Exactech Joint Failure Lawsuits to Go Before MDL Consolidation Panel Sept. 29

More than two dozen lawsuits have already been filed over the failure of Exactech knee, ankle and hip joints, which are blamed on the use of defective vacuum bags that failed to seal plastic components from oxygen

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation is scheduled to hear oral arguments later this month, over a motion to consolidate all lawsuits filed over Exactech joint failures, and decide whether to centralize claims brought throughout the federal court system before one judge for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.

Dozens of Exactech knee replacement lawsuits and Exactech hip replacement lawsuits have been brought in U.S. District Courts nationwide in recent months, each raising similar allegations that polyethylene inserts sold with the joint replacement systems are failing prematurely, since they were packaged in defective vacuum bags, which exposed the plastic components to oxygen before they were implanted.

The litigation emerged after an Exactech joint failure recall was issued in February 2022, impacting more than than 140,000 Optetrak, Optetrak Logic and Truliant knee replacement systems implanted in patients since 2004, as well as 1,500 similar components used in Exactech Vantage ankle replacements.

Similar problems have also impacted Exactech Novation and Acumatch hip implants since 2008, which were recalled in June 2021, and just last month the Exactech hip recall was expanded to add another 40,000 joint replacements that may fail.

Exactech Joint Replacement Lawsuits Each Involve Similar Allegations

Each of the product liability lawsuits filed in recent months raise similar questions of fact and law, indicating that Exactech joint failures were caused by the use of “out-of-specification” vacuum bags, which result in oxidation of the polyethylene inserts and the need for early revision surgery.

As the Exactech knee, ankle and hip joints continue to fail in the coming months, it is widely expected that several thousand claims will ultimately be brought against the manufacturer.

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Knee Replacement Lawsuits

Design problems with several types of knee implants have resulted in lawsuits for individuals who experienced painful complications.

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In a Notice of Hearing Session (PDF) issued earlier this month, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) announced it will hear oral arguments over whether to consolidate the cases during a hearing scheduled for September 29 at the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse, in St. Louis, Missouri.

The decision follows a motion filed by several plaintiffs in June, which calls for the centralization of all Exactech lawsuits over the polyethylene inserts before a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, to avoid duplicative discovery, conflicting pretrial schedules and to serve the convenience of common witnesses and parties involved in the litigation that is currently spread out throughout the federal court system.

The manufacturer has indicated that it supports the creation of an Exactech MDL, but has indicated that the cases should be centralized in either the Southern District of New York or the Eastern District of Louisiana instead.

According to the JPML notice, there are currently at least 27 complaints pending in 11 different federal district courts nationwide, each involving similar questions of fact and law. However, over the coming months and years, it is widely expected that the size and scope of the litigation will continue to increase as knee replacement lawyers continue to review and file claims for individuals who experience an Exactech joint failure.

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