On October 15, 2015, a panel of judges centralized all federal lawsuits involving Ethicon’s power morcellators in the U.S. District Court of Kansas under Senior Judge Kathryn H. Vratil. As of January 21, 2016, 33 lawsuits have been consolidated under this multidistrict litigation, or MDL.

An MDL is a legal procedure designed to expedite the handling of complex litigations where many individual cases share common factual questions. In this MDL, such common questions of fact “aris[e] from allegations that… defects in the design of Ethicon, Inc.’s power morcellators made laparoscopic hysterectomy or myomectomy procedures more likely to result in the dissemination and upstaging of occult cancer or other conditions.” (Source: official MDL site)

Ethicon, Inc. is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson and was the largest distributor of power morcellators in the US until it recalled all its morcellation devices on July 30, 2014.