In December 2010, the United States Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (MDL) ruled to consolidate all federal district cases in the Northern District Court of Ohio. The MDL 2197, In re DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. ASR Hip Implant Products, will be handled by Judge David A. Katz who will manage all pre-trial issues for all federal DePuy hip implant recall cases.
The granting of MDL treatment will streamline the lawsuits, allowing the parties to avoid duplicative discovery and inconsistent rulings from different judges. Additionally, MDL treatment will provide more convenience for the witnesses, the parties and the court. During the pretrial litigation, Judge David A. Katz will manage 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.
As of early January 2011, over 100 lawsuits had already been transferred to the MDL court. However, it is expected that thousands of additional DePuy hip recall lawsuits will be transferred to the Northern District of Ohio within the next several months.
On January 20, 2011, the court held an initial status conference in West Palm Beach, Florida. During the conference, the lawyers who applied for leadership positions within the MDL process received two minutes each to give their reasons for being assigned the various positions available. Judge Katz’s ruling is expected in the coming weeks.