W&L Wins MDL Designation For Claims Against Johnson & Johnson Power Morcellators

Nationally known personal injury and mass tort law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C., today announced that one of its lead attorneys, Paul J. Pennock, successfully argued to a federal court judicial panel to consolidate into a single multidistrict litigation dozens of lawsuits claiming injuries from use of power morcellators manufactured by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon Inc.

Power morcellators are surgical instruments used on women in procedures to remove either the uterus or uterine fibroids. However, women risk death or serious injury from these instruments due to the capacity of the devices to spread hidden cancers and parasitic fibroid.

In addition to receiving the hard-fought go-ahead for consolidation, W&L also successfully persuaded the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to assign the matter to the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas.

“This decision by the panel is an extremely important one because it ensures that these cases will move at the fastest possible pace,” Paul J. Pennock, Chair of W&L’s Defective Drug & Medical Device practice group said.

“We believe this will allow our clients to obtain justice much more swiftly and reliably than might otherwise be the case if each client were compelled to battle the defendants in isolated courtrooms scattered across the country,” Pennock said.

Injuries Suffered Due to Power Morcellator Use

The plaintiffs in these actions against Johnson & Johnson-Ethicon are suing because they allege injuries suffered as a result of power morcellator design defects and inadequate warnings.

A power morcellator has rapidly spinning blades that cut fibroids and other tissues into easily removable bits, but sometimes the blades also cut up hidden cancers and allow them to aggressively spread throughout the abdomen. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2014 sent doctors and patients a letter to warn them of the risks and dangers posed by power morcellators.

Approximately 650,000 women in the U.S. each year undergo a surgical myomectomy or hysterectomy for the management of symptomatic uterine fibroids. Power morcellators are used in about 11 percent of these procedures, the law firm estimates.

W&L said the strategic victory was achieved despite exceptionally rigorous questioning by the judges sitting on the multidistrict authorization panel.

The case is In re: Power Morcellator Products Liability Litigation, MDL Number 2652.

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