A raft of medical device companies – including Ethicon, Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX), C.R. Bard (NYSE:BCR), Endo Health Solutions (NSDQ:ENDP), Cook Medical and Coloplast (CPH:COLO B) – are facing thousands of product liability and personal injury lawsuits over their respective pelvic mesh devices. Hundreds of cases have been consolidated into multi-district litigation under Judge Joseph Goodwin of the U.S. District Court for Southern West Virginia.
In February, more cases were consolidated by Judge Arnold New, director of the Complex Litigation Center at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Last week other plaintiffs whose cases were removed to the U.S. District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania asked that their suits be moved to the court in Philly as well, citing Goodwin’s prior ruling in the West Virginia MDL remanding more than 150 cases involving Perkasie, Pa.-based mesh supplier Secant Medical.
Yesterday Ethicon argued that allowing cases naming Secant as a defendant to avoid the MDL "threatens to undermine the efficiencies that the MDL Court and parties seek to achieve through the MDL," according to court documents.
The Philly mass tort already has at least 120 cases and growing, Ethicon said, "fueled directly by the MDL Court’s remand rulings."
"These cases were filed in Pennsylvania based solely on Secant’s Pennsylvania citizenship, notwithstanding Secant’s immunity under the [Biomaterials Access Assurance Act of 1998] as a biomaterials supplier. The Pennsylvania proceeding undoubtedly will swell as plaintiffs seek to avoid the established Ethicon MDL by filing directly in Pennsylvania and naming Secant as a defendant, notwithstanding its entitlement to immunity," the company argued. "And because Secant is a biomaterials supplier for most of the Ethicon products at issue in the thousands of cases currently pending in the Ethicon MDL, there is ample reason to be concerned that plaintiffs who are now in the MDL will seek to dismiss their cases and re-file in Pennsylvania, adding Secant as a defendant."
Ethicon also asked the court to consider an interlocutory appeal should it decide to allow the cases to be remanded, according to the documents.