On December 9, 2010, a Notice to the Bar was issued by Judge Glenn A. Grant, Acting Administrator of the Courts, advising that an application had been made, pursuant to Directive #7-09, “Revised Mass Tort Guidelines,” requesting designation of all New Jersey state-court litigation involving DePuy ASR™ hip implants as a mass tort and assignment for centralized management in Middlesex County.
The granting of mass tort designation in state court is similar to the granting of MDL treatment in the federal court. Consolidating all of the DePuy hip recall cases that have been filed in New Jersey state court will streamline the lawsuits, allowing the parties to avoid duplicative discovery and inconsistent rulings from different judges. Additionally, the mass tort designation will provide more convenience for the witnesses, the parties and the court. During the pretrial litigation, one judge will manage all discovery and likely select a group of cases for early trials, also known as bellwether cases. The outcome of the bellwether cases may assist the parties in reaching an agreement to settle all of the DePuy recall suits.
All comments and/or objections to the application for mass tort designation were due to the court by January 21, 2011.