During this conference, the judge attempted to contact and coordinate with other judges presiding over similar cases concerning the Stryker litigation. This coordination helps avoid delays or excess cost in the cases. The judges who are presiding over Stryker cases in other jurisdictions are located in Oregon, New Jersey, and Florida where other Stryker cases are currently pending.
The judge also discussed the schedule of the litigation. Trials are set to begin in the summer of 2015. However, there was a discovery dispute between plaintiffs and Stryker over the production of certain documents by Stryker. At this point, plaintiffs have obtained approximately a million pages from Stryker. This is a miniscule portion of the documents we expect Stryker to produce. Stryker delayed the production of important documents so we would not receive them until the end of 2014. However, the judge produced an order stating that the documents must be produced no later than July of 2014. We are optimistic that the documents will be produced at this time.
The plaintiffs and defendants are disputing the production of electronic documents. Most documents are prepared on a computer. We previously received an order demanding Stryker produce an electronic version of the printed regulatory documents that have already been produced. An electronic copy allows us to determine who created and edited that file. The judge ordered Stryker to produce electronic versions of the hard copies that were produced. Stryker was resistant and attempted to get relief from the judge’s previous order. The judge was not pleased with this request and will rule on this matter this week. This decision determines whether or not the judge will amend his previous order.
Stryker asked the court to allow it to speak with the plaintiffs’ treating surgeons who have pending lawsuits against Stryker. For example, there are many surgeons who have implanted the Stryker Rejuvenate hip device many plaintiffs who are our clients. Stryker wants to speak to many of the implanting surgeons, your doctors, without your attorneys present and without the patient, you, our clients, knowing about it. We are strongly opposed to this. There are many statues and laws preventing surgeons and physicians from disclosing any private information about their patients to third parties. We have concerns about Stryker speaking to our client’s doctors outside of our presence without knowing what the doctors are saying. Stryker tries to justify this approach on the basis that they want to hire experts to defend their case. Unfortunately, these experts are the same surgeons who placed Stryker’s defective hips in their patients, our clients. Stryker maintains that if they are prevented from discussing the case with plaintiff’s surgeons, it will prevent them from hiring experts for their defense. We have asked the court to enter an order preventing Stryker from contacting your surgeons, and thus preventing them disclosing any personal or private information about you, their patients. There are strict rules in regard to what doctors can disclose to Stryker or any third party. The judge will issue an order this week pertaining to these issues.
Judge Frank would like to explore setting up a global settlement process. So far, the few settlements that have occurred have been executed on a confidential basis. Approximately ten to fifteen cases have been settled at this point. However, no one knows the outcome of these cases. Judge Frank is advocating for a global, transparent settlement process. There is a meeting to address this issue in June and another monthly status conference on June 12.
As always, if you desire more details concerning the status conference, you may visit the video library at our Stryker Litigation Update site, www.defectivehipsettlementcenter.com. To see the videos, click on the Stryker Litigation Update tab at the top of the page. Please feel free to call us with any questions or concerns.
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