A King County Superior Court Judge has handed down an order that consolidated several plaintiffs into a single case. The plaintiffs were all found to have similar circumstances surrounding their DePuy metal-on-metal hip implants with similar injuries alleged as a result, according to Law360.
The five plaintiffs, Linda Yahne, John B. Shattuck, William Metcalf, James Collins, and Leta Sperry, allege that the J&J subsidiary, Depuy Orthopedics, manufactured a defective metal-on-metal hip implant that led to injuries and a decreased quality of life. The plaintiffs believe that their cases share enough similarities to warrant consolidation. Their motion includes several similarities, such as the fact that all five plaintiffs had their metal-on-metal hips implanted in 2009 in the state of Washington.
After initially failing to have two of the cases remanded to a federal court, J&J filed a response to the motion for consolidation. In their response, J&J alleges that the plaintiffs only have one thing in common: an intent to hold DePuy liable for injuries surrounding the Pinnacle Metal-on-Metal hip replacement. Outside of this singular commonality, J&J argues, the claims are “highly varied” and cannot reasonably be consolidated into a single case.
In his order, Judge Brian M. McDonald made six conclusions based on the arguments provided by the plaintiffs and defendants:
- All five plaintiffs have pleaded the same cause of action against the same defendants claiming to suffer the same or substantially similar injuries from the same allegedly defective product and intend to call the same expert witnesses.
- The Federal District Court in the Northern District of Texas similarly consolidated cases regarding the same hip implant and while a case from that consolidation was challenged, it was not challenged on the basis of the decision to consolidate.
- The defendants’ arguments about the anticipation of separate evidentiary circumstances are not sufficient to justify why these cases need separate trials.
- The defendants’ argument that the consolidation will unfairly prejudice and confuse the jury however the court is not sufficiently persuaded by the prejudice argument.
- Consolidating for reasons of common issues of fact and law is not only rational but predominates other arguments and ensures increased efficiency.
- With how far out the trial is, should the cases develop in such a way that consolidation is no longer rational it is still possible and timely to separate the cases out again.
With the judge’s order, the cases will be consolidated in a manner similar to a multidistrict litigation (MDL) allowing plaintiffs to share resources and avoid redundancy.
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