Lawyers who sued Stryker Orthopaedics over recalled hip implant components wanted a single judge to oversee about 30 cases filed in the past year. At the top of their list was U.S. District Judge Frank Donovan in Minnesota—an obvious choice, having overseen thousands of cases brought over another Stryker hip implant that settled for $1 billion.

But on April 5, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation instead chose U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani in Boston, a relative newcomer to the federal bench who has never before handled a multidistrict litigation proceeding, or MDL.

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