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A Tale of Two Billion-Dollar Settlements

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Houston, TXThe end of 2016 saw a flurry of activity on the litigation front just before the Christmas break, with the headlines of December 19 and 20 dealing with Hip Replacement Implant Failure and the billion-dollar settlements that emerged to close out the year.

On December 19 Stryker Corp. and its subsidiary Howmedica Osteonics Corp. issued a statement that they had agreed to compensate additional plaintiffs in the multidistrict litigation that resulted in a $1 billion settlement in 2014 for patients who received allegedly defective metal hip replacements and suffered hip replacement implant failure.

(In re: Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL number 2441, before the US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation).

The original settlement, struck in November of that year, only included those plaintiffs who had revision surgeries on failed implants completed by November 3, 2014. Anyone having undergone a surgical revision after that date was left out in the cold.

The agreement finalized this past December 19 expanded the eligible plaintiff pool to include anyone who had experienced hip replacement implant failure and had completed a successful revision procedure by December 19, 2016. The eligible claimants were to receive a base award of $300,000 for each revised hip, subject to any applicable reductions or limitations, including but limited to obesity, age, and whether or not the plaintiff was a smoker.

Many a Stryker defective hip implant lawsuit emerged following a recall by Stryker of modular-neck stems from their Rejuvenate and/or ABG II line in June 2012, amidst reports the devices could fret or corrode, harm body tissue, and cause pain or swelling.

That news was released on December 19. The following day, December 20 another $1B Hip Failure lawsuit settlement was in the news when the six plaintiffs in the third bellwether trial over Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Orthopaedic’s allegedly defective Pinnacle Ultamet implants officially asked a federal judge in Texas to sign off on jury awards handed down earlier in December.

The motion for judgment on the verdict filed December 20 asks the court to grant each plaintiff the full amount awarded plus prejudgment interest at 10 percent per annum on the actual damages “from the date of their September 9, 2016, settlement offer to the date the judgment is satisfied.”

The total award of $1.04 Billion is more than twice the award determined in the previous bellwether trial, the second in a series being conducted. That hip replacement lawsuit award, originally valued at $502 million, was whittled down to $150 million due to caps on punitive damages observed by the state of Texas for residents of the state.

The most recent bellwether award, while also within Texas jurisdiction, is said to be not affected by the Texas cap given that the six plaintiffs involved in the defective hip implant lawsuit were residents of California – a state that doesn’t observe a cap on punitive damages stemming from lawsuit awards and settlements.

The next bellwether trial in the J&J / DePuy file is set for September.

For the record: The MDL is In re: DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implants Products Liability Litigation, Case No. 3:11-md-02244, in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Individual cases are Andrews v. DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. et al., Case No. 3:15-cv-03484; Davis v. DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. et al., Case No. 3:15-cv-01767; Metzler v. DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. et al., Case No. 3:12-cv-02066; Rodriguez v. DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. et al., Case No. 3:13-cv-03938; Standerfer v. DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. et al., Case No. 3:14-cv-01730; and Weiser v. DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. et al., Case No. 3:13-cv-03631.

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After surgery on my spine I have to have another surgery bad or early loosening of screws.

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