About the Multi-County Litigation

Multi-County Litigation (MCL) was created by New Jersey Court Rule Rule 4:38A enabling the Supreme Court to designate a case or category of cases as Multi-County Litigation to receive centralized management in accordance with criteria established by the Administrative Director of the Courts. Prior to 2012 this centralized system was referred to as “Mass Tort” status. This official form of coordination was authorized by the New Jersey courts since 2003. Prior to that there were less formal forms of coordination. Given that New Jersey was home to the asbestos manufacturer Johns-Manville and numerous pharmaceutical and medical device companies, New Jersey has had some of earliest and largest consolidated litigations handling product liability actions for numerous individuals injured by the same product.

The purpose of MCL is to centralize and streamline cases that arise from the same failed product, accident or overlapping set of facts. For additional details on MCL see the MCL FAQ and the Resource Manual on MCL.

Multi-County Litigation (MCL) is not a class action. Indeed this specific MCL (Ber-L-936-13) is comprised of more than 2,100 separate plaintiffs who have individual cases and lawyers, although some firms represent a large number of the overall plaintiffs. All of the plaintiffs are individually represented but due to the overlapping issues as to the science, design, marketing and regulatory approval of the recalled hip implants, the leadership of the MCL, specifically, the Liaison Counsel, the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committees, and other appointed committees (Discovery, Science, and Law and Briefing) work jointly together on issues that affect all cases.

About Judge Brian R. Martinotti

Judge Brian R. Martinotti has been a Mass Tort k/n/a Multi-County Litigation Judge since 2009, following seven years of service on the Family Division and then Civil Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey. Prior to his judicial appointment he was an attorney with the firm Beattie Padavano since 1987, recognized as a Certified Civil Trial Attorney by the New Jersey Supreme Court since 1993 and also a Board Certified Civil Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy since 1998. His experience in Alternative Dispute Resolution includes sitting on the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Complimentary Dispute Resolution from 2004 – 2006, and pre-judicial ADR experience with the American Arbitration Association, the New Jersey State Board of Mediation and the Bergen County Superior Court mediation program. He has authored Complex Litigation in New Jersey and Federal Courts: An Overview of the Current State of Affairs and a Glimpse of What Lies Ahead, 44 Loy. U. Chi. L.J. 561 (2012).

Members of the Plantiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC)


The Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II modular hip stems were voluntarily recalled on June 28, 2012 by Howmedica Osteonics, d/b/a Stryker Orthopedics, a New Jersey Corporation. The first Stryker Rejuvenate Modular hip stem case in the country was filed in Bergen County, New Jersey in August 2012 by Weitz & Luxenberg of New York City and Cherry Hill, New Jersey as local counsel for Searcy Denney of West Palm Beach, Florida. The case was assigned to Judge Brian R. Martinotti. A petition for Multi-County Consolidation was filed which was granted by order of Chief Justice Rabner on January 15, 2013 in which he appointed Judge Brian R. Martinotti as the Judge presiding over the Multi-County Litigation (MCL).

The Honorable Brian R. Martinotti of Bergen County is one of the three Multi-County Litigation Judges in the state, formerly known as the Mass Tort Judge. This request for MCL management, unopposed by Stryker counsel made perfect sense since Judge Martinotti already was managing hundreds of recalled hip implant cases as the Judge overseeing the centralized In Re: DePuy Hip Litigation since April 2011 [RE: CENTRALIZED MANAGEMENT OF DEPUY ASRTM HIP IMPLANT LITIGATION]. The DePuy hip litigation involves a different metal on metal hip replacement system that was recalled in August, 2010 but it shares many relating to the damaging effects of cobalt induced metallosis on tissue, muscle and bone.

Judge Martinotti promptly issued an initial Case Management Order which established guidelines for the litigation including preservation of evidence. During the first status conference Judge Martinotti appointed Ellen Relkin of Weitz & Luxenberg as Liaison Counsel and Chairperson of the Plaintiff Steering Committee and appointed Calvin Warriner to the Plaintiffs Steering Committee. Thereafter, on March 31, 2013, the Court appointed an additional four attorneys to the six member Steering Committee [CMO 2] as follows:

This Plaintiff Steering Committee was comprised of attorneys well-seasoned in orthopedic product litigation with the following roles in in the Multi-District Litigation DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., ASR Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation: Ellen Relkin, co-lead counsel; Cal Warriner Plaintiff Steering Committee member; Tom Anapol, Discovery Committee member and Tara Sutton, Law and Briefing Committee member [See MDL 2197 CMO 3]. Further, Tom Anapol is co-lead counsel in the MDL 2391 In Re: Biomet M2A Magnum Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation and Ellen Relkin is on the Biomet Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee. Additionally Dave Buchanan serves as Lead Counsel in the DePuy Hip litigation pending in New Jersey and Tobias Millrood as co-lead counsel in the In Re Nex Gen Knee Implant Litigation.

Judge Martinotti also directed Plaintiffs lead counsel to recommend a group of attorneys to work on the expert and science committee, the discovery committee and the law and briefing committee [CMO 1]. Accordingly, on March 20, 2013 Judge Martinotti accepted the committee recommendations [CMO 3]. On February 12, 2014 Judge Martinotti amended that order to replace some committee members with other attorneys and re-appointing the majority of the leadership members. Committee members hail from numerous states including Alabama , Georgia, California, Florida. Ohio and New Jersey and New York.

Equipped with the litigation and settlement experience from those other hip litigations, this leadership team worked seamlessly to efficiently manage the litigation and discovery while also work towards the goal of resolution for the many women and men suffering from the consequences of this recalled hip implant. They promptly identified the key medical literature and experts in the field, retaining experts from several countries around the globe who are most knowledgeable about modular hip design, took steps to ensure preservation of the medical devices that were sequestered following the recall so they could be produced and sent for analysis, served extensive interrogatories (written questions under oath) and demand for documents, and noticed depositions of key Stryker representatives.

The above actions of the NJ PSC preceded the formation of the companion MDL litigation in federal court in Minnesota. Those attorneys who were appointed a year ago in Minnesota (November 5, 2013) were able to get a jump start on the parallel litigation by utilizing the negotiated work product including the forms for expedited discovery including Preliminary Disclosure Forms, Plaintiff and Defendant Fact Sheets, Complaints, Protective Order, etc.