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Biomet Settlement for Magnum Hip Replacements Approaching

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Hip replacement patients who have experienced problems with a Biomet Magnum metal-on-metal hip have two weeks to file their claim, if they wish to participate in a $56 million settlement agreement reached with the manufacturer.

Earlier this year, a Biomet settlement was reached to resolve product liability lawsuits brought by individuals who have required revision surgery due to complications associated with a Magnum hip replacement. However, the April 15 filing deadline is fast approaching.

There are currently about 1,000 Biomet M2A Magnum hip lawsuits, which all involve similar allegations that the implants were defectively designed and unreasonably dangerous, carrying a high risk of early failure within a few years after implant. In many of the cases, plaintiffs claim that they required revision surgery to have them taken out of their body due to catastrophic failures and other problems.

Under terms of the settlement agreement, each claimant will receive a base amount of $200,000, with other factors impacting the individual allocation in each case.

It is expected that most plaintiffs will agree to participate in the settlement, which should resolve the majority of the litigation. However, there are more than 250 cases pending that do not involve revision surgery, and a joint agreement reached by the parties may result in a stay on all proceedings in those cases until the plaintiffs require revision of the implant.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) established consolidated proceedings in the federal court system for all Biomet hip cases in October 2012, centralizing all pretrial proceedings before U.S. District Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr. in the Northern District of Indiana. The settlement agreement was reached before a series of “bellwether” trials that were expected to begin next year.

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.

The Biomet hip lawsuits are similar to product liability litigation filed involving other metal-on-metal hip replacements, such as the DePuy ASRDePuy Pinnacle and Wright Conserve hip.

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.

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