2018 Hip Replacement Lawsuit News: The first trials for the Biomet M2a metal-on-metal hip replacement lawsuits are scheduled for September 2018. If you or a loved one has had problems with your hip replacement using this or any other device, contact a reputable law firm today for a free case review.
More than 860,000 hip replacement surgeries have been performed over the last five years, and if current trends continue, that number is going to rise even higher in the future. According to the most recent American Joint Replacement Registry Annual Report, the number of hip replacement procedures have risen from about 45,500 in 2012 to more than 280,000 in 2017.
Unfortunately, a lot of people have experienced severe complications with their total or partial hip replacements. In some cases problems arise from the surgery, but in many other instances, side effects from the hip device have led to further health issues.
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Hip Replacement Complications
Artificial hip replacements are used to treat deterioration in the hip joint, which can often lead to stiffness, pain, and mobility issues. The hip implant components can be made of several different materials, including:
- Metal: Artificial femurs are typically made of cobalt chromium or titanium (older metal femoral heads were made of stainless steel, but that is no longer used).
- Ceramic: Ceramic hip implant components are generally smoother than polished metal components, but they are also more brittle and could break after implantation.
- Polyethylene: Acetabular cups (the “socket” part of the hip joint) can be made of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene.
Depending on the components used, the hip implant may be referred to as metal-on-metal, metal-on-ceramic, or ceramic-on-ceramic. Metal-on-polyethylene and ceramic-on-polyethylene hip implants are also sometimes used. Each of these combinations has different risks and potential complications. Similar complications are often found in knee replacements as well.
Allergic Reactions and Metal Poisoning (Metallosis)
The exact cause of allergic reactions and metal poisoning in metal-on-metal hip replacements is debated among medical professionals. However, the leading theory is that the constant abrasion of the metal components causes minuscule cobalt chromium (CoCr) particles to rub off and build up in the patient’s body.
This buildup can lead to systemic autoimmune problems, such as allergic reaction, sensitivity, or toxicity (also called metallosis) often in the form of cobalt poisoning. These issues can lead to further systemic side effects, such as hives, eczema, itching or redness. Severe complications can include memory loss, mental fog and the formation of necrotic tissue or “pseudotumors.”
Other Hip Replacement Complications and Symptoms
In addition to complications from metal poisoning or allergies, hip replacements can lead to a wide variety of side effects, some of which are more severe than others. Some of these complications are immediate, such as infection or blood clots shortly after surgery, while others can develop over time, such as a loosening of the joint that leads to dislocation, which may occur as much as 5 or 10 years after the hip replacement surgery.
While not all complications are due to faulty hip components, certain styles and models of hip implant devices have been known to fail more often than others, leading to severe, even life-threatening side effects. If you or a loved one have experienced such a side effect, get in touch with someone who can help you find out whether your device was recalled or part of a lawsuit.
Most Common Complications of Hip Replacement Surgery
- Chronic or intermittent pain
- Limb length disparity
- Fracture near the implant site
- Deep-vein thrombosis (blood clots)
- Loss of bone matter (osteolysis)
- Detachment or loosening
- Sciatic or femoral nerve palsy (paralysis) or numbness
Current Hip Replacement Lawsuits
There are a number of current hip replacement lawsuits underway against several different companies, including DePuy (a division of Johnson & Johnson), Smith & Nephew, and Stryker (specifically, their Howmedica Osteonics Corp. division).
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DePuy Pinnacle and ASR Hip Resurfacing System (J&J)
DePuy Synthes was purchased by Johnson & Johnson in 1998. Since then, the company has faced tens of thousands of lawsuits for its medical devices, more than 12,000 of which are related specifically to hip implants and components.
According to J&J’s most recent annual report, most of the lawsuits are focused around two specific artificial hip parts.
|Hip Component||Approximate # of Lawsuits|
|DePuy Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System||10,000|
|DePuy ASR Acetabular System and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System||2,000|
While Johnson & Johnson won its first Pinnacle trial in 2014, the company has since lost several hip replacement cases with unfavorable verdicts. In November 2017, the company was found liable, and the jury awarded $247 million in compensatory and punitive damages to the plaintiff.
An 2016 award of $500 million to five plaintiffs in Texas was subsequently cut to $150 million upon appeal. With that in mind, J&J is appealing the most recent decision and still refuses to offer a settlement to resolve outstanding claims.
Smith & Nephew BHR
The multinational medical device maker Smith & Nephew, which is headquartered in Great Britain, has been the subject of many different lawsuits over various hip replacement products, including:
- Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) System
- Birmingham Hip Modular Head (BHMH) – phased out in 2014-2015
- R3 Acetabular System (R3ML) – recalled in 2012
As of the beginning of 2018, Smith & Nephew had about 740 hip replacement lawsuits filed against it around the world, with 253 of those cases filed in U.S. courts. These cases have been consolidated under MDL 2775, overseen by the U.S. District Court in the District of Maryland, with 190 cases still outstanding.
Stryker LFIT V40 Femoral Head Recall
In August 2016, Stryker issued a voluntary recall on more than 42,500 of its Stryker LFIT V40 femoral heads – the part of the hip implant that attaches to the thigh bone. According to the FDA medical device recall database, the company received multiple complaints from patients who were injured after the taper lock on the femur head failed.
The Stryker LFIT V40 femoral head is made for use with Stryker Accolade TMZF Titanium hip stems. Some have argued that this arrangement could be as costly as the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II Hip Implant settlement that required it to shell out nearly $1.5 billion (see details below). If you or a loved one received a Stryker LFIT V40 femoral head, talk to a lawyer to see if you may be eligible to file a lawsuit.
Hip Replacement Settlements
Some hip replacement lawsuits have been settled by drug manufacturers. Learn about some of the biggest settlements that have already taken place below.
Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II Hip Implant Settlement
In December 2014, Stryker offered $1.425 billion to settle more than 5,000 lawsuits related to Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck hip implants, which were made and sold by the company’s Howmedica Osteonics subsidiary. The initial settlement agreement was later amended in July 2015 and then again in December 2016, which expanded the number of people who could qualify for the settlement and extended the deadline to March 31, 2017.
The initial settlement resolved two separate sets of mass tort litigation:
- 2,300 multidistrict litigation cases overseen by the U.S. District Court in the District of Minnesota (MDL 13-2441)
- 2,600 multicounty litigation cases filed in New Jersey overseen by the Bergen County Court (MCL 296)
The base compensation amount for each plaintiff who agrees to the settlement was set at $300,000. However, some individuals received more depending on their circumstances, such as experiencing complications like infection, an allergic reaction, or the need for additional surgeries.
Smith & Nephew Metal-on-Metal Hip Settlements
Smith & Nephew has been plagued with a number of hip replacement woes over the years. Since 2015, the British corporation has paid out two very large settlements to close out many of the claims against it.
According to financial filings, most of these settlement claims were paid by the company’s liability insurer, while the device maker paid only $25 million of its own money. The total amount of the settlements are not disclosed. The company expects to finalize a third multimillion-dollar settlement in 2018.
Biomet M2a Magnum and M2a38
The Indiana-based medical device company Biomet, which merged with another device maker Zimmer in 2015 to form Zimmer Biomet, was faced with hundreds of lawsuits over its Biomet M2a Magnum and Biomet M2a38 metal-on-metal hip replacement systems.
The cases were consolidated in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Indiana, and many of them were settled in 2014 with a $56 million settlement. Out this settlement, plaintiffs received a base rate of $200,000 apiece, though some adjustment to that figure could be made depending on various factors, such as whether the individual had received resurfacing surgery or if the case was filed after the statute of limitations.
Other cases have since been filed, and as of March 2018, approximately 310 Biomet hip replacement lawsuits were still active in MDL 2391. Zimmer Biomet is the subject of many knee replacement lawsuits, as well.
Wright Conserve Hip Implants
Starting in about 2012, approximately 1,900 lawsuits were filed against Wright Medical Group, a device maker situated in Memphis, TN, relating to its Conserve, Lineage and Dynasty hip implants. The cases were consolidated in 2012 into a multidistrict litigation overseen by the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Georgia under MDL 2329.
All of the Wright hip replacement lawsuits were settled in two different settlements:
- November 2016 – $240 million settlement to resolve 1,292 lawsuits
- October 2017 – $90 million to resolve about 600 remaining lawsuits
In October 2017, after the settlement was announced, MDL 2329 was closed to new cases. However, if you have had problems with your hip implant made by Wright Medical Group or another manufacturer, you should still talk to a lawyer for your free case review to see if you are eligible for compensation.
Hip Replacement Lawsuit FAQs
If you have questions not answered below, contact a medical device law firm to see if you have a case.
Do I Need a Hip Replacement Lawyer?
In general, you will need a lawyer to help you file your lawsuit and handle the details of your claim. Finding a law firm that specializes in hip replacement litigation will give you an advantage because they can help you navigate any issues that might arise during your case.
How Much Does a Hip Replacement Lawyer Cost?
Reputable lawyers will never charge you up front. You will be able to get a free case review before you sign any paperwork, with a chance to ask questions and understand the strength of your case based on your situation. You will only pay after your lawyer helps you receive compensation for your claim.
Am I Eligible to File a Hip Replacement Lawsuit?
Given the number of manufacturers and models involved in hip replacement lawsuits, knowing whether you are eligible to file a legal claim can be difficult.
Generally speaking, if all of the following are true, you may be eligible to submit a hip lawsuit:
- You or a loved one received an artificial hip implant.
- You or a loved one experienced severe complications after receiving your hip implant.
- You or a loved one required additional surgeries or other medical treatment to address complications from your hip implant.
To see whether your specific situation qualifies you to submit a legal claim, connect with a medical device lawyer today to submit a legal claim.
How Much Compensation Can I Get?
Settlements and verdicts can range from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars, depending on a large number of different considerations, such as:
- The hip component manufacturer
- The type of complications experienced
- Whether additional surgeries or medical care was required
- How long after the implant surgery complications began
Depending on your individual case, other factors may also affect the amount you could receive. During your free case review, you can talk with your lawyer to understand what others in similar situations have received, and find out what you might be able to get from a settlement or verdict.
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