Biomet Magnum Hip Lawsuits Centralized in Federal MDL

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By: Austin Kirk | Published: October 3rd, 2012

All Biomet Magnum hip replacement lawsuits filed in the federal court system will be transferred to the Northern District of Indiana for coordinated pretrial proceedings as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation. 

According to an order (PDF) issued by the U.S. Judicial Panel on multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on October 2, all product liability complaints filed in U.S. District Courts throughout the United States on behalf of individuals who have suffered complications from the metal-on-metal Biomet M2A Magnum hip implant will be consolidated before U.S. District Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr.

The consolidation immediately affects eight cases currently pending in six federal courts nationwide, plus the Panel indicated that there are another 57 potentially related M2A-Magnum lawsuits that have been identified for transfer into the Biomet MDL.

All of the complaints involve similar allegations that the design of the Biomet Magnum metal-on-metal hip replacement allows the release of microscopic shavings of metal into into the body as the parts rub against each other, which may increase the risk of loosening or failure of the implant.

Biomet Magnum MDL Joins Other Metal-on-Metal Hip MDLs

Consolidation of complex product liability cases as part of an MDL is common when there are a large number of lawsuits filed over the same or similar medical devices, involving common facts and allegations.

At least three other MDLs have already been established for litigation involving metal-on-metal hip replacements that have been linked to similar problems, including the DePuy ASR hip, DePuy Pinnacle hip and Wright Conserve hip.

Biomet opposed the creation of a M2A Magnum MDL, arguing that it was not appropriate because the cases will be dominated by the specific circumstances of each case. The company also claimed that they have been successfully reaching settlement agreements in Magnum hip lawsuits or obtaining other resolutions for claims.

“Certainly, individual issues will be important at some point in these cases. However, a central issues (cq) in these cases may well be whether a common defect has led to the injuries alleged,” the JPML stated in its decision. “Moreover, the history of settlement of several cases is dwarfed by the almost 70 cases currently pending in federal court.”

The creation of a Biomet M2A Magnum MDL means that all lawsuits filed in federal court will be consolidated for pre-trial proceedings. However, if the parties fail to reach a settlement or otherwise resolve the litigation, the cases will be remanded back to their districts of origin and be resolved through individual trials.

Panel Chose Northern Indiana For Biomet Hip Litigation

Neither party requested that the Northern District of Indiana be the court in which the cases were centralized, however. Although Biomet opposed creation of an MDL for the M2A-Magnum hip replacement lawsuits, they suggested that if the panel decides that one is appropriate, the litigation should be transferred to the Southern District of New York or the District of New Jersey. Plaintiffs proposed the Northern District of California, with the Southern District of New York identified as an alternate proposal.

The JPML acknowledged that neither party had sought the location, and that no cases had been filed there. However, the court noted the central location and its proximity to Biomet’s Warsaw, Indiana headquarters as reasons for the decision.

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