There has been some success in the lawsuits involving thousands of defective metal on metal hips. Some of the lawsuits have been settled and thousands more are still pending against the metal hip manufacturers including Zimmer (now the new proud owner of Biomet), DePuy, Stryker, Wright Medical and Smith and Nephew that sold the metal-on-metal hip implants.
The defective hip replacement lawsuits share similar allegations that there is premature hip implant failure caused by metal cobalt and chromium release. The artificial hips are made of cobalt chromium alloy and the grinding action of the hip joint in daily activity causing the metal components to rub together, leading to the release of these toxic heavy metal particles.
The release of these metal ions , causing metallosis, damaging tissues in the hip area and causes elevated blood levels of these toxins.
Settlements Underway For DePuy ASR
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 that was announced in 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. Patients with hip implants older than 5 years, smokers and overweight folks would get less.
DePuy Pinnacle Trials On Track
As of July 2014, more than 6,400 DePuy Pinnacle lawsuits continue to grind forward in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas. U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade granted part of a motion filed by the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee that wanted the deposition of a witness and production of certain documents related to the Deferred Prosecution Agreement entered into between DePuy and the U.S. Department of Justice in April 2011. The first bellwether trials are set for September 2014.
Zimmer and Biomet Settlements
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). Zimmer has settled with its Durom Cup with a $400 million payout and plans to continue settling with Zimmer hip replacement patients.
In February 2014, Biomet Inc., which is now owned by Zimmer, agreed to a $56 million settlement 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. More than 1,600 Biomet hip replacement lawsuits have been filed in the US District Court, Northern District of Indiana. Patients with hip implants older than 5 years, smokers, cases filed after the statute of limitations and overweight folks would get less.
Stryker Hip Settlement
Stryker Corp. recalled its ABG II and Rejuvenate Hip Model Systems in July 2012 and there are 20,000 Stryker hip implanted nationwide. According to some experts, the artificial hip failure rate could be as high as 50 percent.
In the fall of 2013, several Stryker cases began mediation. Either a global settlements will be announced soon or the first bellwether trials could be set. Stryker is exposed to 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.
Wright Profemur and Conserve Hip Replacement Implants have not been recalled but a number of lawsuits nationwide have been filed against Wright. No settlements have been announced to date.
Smith and Nephew R3
Smith and Nephew Implants have not been recalled, except for a limited number of R3 models and a number of lawsuits nationwide have been filed against Smith and Nephew. Smith & Nephew initiated a worldwide recall of the metal liner in its R3 Acetabular System in 2012, after reports of loosening, pain, device failure, infection, metal sensitivity and dislocation. Almost 4,000 of the metal liners were used in the United States between 2009 and the recall. No settlements have been announced to date.