On June 8, Acting Administrative Director of the Courts, Glenn A. Grant, issued a Notice To The Bar, stating that all Allergan Biocell breast implant lawsuits filed in New Jersey will be consolidated as part of multicounty litigation (MCL) in the New Jersey Superior Court for Bergen County, where the claims will be presided by Judge Rachelle Harz for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.
The consolidation of the cases is designed to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues in the cases, avoid conflicting pretrial schedules from different judges, and serve the convenience of the common parties, witnesses, and the judicial system.
The MCL works similarly like the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) but at the state-court level. The cases will continue as individual lawsuits, where the judge would schedule a series of early test trials known as bellwether cases. If no settlement is reached through the bellwether process, then the cases will eventually be tried as individual claims in the New Jersey state court system.
Last year, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated the Allergan Biocell lawsuits in the Federal court system before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti in the District of New Jersey under MDL No. 2921.
Lawsuits against Allergan Biocell breast implants are rising in numbers, following the nationwide recall. Each lawsuit has a similar allegation that the textured surface of the implant may increase the risk of a rare type of cancer in the tissue surrounding it, which is now known as breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).
Recently, the parent company of Allergan, AbbVie Inc., announced to launch a new awareness campaign to inform women implanted with their recalled Allergan Natrelle Biocell breast implants, who might be unaware of the risks associated.