Last year, Stryker-owned Howmedica Osteonics Corp. recalled more than 40,000 of its popular hip replacement implants from the market due to defects in the LFit femoral head that can cause devices to fail, break, or shed metal debris in patients.
However, this is only the latest in a string of recalls by the company of their hip devices for similar problems, and they have already paid more than $1 billion in compensation to those injured.
Now, DrugNews has learned that the rising number of LFit hip failure claims has led to the creation of a special multidistrict court to handle the volume. This is good news for consumers seeking help with their recalled devices.
JPML Creates Stryker Hip MDL in Boston
In the wake of the most recent Stryker recall, at least 33 patients from around the country had filed claims alleging serious injury or the need for revision surgery from defective hip implants by January 2017.
These cases all had similar claims and injuries, but were spread among 17 different federal court districts around the country, which could significantly lengthen the time needed for litigation. Howmedica and Stryker opposed combining the cases, as it would draw more attention to the issue.
Regardless, on April 4th, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered that the pending claims, as well as any new claims filed in federal court, be consolidated into a central multidistrict litigation court in Boston, Massachusetts.
The case will be known as MDL 2768; Stryker Orthopaedics LFIT V40 Femoral Head Products Liability Litigation, and will be presided over by U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani.
MDL Court Could Be an Advantage to Injured Patients
The creation of the latest multidistrict litigation court for Stryker LFit hip defects should allow greater access to patients wishing to file a claim, make the process quicker, and allow for fair compensation.
By allowing lawyers to consolidate their efforts and share evidence, they can accommodate more of those injured by the Stryker hips, instead of having to fight claims in different venues around the country. The same goes for Stryker, who will now only have to defend these claims in one court.
And, with only one judge to make decisions on trial dates, evidence allowance and which test cases best represent the group, lawsuits will reach trial more quickly.
Unlike a class action lawsuit, patients will still be allowed to choose their own lawyer, make settlement decisions and keep their case separate from one large group claim. Often, this results in greater awards for those participating in MDL cases rather than class action cases.
Defective Hips Can Cause Severe Complications
Last August, Stryker/Howmedica recalled 42,519 of their metal hip implants that utilized the LFIT Anatomic CoCr V40 Femoral Heads.
The company cited “higher than expected” taper lock failures as the reason, stating this could result in device fractures, separation, corrosion and metal debris expulsion.
What the company didn’t tell consumers is that these problems can lead to dangerous metallic blood poisoning, or that they may need painful hip revision surgery to replace the defective devices sooner than expected.
The recall covers several hip implant models that used the LFit COCR V40 femoral head, including:
$1.4 Billion Already Awarded in Stryker Hip Settlements
So far, Stryker has recalled at least five hip implant models since 2009, and experts estimate more than 25,000 patients have been affected by these faulty devices.
In 2014, they agreed to settle more than 4,500 lawsuits centered around their Rejuvenate and ABG II hips, paying approximately $1.4 billion to those patients injured or needing surgery.
Lawyers believe thousands more patients may be entitled to compensation from the latest recall. If you or a family member received a Stryker hip implant and have questions about the recall, side effects or joining the new MDL lawsuit, it is important to speak with a lawyer.
Contact DrugNews today for more information or to talk with a lawyer at no cost.
Hon Vance, S. et al. MDL 2768 Transfer Order. JPML. (April 5, 2017). Retrieved from http://www.jpml.uscourts.gov/sites/jpml/files/MDL-2768-Initial_Transfer-03-17.pdf
Bodine, L. Federal MDL Created for Stryker LFIT Anatomic CoCR V40 Prosthetic Hip. MT Nexus. (April 7, 2017). Retrieved from https://www.masstortnexus.com/mass-torts-news/federal-mdl-stryker-lfit-v40-prosthetic-hip/
Last summer, the Department of Justice unveiled the details of an ongoing lawsuit and resulting settlement against industrial giant 3M, claiming the company had furnished defective combat earplugs to millions of U.S. troops serving around the world.