A hearing was held in the Ethicon Power Morcellator multidistrict litigation (MDL) in front of U.S. District Judge Kathryn H. Vratil and U.S. Magistrate Judge James P. O’Hara on November 18, 2015. Attorneys for plaintiffs and defendants were present. The Court entered an order memorializing its rulings and setting forth additional procedures.
The Court appointed Anapol Weiss partner Larry Cohan to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) – this committee will meet regularly with the Court and opposing counsel to oversee the strategy, progress, and activity in the lawsuit. The PSC works tirelessly to protect the rights of people who have filed lawsuits against Ethicon for injuries related to its power morcellators.
This PSC is particularly unique in that it is comprised of a majority of women attorneys, which is the first in the history of MDLs. I am proud to work alongside Larry Cohan to represent the women and families affected by this product.
The Court has proposed an ambitious schedule to promote efficient resolution of these cases, many of which sadly involve women with advanced cancers and poor prognoses.
Ethicon withdrew its power morcellators from the market after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that power morcellation can spread undetected cancerous and infected uterine tissue throughout women’s bodies during a routine laparoscopic hysterectomy or myomectomy (fibroid removal surgery). In November 2014, the FDA issued a black box warning about these morcellator risks.
A power morcellator is a surgical tool that breaks up tissue and organs for laparoscopic removal. It has been used with increasing frequency for gynecological surgeries in recent years.