Shoulder Pain Pump Lawyers Renew Request to Consolidate Lawsuits

Attorneys representing more than 100 people who have filed a shoulder chondrolysis lawsuit in courts throughout the United States over problems caused by the use of pain pumps after arthroscopic surgery are renewing their request to consolidate the cases before one judge for coordinated pretrial litigation.

In August 2008, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation denied a prior request to create an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, for all federal shoulder pain pump cases against the makers of the devices and the pharmaceutical companies that make the drugs used in the pumps. However, according to documents filed November 30, several plaintiff shoulder pain pump lawyers are pushing for the Panel to reconsider the issue.

It is estimated that there are now hundreds of lawsuits filed in dozens of federal district courts throughout the United States involving nearly identical allegations that the intra-articular use of pain pumps to manage pain following shoulder surgery resulted in the permanent loss of cartilage in plaintiffs’ shoulder; a condition known as shoulder chondrolysis.

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The shoulder pump lawsuits claim that the use of infusion pumps to deliver a combination of pain medications directly into the shoulder joint during the days after arthroscopic surgery can cause the progressive destruction of shoulder cartilage, causing new shoulder problems to develop during the months after surgery. This could result in reduced range of motion, pain, clicking and popping in the shoulder joint due to the loss of cartilage, potentially resulting in the need for a shoulder replacement surgery.

Last summer, the Panel of federal judges denied the first request by shoulder pain pump lawyers to consolidate and centralize the litigation for pretrial proceedings. At that time, the Panel indicated that because there was an indeterminate number of pain pumps made by different companies at issue, centralization was not appropriate. The judicial panel indicated that petitioners should pursue alternatives to MDL consolidation to avoid duplicative discovery and inconsistent pretrial rulings in cases throughout the country.

According to the new filing, plaintiffs’ attorneys say that despite their best efforts, MDL alternatives have failed due to an unwillingness of some of the manufacturers to cooperate. In addition, there are now hundreds more cases that have been filed by shoulder pain pump lawyers that have been filed in different courts throughout the country, increasing the need for coordinated pretrial litigation.

At the next meeting of the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in January 2010, the shoulder pain pump attorneys indicate that they will renew their prior motions for transfer and coordination of the product liability lawsuits.


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