Following a status conference held earlier this month in the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) established for all Zimmer NexGen knee replacement lawsuits, the parties have been directed to submit their case picks for the first trial dates by February 7, 2014.
There are currently nearly 1,200 product liability lawsuits filed in U.S. District Courts throughout the country that have been consolidated for pretrial proceedings before U.S. District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer in the Northern District of Illinois, where a small group of cases are being prepared for early trial dates, known as “bellwether” cases.
Pursuant to a prior case management order issued last year, which outlined the process for preparing the first Zimmer NexGen knee cases for a series of test trials, case-specific discovery has been on-going over the past six months.
According to the minutes (PDF) from a status conference held before Judge Pallmeyer on January 17, the parties have been ordered to submit their recommended “case pool picks” by February 7, with each side filing a response to the selections by February 28, 2014.
The next status conference in the Zimmer NexGen MDL is scheduled for March 21, 2014, with additional conference dates set through the remainder of the year for May 16, July 18, September 19 and November 21, 2014. Judge Pallmeyer previously indicated that the first cases will be trial ready by January 2015.
The preparation and outcome of these early trial dates are designed to help the parties gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that may be repeated throughout the litigation.
All of the complaints involve similar allegations that certain configurations of the Zimmer NexGen artificial knee system are defective and prone to fail within a few years. Plaintiffs claim that they experienced problems with various Zimmer knee replacements, including the Zimmer NexGen LPS-Flex, Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex, Zimmer NexGen GSF LPS-Flex, Zimmer NexGen GSF CR-Flex and Zimmer NexGen MIS Tibia component.
Following the bellwether trials in the MDL, if a Zimmer NexGen knee settlement agreement or other resolution for the litigation is not reached, hundreds of cases could be remanded back to U.S. District Courts throughout the country for individual trial dates.