Bellwether trials expected to hint at future trendsMDL No. 2244 centralizes all complaints filed against DePuy Orthopaedics with regards to the company’s Pinnacle medical device, a type of artificial hip replacement. The MDL was formed by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) in May 2011 for the purpose of increasing the efficiency of the litigation process. The formation of an MDL is a common occurrence when large numbers of plaintiffs file similar lawsuits against a particular defendant. By joining the MDL, the plaintiffs retain their rights to an individual trial, yet share pretrial proceedings to avoid duplicative discovery and contradictory rulings. Currently, there are more than 4,800 DePuy Pinnacle lawsuits pending in MDL No. 2244.
The bellwether cases were selected as the first cases to go to trial. Bellwether trials in an MDL serve as a method of gauging the reactions of juries to evidence and testimony. Most often, the involved parties use bellwether trials as a means to anticipate future trends in the litigation. For example, if a substantial jury award is handed down for the first bellwether trial, the defendants may be more amenable toward settlement negotiations for future cases.
The remaining DePuy Pinnacle complaints in the MDL will also have their day in court. A motion to stay is not the same action as a motion to dismiss; these lawsuits have simply been placed on hold for the time being. Granting a request to stay is a common occurrence in mass litigation proceedings