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Judicial Panel Orders Covidien Hernia Mesh MDL

The Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (JPML) granted Levin Papantonio Rafferty’s (LPR) application to consolidate Medtronic Covidien hernia mesh cases into multidistrict litigation (MDL). Currently, 73 such product liability lawsuits are pending in seven district courts across the country, and that number is expected to grow.

"This is one of those rare instances where both the defendant and the plaintiffs' groups together recognized the need for pretrial consolidation and coordination in an MDL," said LPR attorney Timothy O'Brien and Fleming Nolen Jez attorney Kelsey Stokes in a joint statement to Law360. Both attorneys represent plaintiffs in the Covidien hernia mesh litigation.

The JPML order cites several factors that served to “tip the balance” in favor of creating an MDL two years after denying consolidation of these cases. Among these factors is the significantly larger number of actions.

With 4,700 cases pending in Massachusetts state court, the panel decided to centralize the federal lawsuits in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Massachusetts. The cases have been assigned to U.S. District Judge Patti B. Saris.

"On behalf of the Covidien mesh plaintiffs and their law firms from around the country, we very much look forward to working with Judge Saris so that we can get this project moving both efficiently and effectively," the plaintiffs’ attorneys added.

Centralized hernia mesh cases share common factual issues stemming from the shared allegations that defects in the defendants’ hernia mesh devices can lead to complications. The panel decided that consolidating the cases will thwart inconsistent rulings while making efficient use of resources and eliminating duplicate discovery.

The MDL case is In re: Covidien Hernia Mesh Products Liability Litigation (No. II), case number 3029, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.