Thousands of defective hip lawsuits have been settled and thousands more are still pending nationwide against Zimmer (which recently purchased Biomet), DePuy, Stryker, Wright Medical and other medical device companies that sold metal-on-metal hip implants. Many defective hip replacement lawsuits now allege hip failure caused by metal cobalt and chromium damaging tissues in the hip area. There are differing failure rates depending upon the manufacturer. As of early 2014, the Biomet hip replacement appears to have the lowest failure rate, while the DePuy ASR ranks the highest failure rate.
In July 2014, Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Orthopaedics Inc., a subsidiary of J&J, began payments in the $2.5 billion DePuy ASR metal hip implant settlement from November 2013. The settlement involves approximately 8,000 cases (all of whom were required to have revision surgery before August 13, 2013) with base payments of $250,000 per case being paid first. Patients with extraordinary injuries will be further compensated later this year. According to Bloomberg News, however, the settlement could top $4 billion with payments averaging $300,000 per case.
Also in July, DePuy settled with the Oregon Department of Justice for $4 million, or about $10,000 per hip of the 432 devices sold in Oregon. Oregon, the first government lawsuit filed, accused the medical device maker of knowingly marketing a line of metal-on-metal artificial hips that were prone to failure. The $4 million settlement also requires DePuy to stop making false, misleading or deceptive statements when marketing or promoting its hip replacement products.
In March 2013, the first DePuy ASR hip recall trial in the US awarded the plaintiff more than $8 million (Kransky v. DePuy, BC456086, California Superior Court, Los Angeles County). One month later, DePuy scored a victory in the second hip replacement trial.
As of July 2014, more than 6,400 DePuy Pinnacle lawsuits continue to move forward in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (this amount is up from 5,704 pending as of April 15, 2014). According to court documents, an order issued on July 18, 2014 by U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade granted part of a motion filed by the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee that sought the deposition of a witness and production of certain documents pertaining to the Deferred Prosecution Agreement entered into between DePuy and the U.S. Department of Justice in April 2011. The remainder of the motion was denied without prejudice, to be re-argued following completion of the deposition. (In re: DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Product Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2244.)
Zimmer and Biomet
In 2010, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidated federal Zimmer metal-on-metal Durom Acetabular Cup cases into multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2158). Since that time, Zimmer has settled with its Durom Cup victims almost $400 million and plans to continue settling with Zimmer hip replacement patients. The MDL is set up in New Jersey district court and recent state court filings have commenced in Idaho, New York and Florida.
In February 2014, Biomet Inc., which is owned by Zimmer, agreed to a $56 million settlement (and more for extraordinary injuries such as multiple revisions or surgeries or complications from the revision surgery) for its M2a 38 and Magnum models metal-on-metal hip replacements. The average settlement amount for each Biomet hip case is approximately $200,000. According to court documents, more than 1,600 Biomet hip replacement lawsuits have been filed in the US District Court, Northern District of Indiana, on behalf of individuals who allegedly suffered metallosis, pseudotumor formation, chronic pain and other complications due to its metal-on-metal design. (In re: Biomet M2a Magnum Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation MDL No. 2391.)
Stryker Corp. recalled its ABG II and Rejuvenate Hip Model Systems in July 2012 and of the 20,000 Stryker hip implants, experts believe the failure rate could be as high as 50 percent.
In the fall of 2013, several Stryker cases began mediation. Either settlements will be announced soon or the first bellwether trials could be scheduled. In late December, Stryker settled the first four cases involving its recalled hip implants for an undisclosed sum of money. Meanwhile, the medical device company faces more than 1,000 hip lawsuits in state and federal courts, and more than 500 cases have been designated as MDL in New Jersey.
Wright Medical Technology Inc.
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Lastly, attorneys are still accepting defective hip claims from all of the above companies, but check the statute of limitations in your state. For instance, in a number of jurisdictions, the statute of limitations begins from the time Stryker announced its recall, which means that many Stryker hip victims needed to file a claim by July 2014. Each jurisdiction is different, however, and defective hip lawyers advise that you file a claim sooner than later.