Judge Appoints Covidien Hernia Mesh Attorneys to Interim Leadership Positions in MDL
The federal judge recently designated to preside over the consolidated pretrial proceedings for all federal Covidien hernia mesh lawsuits has appointed three plaintiffs’ attorneys to interim leadership positions.
There are currently dozens of product liability lawsuits filed against Medtronic and it’s Covidien subsidiary in U.S. District Courts nationwide, each raising similar allegations that painful and debilitating complications were caused be a defective design used for certain polypropylene mesh products sold in recent years, including Covidien Parietex, Covidien Symbotex and others.
As hernia mesh lawyers continue to review and file claims over the coming weeks and months, the size of the litigation is expected to increase rapidly. Therefore, all claims have been centralized for pretrial proceedings before U.S. District Judge Patti B. Saris in the District Judge in Massachusetts, for coordinated discovery and a series of early trial dates.
As part of the coordinated management of the litigation, it is expected that Judge Saris will appoint a small group of lawyers in the Covidien hernia mesh lawsuits to serve in various leadership positions, taking certain actions during discovery and pretrial proceedings that benefit each plaintiff.
While those final leadership appointments have not yet been made, Judge Saris did issue a case management order (PDF) on September 8, appointing two attorneys to serve as an interim Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee and one attorney as the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee Liaison Counsel.
Until permanent leadership positions are filled, these lawyers will take certain actions during the pretrial proceedings that benefit all plaintiffs presenting claims, including arguing motions, taking depositions of common witnesses, reviewing discovery documents and other actions. However, they are primarily assigned to come up with a plaintiffs’ leadership structure that will endure throughout the pretrial proceedings.
The Court is also expected to establish a “bellwether” process, where a group of representative cases will be prepared for early trial dates to help the parties gauge the relative strengths and weaknesses of their claims, and how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation.
While the outcomes of these bellwether trials will not be binding on other plaintiffs, they may help drive the parties toward settlements that would avoid the need for hundreds of individual trials to be held.
At least three other hernia mesh MDLs are already established for claims involving other polyethylene products sold by other companies, with more than 15,400 Bard hernia mesh lawsuits centralized in the Southern District of Ohio, another 3,600 Ethicon Physiomesh lawsuits centralized in the Northern District of Georgia and 3,251 Atrium C-Qur lawsuits centralized in the District of New Hampshire.
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