da Vinci robot maker opposes creation of consolidated federal lawsuit

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The company responsible for the da Vinci Surgical Robot are actively opposing an action to consolidate federal lawsuits against it alleging defects with the device that have led to injuries.

Reportedly, Intuitive Surgical Inc. is trying to block the creation of Multidistrict Litigation against the company. This move would place all federal lawsuits filed by people claiming they were injured during a surgery performed by the company’s da Vinci Surgical Robot into one U.S. District courtroom before a single judge.

Typically, an MDL is welcome by both sides as it places the trials in one location, reducing costs for each. It attempts to reduce the likelihood of decisions that could be appealed because it establishes rules for evidence and witnesses, thus avoiding inconsistent rulings among common cases.

Right now, there are at least four lawsuits filed against Intuitive Surgical which claim the da Vinci robot caused serious injuries while performing a surgery. The company is facing these allegations at the same time it is defending its marketing techniques that have put the robots in hospitals where a traditional surgeon would have performed the surgery.

In the lawsuits already filed, Plaintiffs believed the surgeons operating the robot were properly trained on its use prior to performing the surgery, either a gallbladder surgery or hysterectomy.

The motion to create the MDL against Intuitive Surgical suggests the lawsuits be centralized before U.S. District Judge Carlton Wayne Reeves in the Southern District of Mississippi.