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South Carolina Stockert 3T Lawsuits Won't Head to MDL

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Greenville, SCThe U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) will not allow a large group of federally filed lawsuits concerning the Stockert 3T heater-cooler system to be consolidated in one court for more efficient handling.

In Jan. 2017, plaintiffs filed a motion In RE: Sorin 3T Heater-Cooler System Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2772 to transfer 15 Stockert 3T heater-cooler lawsuits related to the Sorin 3T Heater-Cooler pending in five districts to US District Judge Bruce H. Hendricks, US District Court for the District of South Carolina, Greenville Division.

In response, The JPML issued a ruling on April 5, 2017 denying the motion to centralize pretrial proceedings in a multidistrict litigation (MDL), which is a tool used by the federal court system to send cases that share common questions of fact to one judge for pre-trial discovery.

The Stockert 3T heater-cooler system, which helps regulate a patient's body and blood temperature during surgery, has been linked to infection during certain surgeries. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have each issued Stockert 3T infection reports specifically involving M. chimaera, a bacterial infection.

In their motion for transfer, the plaintiffs argued that all of the Stockert 3T heater-cooler lawsuits subject to the pending motion were for claims arising from exposure to Mycobacterium Chimera (M. chimaera) or Mycobacterium abscessus (M. abscessus) from the Sorin 3T Heater-Cooler System.

The JPML noted in its ruling that the defendants, along with several plaintiffs in the cases, oppose centralization, claiming that certain lawsuits contain "unique factual and legal issues." Also, in six of the actions, the parties were already working successfully to minimize overlapping pre-trial proceedings.

According to the JPML ruling: "We see no reason to disrupt the parties' successful efforts at informal coordination when almost all parties agree that Section 1407 centralization would provide little or no benefit."


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