KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Several plaintiffs who have suffered injuries as the result of undergoing procedures involving a power morcellator have been granted their request to have their power morcellator lawsuits consolidated in federal court in the District of Kansas.
So far, the consolidation affects 20 pending lawsuits with a variety of defendants including Ethicon, Inc., Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Inc., Karl Stortz Endoscopy-America, Inc., and Richard Wolf Medical Instruments Corp. The request was granted even though all of these manufacturers opposed it, making it a huge win for the plaintiffs.
How Will This Consolidation Affect the Lawsuits?
Overall, this consolidation is good news for all patients injured by these devices, whether they have decided to file a lawsuit yet or not.
The consolidation reduces the strain on the justice system while also reducing costs for the plaintiffs. Because these lawsuits are now consolidated, the chances of redundant or conflicting verdicts are also greatly reduced, making the process more efficient overall.
For injured patients who have not yet filed a lawsuit, this consolidation may still create efficiencies for them should they decide to file, and it may also establish a positive precedent for when their cases are heard.
Power morcellators are essentially power tools that break of tissue so that it can easily be removed abdominally when a patient is undergoing a hysterectomy, myomectomy or laparotomy.
Although they have touted in recent years as being a more efficient way to perform these operations, plaintiffs in these lawsuits have alleged that the manufacturers of power morcellators have known for decades that the use of their devices can spread dormant cancer cells, resulting in dangerous cancer.
The United States Food and Drug Administration even issued a statement in April of 2014 warning of the risks of power morcellation devices.
The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (or JPML) who granted the request to consolidate the cases, stated that the goal of the consolidation is to establish whether or not the design of the power morcellators leaves the patients prone to developing cancer and whether or not the manufacturers failed to adequately warn patients of the risk of developing cancer as a result of having power morcellators used in their surgery.
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