Stryker Lawsuit Consolidation Approved

June 25, 2013

Stryker attorneys at Pintas & Mullins report that the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation recently approved the consolidation of all federal Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II hip lawsuits, creating a new multidistrict litigation (MDL).

2909406987_b7b3e3604e.jpg The federal Stryker cases will be moved to the U.S. District Court in Minnesota. It is common for large-scale cases, such as those pertaining to Mirena, for example, to be consolidated to speed up pretrial proceedings. MDLs make it easier for all parties involved to communicate, litigate, and award damages.

The lawsuits in this MDL pertain to the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II Hip Stem, as well as all future lawsuits involving these products. All cases will now undergo a collective discovery process in Minnesota Federal Court, during which common issues will be determined regarding to the implant's design defects. Some of the issues commonly cited in these cases include loosening or early device failure, tissue death, damage to bone, metallosis (metal toxicity), and required revision surgeries.

This is actually the second MDL action taken for Stryker cases so far in 2013. In January of this year plaintiffs alleging injuries from the Rejuvenate, whose cases were filed in state court (opposed to federal court), were ordered to be consolidated by the New Jersey Supreme Court. Similarly, plaintiffs in Florida were granted class-action status for their Stryker lawsuits. Class-actions differ from MDLs only in that, for MDLs, each lawsuit maintains its individuality. Plaintiffs are then able to decide on their own whether to proceed to trial or take a settlement with Stryker, whereas plaintiffs in class-actions are all given a single financial award that they split.

The Stryker Rejuvenate was recalled in July 2012 due to extraordinarily high failure rates, reports of metal toxicity, and corrosion between the neck and stem components causing tissue death and bone erosion. Unfortunately, for thousands of patients, the recall came too late.

One such victim, Michael Kent, was implanted with the Rejuvenate in December 2010, which caused him to experience excruciating complications and ultimately requiring several procedures and loss of part of his femur bone. His medical bills range in the hundreds of thousands, and he is hoping his Stryker lawsuit will enable him to pay his medical debt.

Metal-on-metal hip replacements, of which there are many different types manufactured by giants such as DePuy and Zimmer, were once touted as hip implants for the future and specifically targeted younger patients. The devices' components were made completely out of a metallic blend for better fit and mobility. Instead of providing this, the components corroded, releasing large amounts of metal debris into patient's bloodstreams and causing them to experience pain, swelling, loss of mobility, and undergo revision surgeries.

Because these implants were defectively designed at the cost of patient health and safety, plaintiffs are now seeking compensation for their mounting medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Another metal-on-metal hip implant currently subject to similar litigation is the DePuy (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson) Ultamet Articulation System.

DePuy just recently stopped selling this product (along with the ceramic-on-metal Acetabular Hip System) worldwide after the FDA requested extensive studies to be conducted on all metal hip devices. Metal-on-metal hip implant manufacturers are now required by the federal agency to conduct more rigorous studies to determine the devices' safety before they can be put back on American markets.

DePuy is currently facing more than 10,000 lawsuits over its metal hip implants, which began after a 2010 recall. The company lost the first hip trial in March 2013, when a jury in LA decided the implant system was defectively designed. The decision to stop selling all metal hip implants was preceded by a 90% decline in metal-on-metal hip sales since 2007.

Stryker attorneys at Pintas & Mullins urge anyone implanted with a metal-on-metal hip device to get in contact with a skilled attorney as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, emotional distress, and lost wages through a lawsuit against the manufacturer.