November 1996 AAOS Report

Pedicle screw cases refiled

The Plaintiffs Legal Committee has served the Academy, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, North American Spine Society and Scoliosis Research Society with new complaints in the pedicle screw multidistrict litigation being heard before Judge Louis Bechtle in Philadelphia. Judge Bechtle had dismissed the pedicle screw cases against the medical societies without prejudice on Aug. 22. The new complaints allege that the medical societies participated in and are continuing to participate in an "intercompany/association conspiracy" to "promote, market, distribute and sell devices intended for use as pedicle screw fixation devices ... through deceptive and misleading means," including holding workshops, conferences and symposia for which the medical societies received "significant financial compensation and remuneration." In addition, the complaints allege that the medical societies and spinal implant manufacturers agreed to conduct a "fraudulent and misleading" Cohort Study in 1993-1994 "to avoid liability for past wrongful acts." Judge Bechtle has scheduled a hearing on Nov. 14 to review various aspects of the Cohort Study and assess its scientific validity.

Hundreds of lawsuits filed throughout the country have been consolidated for pretrial administration in Judge Bechtle's court. Judge Bechtle is reviewing claims to determine their legal suffiency prior to sending them back to where they initially were filed.

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