Ethicon Morcellator Litigation Winding Down, Most Cases Settled
The federal multidistrict litigation established for power morcellator lawsuits filed against Ethicon, Inc. could be winding down soon. According to a report from Reuters, all parties involved in the proceeding have asked that the litigation be dissolved, following settlements in the majority of cases.
The Ethicon morcellator litigation was established nine months ago in the U.S. District Court, District of Kansas. A total of 42 cases were ultimately transferred to the proceeding, all of which were filed on behalf of women who allegedly experienced the spread and upstaging of undiagnosed uterine cancers after undergoing minimally-invasive hysterectomies or myomectomies with one of the company’s power morcellators. The devices are used during such procedures to cut up uterine tissue so that it can be removed via a small incision in the abdomen.
According to Motion filed with the Court on May 27th, attorneys representing both plaintiffs and defendants reported that the vast majority of cases pending in the multidistrict litigation have been successfully resolved. Only four lawsuits remain, which can be sent back to their respective home districts for further proceedings.
The Court is likely to take up the matter on June 26th, when it convenes its next Status Conference.
Ethicon Morcellators and Cancer
On April 17, 2014, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public alert which discouraged doctors from using power morcellators in gynecological procedures, due to their potential to spread and upstage undetected uterine cancers. That November, the agency updated its earlier alert, and warned that the devices should not be used on a majority of women who require these types of surgeries because of the cancer risk.
On July 31, 2014, Ethicon, Inc. announced that it would end sales of power morcellators. At the time, the company said it had decided to do so because the risks and benefits associated with the devices remain uncertain.
Power morcellators are still marketed by a number of device manufacturers, including Karl Storz, Richard Wolf Medical Instruments, and Gyrus ACMI. Those companies are also defendants in morcellator lawsuits, and it should be noted that any decision to end the federal Ethicon litigation will not impact those cases.
Bernstein Liebhard LLP continues to evaluate power morcellator lawsuits. To learn more, please call 877-779-1414.