Discovery Moving Forward in Wright Medical Hip Replacement Lawsuit MDL

The discovery process is moving forward in the federal lawsuits over Wright Medical hip replacements, with the parties working out a detailed plan that will allow for the completion of all discovery by the end of next April.

In a case management order (PDF) issued by U.S. District Judge William S. Duffey, Jr. on May 23, non-expert discovery was permitted to begin as of May 25, and the attorneys appointed to leadership roles in the litigation have been directed to submit a detailed discovery plan on or before June 11, which shows a schedule for completing all non-expert discovery by February 22, 2013, and all expert discovery by April 26, 2013.

Judge Duffey is presiding over the Wright Medical hip replacement lawsuits in the federal MDL, which was centralized for coordinated handling in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgie in February 2012.

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While there were originally about 20 lawsuits consolidated before Judge Duffey, as additional Wright Medical cases are filed by hip replacement lawyers in federal courts throughout the United States, they will be transferred to the MDL for pretrial proceedings.

All of the complaints involve similar allegations of design defects associated with Wright Medical’s metal-on-metal hip replacements, known as the Conserve hip.  The system features a cast cobalt chromium molybdenum that provides the receptacle for a cobalt chromium molybdenum femoral head. The metal femoral head rotates within the metal monoblock Conserve Cup, which does not have a liner.

Judge Duffey met with plaintiff and defense lawyers on April 23 at the initial status conference, and a brief follow up telephone status conference was held on Monday, June 4.

It was been agreed between the parties and the Court in April that the MDL should be limited to lawsuits specifically for Wright Medical metal-on-metal designs. The designs expressly covered by the MDL include the Conserve Total Hip Implant System, the Conserve Total A-Class Advanced Metal Hip Implant System, and the Conserve Resurfacing System.

Plaintiffs allege that the design of the Wright Medical Conserve hip results in the release of metal particles that can cause metal toxicity in the blood, causing plaintiffs to suffer metallosis, tissue necrosis, pseudotumors and other problems that may increase the risk of the implants loosening or failing.

The case management order issued by Judge Duffey also specified a number of other procedures for the MDL, including instructions for plaintiffs who have to undergo revision surgery to preserve the hip replacement device that was removed, details on plaintiff and defendant fact sheets and schedule for future telephone conferences.

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