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By: Irvin Jackson | Published: January 25th, 2013
Over the past week, Stryker has been hit with at least four new product liability lawsuits filed on behalf of individuals who allege they suffered problems from the recalled Rejuvenate hip system.
All of the Stryker Rejuvanate hip lawsuits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota against Howmedica Osteonics and their Stryker Orthopaedics subsidiary, alleging that the medical device manufacturer failed to adequately research the novel design of their modular femoral component or warn about the risk of complications, which could cause the device to fail within a few years.
Unlike traditional hip replacement systems, which involve a single femoral component, the Stryker Rejuvenate hip featured a two-part neck and stem design, which allowed surgeons to customize the length to match the patient. However, while hip replacements are expected to last 15 to 20 years, the Stryker hip was recalled only three years after it was introduced.
In June 2012, a Stryker recall was issued for the company’s Rejuvenate and ABG II modular neck hip stems. At that time, the manufacturer acknowledged that the components were prone to fretting and corrosion at the modular neck junction, which may cause pain, swelling and catastrophic failure of the hip replacement.
Over the past six months, a growing number of Stryker Rejuvenate lawsuits have been filed in courts throughout the United States. Each of the complaints contain similar allegations, indicating that Stryker failed to properly report complaints of problems with the Rejuvenate implants to the FDA in a timely manner and that the manufacturer attempted to minimize and withhold information about the problems for as long as possible, allowing sales to continue that placed consumers at risk for future problems.
In October, a group of plaintiffs who have brought their cases in New Jersey state court filed a request to centralize the Stryker Rejuvenate hip litigation as part of a “mass tort” or “multi-county litigation,” which would result in all cases pending throughout the state being assigned to one judge for coordinated handling.
As the number of lawsuits continues to increase in the federal court system, it is likely that a motion will be filed in the coming months with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to centralize the cases before one judge for coordinated handling during pretrial proceedings. Similar consolidation has been ordered in other hip replacement litigations, including the DePuy ASR hip lawsuits, DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuits, Wright Conserve hip lawsuits and Biomet M2A Magnum hip lawsuits.