In the American court system, federal and state courts operate completely independently of each other. Biomet’s victories up until this point all occurred in the Multi-District Litigation (MDL), which is part of the federal court system.
Suspicious that the MDL may not be the best place to litigate our cases at this early stage of the fight against Biomet, Maglio Christopher & Toale, P.A. instead chose to file our clients’ cases in state court, out of reach of the MDL. Up until July of 2014, Biomet was taking every case we filed in state court and “removing” them to federal court, where they would then be under the control of the MDL.
In July 2014 Maglio Christopher & Toale scored the first major victory in the fight against Biomet; one that would have long-ranging consequences for people all over the country implanted with Biomet’s M2a hips and who hoped for a change in momentum in the litigation. Judge Hernandez-Covington, a federal judge in the Middle District of Florida (Tampa), recognized that Biomet was “removing” to federal court cases which were validly being filed in state court by our firm. Not willing to rubber stamp a transfer of her case into the MDL, she ordered our firm as well as Biomet to submit legal briefs on the question of whether state or federal courts had jurisdiction over the case.
After reviewing both sides’ arguments, Judge Hernandez-Covington agreed with Maglio Christopher & Toale, P.A.: these cases belong in state court. The significance: our clients were no longer bound by the MDL’s orders. Most importantly, our clients could now ask for documents in state court that were not allowed in federal court.
After achieving a “remand” to state court, Maglio Christopher & Toale, P.A. was then able to pursue many cases in state court. Each of these cases amped up the pressure on Biomet given that none of these plaintiffs was subject the MDL’s limitation on which Biomet documents could be accessed to prove the case. With new courts and judges deciding the issues, we began aggressively pursuing the documents necessary to prove our clients’ case.