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An agreement has been reached to settle Biomet M2a Magnum hip lawsuits brought in the federal court system, with the manufacturer agreeing to pay $56 million to resolve cases alleging that design problems with the metal-on-metal implant caused them to require hip revision surgery.
There are currently about 1,000 product liability lawsuits pending against Biomet in the federal court system, which all involve similar allegations that individuals experienced problems with Biomet M2a 38 or Biomet M2a Magnum hip replacements, with many of the cases requiring the implant to be removed.
Since October 2012, the federal litigation has been centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana as part of an MDL, or Multidistrict Litigation, where the cases are being coordinated by U.S. District Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr. for pretrial proceedings and a series of “bellwether” trials that were expected to begin next year.
According to an Order (PDF) issued by Judge Miller on February 3, a settlement agreement has been reached to resolve all cases in the MDL where individuals have required revision surgery. Biomet has agreed to pay a base amount of $200,000 to each claimant, with other factors impacting the individual allocation for each case.
The Biomet hip settlement will apply to each case confirmed and filed on or before April 15, 2014. Excluded from the settlement are claims made by plaintiffs who have not undergone revision surgery. However, if those patients do get their implants removed, they may then be eligible to take part in the settlement agreement. There at least 237 non-revision cases currently pending in the MDL, according to a joint agreement (PDF) parties submitted last week asking for a stay to be issued in those cases.
“Biomet is pleased to have reached this settlement and have the MDL resolved,” the company stated in a press release. “Biomet appreciates the guidance provided by Judge Miller to bring this litigation to an expeditions and efficient resolution.”
Biomet Magnum Hip Problems
The Biomet M2a Magnum is a metal-on-metal artificial hip replacement system. According to allegations raised in the complaints, the design causes excessive amounts of cobalt and chromium to corrode and wear from the surfaces of the acetabular cup, femoral head and taper sleeve as the metal parts rub against each other. This excessive wear makes the Biomet M2a Hip system prone to fail, leading to problems walking, pain, and frequently resulted in plaintiffs having to undergo revision surgery to have the device removed or replaced.
The company reportedly received hundreds of reports of failures not long after the implant was launched, and plaintiffs claim that should have resulted in a Biomet Magnum recall. As early as August 2004, Biomet received a complaint involving a patient who required additional surgery to remove and replace a Biomet M2a Magnum Hip that had become loose only three years after it was implanted. However, according to allegations raised in plaintiffs’ complaints, Biomet closed its investigation into the matter.
In November 2013, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay at least $2.5 billion in Depuy ASR settlements to resolve about 8,000 cases brought against their DePuy Orthopaedics subsidiary.