First Female Majority Plaintiffs Steering Committee Appointed in Case Against Ethicon

A federal judge recently appointed the first female majority plaintiffs steering committee (PSC) in a multidistrict litigation case against Ethicon, a unit of Johnson & Johnson. U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil of Kansas approved the 20-person committee on November 18 after co-lead counsel Paul Pennock noted that a large PSC was needed to handle a predicted 300 lawsuits against Ethicon. Pennock was inspired to form a leadership team of mostly women following a conference on “best practices” where Judge Vratil spoke about the historical lack of women in leadership on all of these multidistrict litigations.

Power Morcellator

A version of the power morcellator, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal

In July of 2014, Ethicon called for doctors worldwide to stop using one of their products after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a safety advisory citing potential cancer risks associated with the device. This medical device, a power morcellator, is used to shred tissue into smaller pieces so it can be easily extracted through a small incision in a woman’s body. Laparascopic power morcellators run the risk of spreading undiagnosed uterine sarcomas and other tissue throughout a patient’s body. To date, about 50 lawsuits have been filed against power morcellator manufacturers in federal and state courts, most against Ethicon.

To read more about this and to view a list of all 20 committee members, please click here.

If you had a procedure done with a power morcellator and you have questions, please reach out to the attorneys at Olsman MacKenzie and Wallace so that we can help to address your concerns.