LivaNova, the company that manufactures Stӧckert 3T heater-cooler units blamed for causing hundreds of life-threatening infections, has opposed centralization of the lawsuits in a multidistrict litigation (MDL).
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one developed an infection after surgery with a heater-cooler device, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and our lawyers can help.
What’s the Problem?
March 24, 2017 – Plaintiffs involved in heater-cooler lawsuits filed a petition in January with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to centralize all federal complaints into one jurisdiction for pretrial hearings. They argued that all of the suits share common questions of fact, and that consolidation would help reduce the risk of duplicative discovery and conflicting rulings by different judges.
LivaNova has rejected the proposed consolidation, filing a motion last month to keep the lawsuits in their original jurisdictions. The company asked JPML to deny the proposed litigation, saying it would not “promote the just and efficient conduct of these actions.” A second group of plaintiffs has also filed a motion opposing the MDL.
All of the lawsuits involve allegations that patients were infected by a rare type of bacteria during invasive surgeries in which a heater-cooler device was used.
In October 2015, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about problems linked to medical heater-cooler systems. According to the FDA, at least 32 adverse event reports had been associated with the devices between January 2010 and August 2015.
“It is possible that some cases have not been reported to the FDA,” the agency said. “It is challenging for a health care facility, health care provider, manufacturer, or patient to recognize that infections, particularly NTM infections, may be associated with the use or exposure to a particular medical device.”
LivaNova argues that the proposed MDL is inappropriate due to the specific issues in each case regarding hospitals, bacteria and patients. In some of the cases, for example, plaintiffs were infected by the M. abscessus bacterium, while in others, they were infected by the M. chimaera bacterium. Though these are both in the same class of bacteria, defendants argue they are not the same.
JPML is scheduled to hear arguments on the potential consolidation of heater-cooler lawsuits next Thursday. Though there are only 15 cases pending now, it is expected that many more complaints will be filed in the coming weeks and months.
Do I Have a Heater-Cooler Lawsuit?
The Medical Device Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in heater-cooler lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new injury and death cases in all 50 states.
Free Case Evaluation: Again, if you got an infection from a heater-cooler machine, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.