Deborah Aldrich, a victim of stage 4 pancreatic cancer, has asked to remand her lawsuit against Wright Medical Technolgy Inc. to state court instead of federal court, so that the suit could proceed at a faster pace. Aldrich has been given a mere six months to live, and has argued that her cancer could end her life before she has the opportunity to testify in her own case.
Aldrich is only one of more than 1,000 lawsuits claiming Wright Medical Technology’s hip implants are causing injuries because of their faulty metal-on-metal design. When the metal parts of the device rub together, flakes of metal can chip off and cause organ damage, muscle and tissue damage, as well as an illness called metallosis.
The Aldrich case originally began in Arizona, before the litigation was consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL) in February 2012. In Georgia federal court, the first of 10 bellwether cases was finally concluded in November in favor of Robyn Christiansen, who was awarded $11 million, after the plan for discovery and depositions of the cases was laid out back in August of 2014.
Despite Aldrich’s condition, Wright Medical has fought her request. The medical device manufacturer says it will be severely prejudiced if Aldrich is allowed to proceed in her own case based on the outcome of the first bellwether case. The first bellwether was selected by the plaintiffs. The second bellwether would be a case chosen by Wright unless Aldrich’s case is allowed to proceed outside of the MDL.
“Recommending remand of this matter might encourage an influx of requests to recommend remand of individual cases,” says Wright, “and result in the piecemeal and haphazard administration of the litigation.”
But Aldrich’s attorneys are standing strong. Their filing before the court states, “Ms. Aldrich’s already limited, elapsing time, should not be delayed from being afforded her opportunity to preserve her testimony, on a separate schedule, monitored and adjudicated by a judge and court separate from this consolidation, whose administration will, by virtue of volume and intricacy, delay Ms. Aldrich from being afforded this opportunity.”