Nearly two dozen lawsuits filed against manufacturers of gynecological tools called power morcellators have been proposed to be consolidated before one judge, yet makers of these controversial devices are opposing the move. A mechanism called a multi-district litigation, or “MDL,” allows courts to consolidate cases alleging similar claims in one court to expedite discovery and pretrial proceedings. Morcellator manufacturers Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon subsidiary, Karl Storz, and Richard Wolf Medical Instruments filed responses with the court opposing the motion, indicating that there are too few cases with too many varying products to justify the MDL.
The ongoing litigation over power morcellators has been in full swing since the FDA issued a safety warning in April 2014 that the devices could spread undetected uterine cancer in women who undergo a hysterectomy or myomectomy via morcellation. The device works by grinding up tissue in the uterus and removing it through a small incision in the abdomen; however, many women have suddenly developed full-blown cancers post-procedure that had not been previously diagnosed, leading to several lawsuits filed around the country. Oral arguments regarding the morcellator MDL are scheduled to be held October 1, 2015.