Hip replacement lawsuits claim patients were left with serious side effects due to device design or defects. Side effects include allergic reactions, metal poisoning, infection, nerve damage and bone loss. Thousands of hip replacement lawsuits have been filed against various device makers. Known settlements amount to at least $2.2 billion.
Why People Are Filing Hip Replacement Lawsuits
As many people grow older, they begin feeling pain, stiffness, or discomfort in their joints. These symptoms are often caused by inflammation (such as arthritis or bursitis), deterioration of the bone or cartilage, or injuries. Doctors often recommend treatments, such as stretches, exercise, anti-inflammatory drugs, or surgery.
If less-invasive treatments do not work, doctors may recommend a partial or total hip replacement (THR). THRs place metal, ceramic, or polyethylene implants in the top of the femur and the pelvic hip socket. Once recovered from surgery, THRs should ideally leave the patient with improved mobility and less pain and stiffness.
More than 600,000 hip replacement surgeries were performed in the United States between 2012 and 2018. If current trends continue, that number will increase in the future.
According to the 2017 American Joint Replacement Registry Annual Report:
- In 2012, there were 45,500 hip replacement procedures performed.
- In 2017, there were 280,000 hip replacement procedures performed.
Unfortunately, a lot of people have experienced severe complications with their total or partial hip replacement devices. In some cases, problems arise from the surgery, but in many other instances, side effects from the hip device have led to additional health issues.
In response to these problems, thousands of individuals have filed hip replacement lawsuits. Plaintiffs have named companies like Johnson & Johnson, Smith & Nephew, Stryker, Zimmer Biomet and other medical device manufacturers. The lawsuits claim manufacturers should have:
- Prevented the problems with their devices
- Done more to warn patients about potential complications
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. One leading theory claims the constant abrasion of the metal hip implant components causes minuscule cobalt-chromium (CoCr) particles to rub off and build up in the patient's body.
This buildup may lead to systemic autoimmune problems, including:
- Allergic reaction
- Toxicity (metallosis), often in the form of cobalt poisoning
These issues can lead to further systemic side effects including, hives, eczema, itching or redness. Severe complications can include memory loss, mental fog and the formation of necrotic tissue or "pseudotumors."
Many of the hip replacement lawsuits filed during the last decade cite such reactions as the primary cause of action. They also noted the need for revision surgery and other treatments. If the hip replacements had functioned properly, such procedures could have been avoided.
Other Hip Replacement Complications and Symptoms
In addition to complications from metal poisoning or allergies, hip replacements can cause other side effects. Some of those side effects may be more severe than others. Complications such as infection or blood clots happen immediately after surgery. Other problems, such as loosening and dislocation of the implant can take 5 to 10 years after hip replacement to develop.
Not all complications are due to faulty hip components. But certain styles and models of hip implant devices fail more often than others. These failures can lead to severe, even life-threatening side effects.
Potential 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 thousands of hip replacement lawsuits currently underway against several different companies. DePuy (a division of Johnson & Johnson), Smith & Nephew, Stryker, Zimmer Biomet and others have been named in these cases.
Most of these lawsuits have been consolidated under multidistrict litigation (MDL) in various districts. The MDL process helps reduce duplication of effort and increase overall efficiency of case administration. The table below provides an overview of the companies, devices and MDL case numbers for reference.
Hip Replacement Lawsuits in Multidistrict Litigation
|MDL (District Court)
|M2a Magnum Hip Implant Products
(Northern District of Indiana)
|DePuy Orthopedics (Johnson & Johnson)
|Pinnacle Acetabular Cup
(Northern District of Texas)
|DePuy Orthopedics (Johnson & Johnson)
(Northern District of Ohio)
|Smith & Nephew
|Birmingham Hip Resurfacing Implants
(District of Maryland)
|LFIT V40 Femoral Head
(District of Massachusetts)
(District of Minnesota)
|Conserve Hip Implant Products
(Northern District of Georgia)
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.
|Approximate # of Lawsuits
|DePuy Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System
|DePuy ASR Hip System, ASR Hip Resurfacing System and the ASR XL Acetabular Hip System
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. A 2016 award of $500 million to five plaintiffs in Texas was subsequently cut to $150 million upon appeal. In December 2018, court documents revealed that the company had settled thousands of Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System lawsuits, with thousands more still working their way through the courts.
Smith & Nephew BHR
The multinational medical device maker Smith & Nephew, headquartered in Great Britain, has been the subject of many different lawsuits over various allegedly defective 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
U.S. lawsuits against Smith & Nephew have been consolidated under MDL 2775, overseen by the U.S. District Court in the District of Maryland. As of September 2019, there were 700 cases still pending in the MDL.
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. At least 635 lawsuits have been filed in federal court due to problems with the Stryker LFIT V40.
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. If you or a loved one received a Stryker LFIT V40 femoral head 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.
DePuy Pinnacle Acetabular Cup Systems
In December 2018, a court filing indicated that Johnson & Johnson had settled (or was in the process of settling) approximately at least 3,300 of the 10,000 of the outstanding hip replacement lawsuits related to DePuy Pinnacle Acetabular Cup Systems. While the court documents do not state a settlement amount, Bloomberg cited several unnamed sources indicating that the average settlement amount was $125,000, making the total settlement for the 3,300 cases at least $412.5 million.
In May 2019, Reuters reported that Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $1 billion to settle nearly 6,000 cases in which the company's metal-on-metal hip replacement devices required surgical extraction. The total amount includes the $413 million settlement that they agreed to pay in December 2018. Even after this agreement, roughly 4,500 lawsuits remain unresolved.
The company continues to defend itself in a federal appeals court against a $1 billion verdict from an earlier Pinnacle hip replacement lawsuit as well.
In May 2020, Johnson & Johnson agreed to a $3.9 million settlement related to unlawful marketing practices. The lawsuit was filed by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. It claimed Johnson & Johnson had deceptively marketed multiple implants, including DePuy ASR implants. Company officials denied Morrisey's claims but settled "to avoid the delay, inconvenience and expense of litigation."
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 cases overseen by the U.S. District Court in the District of Minnesota (MDL 13-2441)
- 2,600 cases filed in New Jersey and 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. However, according to the company's 2017 financial report, most of these settlement claims were paid by the company's liability insurer, leaving the device maker a bill of $25 million. 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, has faced 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 for the Northern District of Indiana (MDL 2391).
Many Biomet hip replacement lawsuits were settled in 2014 with a $56 million settlement. Out of 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. As of June 2020, approximately 50 Biomet hip replacement lawsuits were still active in MDL 2391. A federal judge granted a motion for stay of 16 cases in MDL 2391 through November 2020. No significant case developments are expected in the meantime.
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 schedule a case consultation to see if you are eligible for compensation.
Hip Replacement Lawsuit FAQs
Can I File a Hip Replacement Lawsuit?
Generally, if you or a loved one has experienced severe complications after receiving a hip replacement using one of the following components, you may be eligible for compensation:
- Biomet M2a Magnum Hip Implants
- DePuy Pinnacle Acetabular Cups
- DePuy ASR Acetabular System
- DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System
- Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) Implants
- Stryker LFIT V40 Femoral Heads
- Stryker Rejuvenate Hip Replacement Components
- Stryker ABG II Hip Replacement Components
- Wright Conserve Hip Implant Products
- Zimmer Durom Hip Implant Products
If you have experienced serious side effects but are unsure what components were used in your hip replacement, you should consider a case review to determine if your claim is viable.
How Much Compensation Can I Get?
- The type of complications experienced
- Whether additional surgeries or medical care was required
- How long after the implant surgery complications began
- Whether the injuries caused temporary or permanent disability
How Much Does a Hip Replacement Lawyer Cost?
To avoid paying legal fees upfront, you should consider a contingency agreement. In doing so, you will not have to pay any legal expenses until you receive a payout from a successful verdict or settlement.