A Washington State judge ruled for plaintiffs in defective hip implant litigation by consolidating their cases into a single case in King County Superior Court. The defendant, Depuy Orthopedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, had argued the cases were not similar enough to consolidate them.
Judge Brian M. McDonald’s actions are similar to a multi-district litigation (MDL) in which related federal civil cases are transferred from different jurisdictions to one judge who presides at the pretrial hearings, according to 28 U.S.C. § 1407. Courts can rule to consolidate cases that share common facts, and for the parties’ and witnesses’ convenience. The judge must also find that the cases will proceed more efficiently than if they are tried separately because duplication of discovery is eliminated and resources are conserved. Inconsistent pretrial rulings are also avoided.
Judge McDonald determined that all five plaintiffs share numerous common facts. They all pleaded the same cause of action: that they were implanted with DePuy metal-on-metal hip replacements and suffered similar injuries and a compromised quality of life. They all had planned to call the same expert witnesses to testify that the hip implant caused their injuries. Furthermore, all five surgeries occurred in Washington State in 2009.
Johnson & Johnson initially tried and failed to get two of the cases remanded to federal court. In its response to the plaintiff’s request for consolidation, J&J argued the plaintiffs have only one fact in common, which is a desire to hold DePuy responsible for injuries they allege were caused by its Pinnacle Metal-on-Metal hip replacement. J&J argued that there are no other claims of commonality, claiming they are instead “highly varied” and that consolidating the cases is unreasonable.
After considering the plaintiffs request and the defendant’s response, Judge McDonald issued six conclusions:
The trial date has not yet been set. The five plaintiffs whose defective product cases have been consolidated are: James Collins, William Metcalf, John B. Shattuck, Leta Sperry, and Linda Yahne.
Personal injury cases involving hip implants or other defective medical devices will usually require asking the hospital for medical records. National Record Retrieval specializes in making the process simpler and quicker. Call us for more.