Biomet Opposes MDL for M2A-Magnum Hip Replacement Lawsuits
Although a growing number of individuals throughout the United States have filed a Biomet M2A-Magnum hip replacement lawsuit after experiencing problems with the metal-on-metal implant, the manufacturer indicates that they are opposed to consolidation of the cases in federal court as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.
In late June, a motion was filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) seeking to consolidate and centralize the Biomet hip lawsuits before one judge for coordinated management during pre-trial proceedings.
Plaintiffs who filed the motion identified at least nine product liability lawsuits filed against Biomet in U.S. District Courts throughout the country over problems with the M2A Magnum metal-on-metal hip replacement, which features a metal ball rotating within a metal cup. All of the complaints involve similar allegations that the design allows microscopic shavings of metal to be released into the body, which increase the risk of loosening or failure of the implant.
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In a response (PDF) filed on July 19, Biomet suggested that the formation of a M2A-Magnum MDL was not appropriate because the cases will be dominated by the specific circumstances of each case and the manufacturer claims that they have a track record of reaching Biomet Magnum settlement agreements or obtaining other resolutions for claims
Biomet Magnum MDL Not Needed, Manufacturer Claims
Consolidation of cases as part of an MDL is common in complex product liability lawsuits where a large number of complaints have been filed over the same or similar medical devices. At least three other MDLs have already been established for other metal-on-metal hip replacements that have been linked to similar problems, including the DePuy ASR hip, DePuy Pinnacle hip and Wright Conserve hip.
Since the motion was filed to establish a Biomet Magnum MDL, the number of federal lawsuits over the artificial hip implant has already grown to include at least 40 cases.
Biomet acknowledges that there are now 23 properly commenced lawsuits over the M2A-Magnum hip replacement that have yet to reach a resolution, and the manufacturer is aware of at least another 17 cases that have been filed but not yet served. However, the manufacturer claims that all of the complaints have been filed by only five firms, who all have leadership roles in existing hip replacement MDLs.
The manufacturer has suggested that the filing of the request for an MDL was merely an attempt by lawyers reviewing potential cases to increase the number of lawsuits.
In opposing the MDL, Biomet argues that the consolidation of the lawsuits is not appropriate because the cases will require heavily individualizd discovery, which defeats the purpose of centralizing cases involving common issues.
In addition, the manufacturer suggests that many of the cases are already at an advanced stage in the litigation, and settlements or other resolutions have already been reached in a number of cases.
The first Biomet Magnum lawsuit was filed in July 2008, according to the manufacturer. However, that case was terminated based on summary judgment in 2009. The manufacturer reports that at least five other cases filed have already settled or been dismissed, suggesting that Biomet’s track record of resolving Magnum Actions “expeditiously” weighs against consolidation.
Although Biomet opposes creation of an MDL for the M2A-Magnum hip replacement lawsuits, they have 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 have proposed the Northern District of California, with the Southern District of New York identified as an alternate proposal.
Oral arguments on the motion are expected to be heard at the next hearing session for the U.S. JPML, which will be held at the Daniel Patric Moyniham U.S. Courthouse in New York, New York on September 20.
DavidSeptember 23, 2012 at 2:54 am
I have a Biomet total hip implant. This was was done in 2006. The first 2 yrs where good, after that it has been down hill ever since. I pray that Biomet, Courts, get off there dead asses and do some thing. We are in pain not them. And they still will make a fortune off us.
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