Stryker hip replacement products have prompted more than 1,500 lawsuits nationwide by patients alleging problems with hip replacement devices. Recently, eight of these cases settled. Because of confidentiality agreements, North Jersey.com reports that it’s not clear how much money was recovered by the plaintiffs. Still, the settlements provide hope to other patients affected by Stryker hip problems because the victims of these defective joint replacements were at least able to recover some money for their damages and losses.
The cases that settled are important because they did so as part of a court-ordered mediation process that took place in a Superior Court in Burgen County, New Jersey. More than half of all Stryker cases have been consolidated in this court under Judge Brian Martinotti. The cases are part of a multi-county litigation (MCL). Remaining cases in the MCL will continue to move forward, with a second phase of mediation expected to follow.
Multi-county and multi-district litigations are common in defective medical device cases because so many people suffer a similar harm when a medical product turns out to be dangerous. Many defective products cases end in settlement because neither plaintiffs nor defendants want to actually go to court for their claims to be resolved.
Those who were injured and who wish to take legal action should speak to a Boston defective hip lawyer before allowing consolidation of their case or before agreeing to any type of settlement offer.
Settlements in Stryker Multi-County Litigations
Multi-county and multi-district litigations are created for the convenience of plaintiffs and courts. Rather than thousands of different cases being heard one-by-one by different judges across the country when a product is defective, all of the claims are moved to be in front of just one judge. That judge is then able to consider pre-trial questions that are relevant to all of the pending cases. The ruling he makes can apply to all claims, and the same issues don’t have to be decided over-and-over.
Unlike a class action, each plaintiff keeps his own claim in a multidistrict litigation, and the only judicial decisions that apply to all pending claims are those that affect all the individual cases in the same way (such as decisions about whether a certain kind of evidence can be presented).
In addition to making it easier for a judge to answer questions, multi-district or multicounty litigations also allow for bellwether or test cases to move forward and be heard. When plaintiffs and defendants get an idea of how a case is likely to be received by a jury, they may be better able to value their positions and come to a settlement agreement.
In the New Jersey Stryker cases, the court is trying to facilitate settlement agreements by selecting a small number of representative cases and having the plaintiffs in those cases participate in court ordered mediation with the defendants. It was through this process that eight out of an initial 10 cases that were selected as bellwether trials ended up settling. Because agreements were reached on the bellwether cases, this could provide more incentive and opportunity for additional cases to settle.
Call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.
More Blog Entries:
Cardiac Problems Caused by Metal Hip Replacements, Boston Product Liability Lawyer Blog, March 18, 2014