There was a minor victory for patients that received faulty Biomet hip implants that have prematurely begun to fail. Biomet Inc. has agreed to pay a settlement of $56 million to cover injuries that were purportedly caused by their M2a Magnum and M2a 38 metal hip systems. The multi-district lawsuit that started in 2012 is compromised of hundreds of patients that have received these implants and have filed lawsuits claiming the devices caused pain, injuries and needed to be replaced.
Problems With Multiple Metal Hip Implants
This newest settlement is just one of many lawsuits that have surrounded the metal hip implant industry. The common problem with many of these metal-on-metal hip implants is the premature failure and corrosion of the metal components. This has caused pain, muscle lesions, metal poisoning and many other injuries to patients all over the world. Many patients are suffering a second surgery to have these implants removed, implants that were touted to last up to 20 years that are failing in the first few years.
Biomet, Inc. is just one of the companies that have been subject to thousands of lawsuits for these faulty metal hip implants. Other companies such as Stryker, DePuy and Zimmer all have had similar lawsuits filed against them. DePuy, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, announced in November, 2013 that they would be paying in excess of $4 billion to settle their over 7,500 lawsuits for their defective ASR hip implant. Stryker came to their first settlements of four of their lawsuits for their Rejuvenate hip implant in December, 2013, with hundreds, possibly thousands, of additional lawsuits pending.
Biomet Settlement Details
Although the settlement was agreed upon by Biomet, the company still denies any wrong doing. The company insists that the injuries detailed in the lawsuits were not caused by their hip implant device. As part of the settlement, plaintiffs that had implants removed after 180 days after implant will receive a base award of $200,000 and the settlement will extend to other plaintiffs that have pending lawsuits that are filed before April 15, 2014.
The monetary award will help many patients that have suffered due to these defective implants. However, there are many people who may have these implants and may have problems in the future. Time will tell what other injuries and medical problems will plague the unfortunate people that have the Biomet or one of the many others brands of these dangerous metal hips.
Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implants were called off the market by Stryker Corporation in July 2012. The move came after the receipt of various complaints by the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration USA) regarding these two models. The patients who received these implants have developed various ailments including severe pain, swelling and disability.
False claims alleged in the marketing of Stryker hips
The company claimed to be providing stable and durable products. On the contrary, these products caused various dangerous side effects and serious defects to the patient. The metal on metal implants caused an increase in the concentration of dangerous metal ions in the blood stream, which occurs because of the fretting of the metal in the joints. The microscopic metal debris and metal ions are then sucked into the bloodstream.
Corrosion at the joints and loosening of the joints also occurred early with the use of these products. The loosening of the implant caused the metal components to dig into the tissue surrounding the implant. The implant would not work properly and failed to give support to the patient. This caused a lack of mobility and in some cases, severe pain. In most of these instances, patients had to undergo additional surgeries and medical treatment.
Increase in Litigation Cases
As cases of failures increase in number, lawsuits against the Stryker Corporation continue to increase as well. Federal Multidistrict Litigation has centralized these cases in order to give them a speedy trial. Presently, these are at the pretrial stage in the court of Judge Donovan Frank of District Minnesota.
What is Multidistrict litigation?
Multidistrict litigation is a procedure normally adopted in cases that are of the same nature. In such cases, various individual plaintiffs file their complaints of a similar nature against one defendant. Therefore, to avoid repetitive work and reduce the load on the courts, such cases are combined in one court, where a group of cases is first put to the pretrial.
Pretrial is a procedure in which the case is heard by the judge before the start of the formal proceedings, in order to give the defendant and the plaintiffs a chance to reach a settlement and conclude whether the case is suitable for trial or not.
The court, after finalizing all the pretrial matters, will choose a few bellwether cases for trial. A bellwether is a term used for forecasting a trend. This approach in such cases is very useful in saving courts precious time. Consolidation of cases results in progress of the numerous cases at one pace. After the decision has been made regarding these cases, settlements of the remaining cases are done much more efficiently. Most of the cases are settled outside the courts. However, there is no bar on individual trial. It depends on the plaintiff if they want to agree to a settlement or go to trial after the bellwether decision.
Proceedings in Florida
Thirteen cases were filed in Florida regarding the premature failure and misleading advertisement of the Stryker’s Rejuvenate and ABG II products. These have been consolidated on the same lines as the cases involved with the federal MDL. The lawsuits against the Stryker Corporation claim that the products caused severe pain and suffering to those who had it implanted. Judge Marina Garcia-Wood has approved the consolidation of these cases on 3 October 2013. This is an important step towards achieving justice for those affected by the Stryker hip implants.
A large medical company has offered a multibillion-dollar deal to patients who have suffered pain and distress due to the malfunctioning of one of their devices. The metal hip implant manufactured by Johnson & Johnson is claimed to be one of the most faulted implants to be sold in the past few decades.
Johnson & Johnson was Aware of the Issues
The company was aware of the faults of the Articular Surface Replacement. The Depuy Orthopaedics is the sector of Johnson & Johnson responsible for the development of the device. An internal document that was retrieved from the company acknowledged an estimate that the device would fail within five years for about 40% of the patients who used it.
Perhaps this is the reason the company is being unusually giving in its settlement deal. Johnson & Johnson have agreed to pay approximately $2.5 billion to 8,000 patients who have had to undergo extra medical treatment to have the hip implant removed. The company has also agreed to cover all medical costs accrued by the patients for the operations or treatment related to the faulty hip implant. This is an unusual settlement to be announced by a company. Usually, companies award settlements and then the plaintiff is left with the responsibility to pay off their medical bills.
The Settlement Plan
It is not yet certain if all of the patients will agree to this settlement. Each patient would be awarded $250,000. However, the plan needs a 94% agreement from the plaintiffs before it can be agreed upon. Some people may choose to pursue their own individual lawsuit in hopes to gain more monetary rewards. Others may not receive the full $250,000 settlement, as the plan will reduce the amount based on how long the patient was using the implant.
The plan will pay out $250,000 to patients who qualify. For those who smoke, are overweight or who are older, the payment will be reduced. For those patients who used the implant for an extended period, the payment will also be reduced. For patients who suffered severe injuries, and for those who had both hips replaced, the payment will be increased.
Patients are not the only ones who will be benefitting from this deal. Lawyers who have agreed to a plan with their clients will be receiving more than $800 million of the settlement. The settlements will be awarded from two main pools. From one pool, consisting of $2 billion, basic awards will be settled. The other, a $475 million pool, will be used to pay additional settlements for those patients who were severely injured or debilitated due to the implant.
Causes of Injury and Pain in Hip Implant Patients
Many patients have suffered severe pain due to the debris from the metallic components of the implant. This debris can either enter the bloodstream or damage surrounding tissue. When patients brought up this issue initially, Johnson & Johnson denied any fault of their own. In 2010, however, the product was finally recalled as its failure rate continued to increase. In totally, the A.S.R. has been implanted in around 93,000 patients.
Individuals seek treatment through hip implants for a variety of reasons. One of the most common reasons people install hip implants is due to severe arthritis that leads to transplant surgery. Hip implants are not a completely new development. However, issues have recently begun to arise concerning the metal hip replacements, which thousands of people are using to this day.
There are a number of different techniques of surgery and different types of implants available in the market that can be used for the purpose. One such design for hip implants is metal on metal. These are supposed to be more durable, stable and trouble-free than the other types of implants, such as the ceramic on ceramic or metal on plastic types. However, metal on metal implants have caused a tidal wave of lawsuits for the various companies that provide them.
Notable companies involved in current lawsuits include Johnson & Johnson and Stryker. Johnson & Johnson have been estimated to be paying around $3 billion in damages procured by the plaintiffs, as they have almost 8,000 individuals to compensate. Stryker is still evaluating costs. Resolving the hundreds of lawsuits will cost them a substantial amount of money.
Rejuvenate and ABG II Recall
Stryker’s lawsuits have been ongoing for quite some time. Almost 20,000 Rejuvenate and ABG II hip systems had been sold before Stryker finally decided to announce a recall. The FDA had received numerous complaints from patients regarding the premature failure of the hip implants. In July 2012, the company officially halted production worldwide and recalled all Rejuvenate and ABG II hip systems. There are currently 350 lawsuits which have been filed against Stryker in the USA alone. These cases have been centralized as part of a Stryker MDL (Multidistrict Litigation).
The problem with the two metal on metal systems, Rejuvenate and ABG II, is that they experience early failure due to fretting and corrosion. The products manufactured by Stryker also have side effect of excessive ion concentration in blood and tissues around the implant, otherwise known as “metallosis”. Metal poisoning can cause various other issues within the body and can even be life-threatening for some. The reason the Stryker Corporation is being held accountable is because they provided the public with faulty implants and failed to inform patients about these side effects. This was both their medical and ethical responsibility.
Resolution through Mediation
A New Jersey state court has recommended a mediation program to reach an outside court settlement. What this means is that the first ten cases will be negotiated and the remaining cases will follow the settlements agreed to in by the initial cases. Mediation is beneficial to both parties as a settlement can be reached without cumbersome trials and legal proceedings. However, with mediation outside court, the plaintiffs may not be offered the same compensation they may have been given if the case was dealt with by a judge.
The Stryker Company’s settlement has been expected to be around $1.13 billion. However, the company is still calculating costs and hopes to find an easier route through mediation.
Johnson & Johnson have recently entered into an agreement with the patients who suffered from the faulty all-metal implants made by the company after a protracted court battle. This will cost the company around $3 billion.
Another company, which is going through similar court battles, is the Stryker Corporation. Prior to the recall of their failed Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implant models in July 2012, the company had sold more than 20,000 implant units. So far, more than 600 patients have filed lawsuits against the company, as they have developed problems after getting the implants fixed. These lawsuits are expected to grow in number, as more and more individuals find fault with their metal on metal hip implants.
Claims of the plaintiffs impacted by defective Stryker hips
Plaintiffs against the Stryker Corporation are looking for compensation covering the medical treatment expenditures and other financial losses incurred, as a result of the pain and suffering caused by the implants. The plaintiffs have claimed that the manufacturer of these metal on metal implants, the Stryker Corporation, misled them through false claims of durability and stability of the product.
Hundreds of patients have developed complications such as pain, swelling and disability after implant surgery with Rejuvenate or ABG II implants. Detailed medical investigations revealed that the fretting and corrosion of the prematurely failing implants was producing microscopic metal particles. These particles were then absorbed in the blood. Similarly, fretting and corrosion in these implants led to the loosening of the implants, necessitating replacement surgery.
These problems are taking place far earlier than the manufacturer claims they should. Stryker Corporation’s metal on metal implants have a failure rate higher than 13% after only five years of use, when they should be lasting around 10-15 years.
Progress in Lawsuits against Stryker
There is an option to settle a large number of lawsuits of similar nature against a single defendant by a process of unification. Keeping in mind the ever-rising number of cases against Stryker Corporation, there are some courts utilizing this option.
At the federal level, the cases have been consolidated for Multi-District Litigation in the district court of Minnesota. There are currently 395 cases on the list of the Multidistrict Litigation against Stryker Corporation, MDL 2441. Similarly, in New Jersey the cases at the state level have been consolidated for pretrial under a Multicounty Litigation process.
This consolidation process is a fast-track and efficient method of resolving such cases. The first step after consolidation is pretrial proceedings, which are underway in both the federal and the state level courts right now. The next step will be the trial of the bellwether cases. These will be selected representative trendsetting cases, chosen from the consolidated list. After the decision of these cases, the remaining plaintiffs may decide to proceed further with the case or agree to a settlement, as per their own choice.
The Precedence of Johnson & Johnson
Stryker Corporation’s product Rejuvenate and ABG II are similar to the Johnson & Johnson DePuy products. Both companies created metal hip implants, which ultimately failed terribly. Stryker has attempted to follow suit Johnson & Johnson’s approach in their numerous litigations. Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy ASR metal hip implants have also faced hundreds of complaints. The company has been compensating and continues to compensate the many victims of their hip implants.
The Stryker Corporation is looking to settle a similar deal. Both companies have agreed to cover the medical costs incurred to correct the hip implants and any further medical treatment required as a result. The federal courts and state courts have consolidated many lawsuits against both companies. However, Johnson & Johnson have settled some lawsuits individually.
The landmark case in this battle involved a retired prison guard who was awarded $8.3 million in compensation. This was one of the first of many lawsuits the company would be filing. Not all patients have been so lucky. A registered nurse lost her lawsuit against the company. Although many of the recipients of the DePuy model have or will most likely win their case against the company, the battle is far from over.
Turning a Blind Eye
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a very lenient law regarding the approval of any new transplant devices. This law has come under fire since the increasing failure rates of metal hip implants of various companies. The law states that any new hip implant device can be approved if it is similar to an already approved device currently available on the market. As the metal on metal devices made by various manufacturers are inherently similar, companies get the approval without any stringent checks.
In the USA, no record of the implants is maintained, unlike other countries like the UK and Australia. In these countries, health care organizations can monitor the efficacy of the implants over time. As per their records, every eighth DePuy metal on metal implant has failed. In the last decade, around 750,000 people have had metal on metal hip implants installed in the USA alone. Due to the lack of monitoring of these products, before and after they were sold, thousands of those recipients are experiencing phenomenal pains, which should not have occurred.
The Consumer Union of the USA has demanded much stricter approval process for all implant devices. They have also demanded the manufacturers provide the patients a guaranteed warranty. If these products are failing prematurely, it is the company’s duty to cover all medical costs and any other patient related costs. This has been decided in the hopes that this deters companies from releasing products, which they have not fully tested themselves or that may have possible side effects they do not mention.
Actions taken by Stryker
In July 2013, the Stryker Corporation recalled the metal on metal hip implant models Rejuvenate and ABG II. The FDA, Food and Drugs Administration USA forced the decision on Stryker, when they received a large number of complaints against the product. The company has stopped manufacturing and distributing these products worldwide. For patients who are currently using the products, Stryker urges them to seek medical attention right away and have a checkup performed to revalue their health.
The company has proposed a reimbursement procedure similar to the one undertaken by Johnson & Johnson. It seems the company will be following in the steps of the medical product giant, if they want to preserve an iota of their accountability and reputation.
Chicago Resident Claims Stryker Hip Implant Is Defective
Throughout the United States, there have been thousands of individuals like Mark Stephan who have had their lives drastically altered due to Stryker hip implants. From athletes to elderly people, Stryker hip implants have impeded on the well-being of individuals due to their defective nature. In August of 2007, Mark Stephan required a hip implant after being involved in a serious bicycling accident. His bicycle broke down, and his entire body was thrown over the handlebars. His vertebrae were fractured as a result, and it was expected that he would never be able to walk again.
The Stryker hip implant that he received was supposed to help him, but rather it has only added to his suffering and pain. Mr. Stephan is only 55 years old, but he will likely need to undergo a hip revision surgery due to his defective Stryker hip implant. He is also afraid that the faulty device may kill him or release poisonous ions into his bloodstream. As a result, Mark Stephan is now pursuing a Chicago Stryker lawsuit against the manufacturer to assert his legal rights and reclaim compensation.
The Voluntary Recall of Stryker Rejuvenate & ABG II Hip Implants
In June of 2012, Stryker Orthopedics initiated a voluntary recall of its own products. This was only after the FDA released numerous safety notices that warned consumers about the potential danger behind Stryker hip implants. Stryker Orthopedics also only initiated this voluntary recall due to the numerous complaints that it received as to the hip revision surgeries that were often required by patients with the Stryker hip implants. The problem was that the ABG II hip implants would typically fall apart and cause tremendous pain for patients. The ABG II hip implants did not undergo rigorous testing by the FDA, so patients were typically unaware that these hip implants had a propensity to deconstruct.
Mark Stephan is an example of one plaintiff who was completely unaware that Stryker hip implants were defective in nature. Stryker Orthopedics went ahead and made representations about its products that it knew were untrue. Many patients believed the advertisements and claims made by Stryker Orthopedics that these hip implants were intended to offer them support and to help them.
How Invasive Revision Surgeries Are Harming Patients
The invasive revision surgeries that patients like Mark Stephan now require are very painful and expensive. It is also likely that a patient may require even additional revision surgeries after having one. Revision surgeries often cause swelling, blood clotting and bruising in patients. Research studies have shown that patients frequently experience these side effects for at least six months after a revision surgery. It may be impossible for people like Mark Stephan to return to work or enjoy the activities that they once did as a result of Stryker hip implants.
Mark Stephan is now pursuing a lawsuit against Stryker for creating a defective hip implant and marketing it based on untrue representations. He seeks damages for the invasive revision surgery that he will likely require. He is unsure of whether he should get the revision surgery, because he is afraid of the negative impact that it will have on his life. His lawyer is also suing Stryker for misrepresentations that have mislead doctors and patients into believing that hip implants were quality products. Even doctors were unaware that Stryker hip implants were extremely defective in nature.
Asserting Your Rights with Stryker Hip Recall Lawyers
If you have suffered as Mark Stephan has, then you may have a claim against Stryker Orthopedics. Stryker Orthopedics must be held accountable for mass-producing defective hip implants that have caused individuals throughout the United States to suffer. A lawyer can help you to initiate a Chicago Stryker lawsuit today. Get in touch with Stryker hip recall lawyers for your free initial consultation and to receive an assessment of the damages that you may receive.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has approved the consolidation of Stryker hip recall lawsuits that are currently in federal court. The consolidation of the Stryker lawsuits will enable the cases to be handled more efficiently and may allow parties to receive damages in a more timely fashion. There are currently over 40 major lawsuits that have been filed against the manufacturer of the Stryker Rejuvenate device, and these lawsuits will now all take place in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota.
The Stryker Rejuvenate Multi-District Proceedings
Judge Donavan F. Frank will be presiding over the multi-district litigation proceedings involving the consolidated Stryker lawsuits. Any future lawsuits that involve the Stryker Rejuvenate or the ABG II Hip Stem device will also be joined to these consolidated proceedings.
This will be the second approved MDL consolidation for the Stryker lawsuits. Early in January of 2013, there was a prior consolidation of lawsuits involving defective Stryker medical devices. Plaintiffs in these lawsuits had their cases consolidated to be heard before the New Jersey Supreme Court.
Differences Between Class Action Lawsuits and MDL litigation
There have also been some Stryker hip lawsuits that have been brought as a class action. In February of 2013, a district court in the Southern District of Florida granted class-action status to a plaintiff suffering from injuries as a result of using the Stryker Rejuvenate hip replacement. In a class-action lawsuit, all plaintiffs are required to split the damages that are ultimately awarded to them. Multi-district litigation proceedings provide more flexibility to plaintiffs, because they can individually receive damages for their injuries. Each plaintiff also has the freedom to choose whether to move forward with a trial or pursue a settlement with a manufacturer.
The multi-district litigation proceedings are expected to be less time-consuming than the class-action lawsuits concerning Stryker hip replacement devices. In a multi-district litigation proceeding, all discovery procedures will be consolidated to be heard before one judge. These discovery procedures include the presentation of expert witnesses and oral arguments. In addition, other procedures such as depositions and document review only need to be conducted once by the attorneys involved in an MDL case.
Get in Touch with a Stryker Hip Recall Law Firm
Those who have suffered from injuries as a result of a Stryker hip replacement system can get in touch with experienced hip recall attorneys who are on the front lines of these cases to learn more about these cases today. It may not be too late to be joined as a plaintiff in the MDL proceedings concerning Stryker hip recall lawsuits.