant cancer that often remains dormant for extended periods of time, and is generally not responsive to chemotherapy or radiation.
Texas Morcellator Lawyers Handle Cases From Around The Country
Our Texas Morcellator lawyers have handled cases in Kansas federal court and around the country. Regardless of whether an MDL is ordered, we will be able to assist victims nationwide.
If you or a loved one contracted cancer after having a myomectomy or hysterectomy involving a power morcellator, please contact us now to discuss whether you may be entitled to compensation. We offer 100% free and confidential consultations. If you decide to hire us, we work no contingency fee, which means you only pay if we win.