Exactech Knee Lawsuits Set For MDL Bellwether Trials in June 2025 and August 2025

While the first federal Exactech knee lawsuits will go to trial next year, the first claim to go before a jury is expected later this year in Florida state court.

The U.S. District Judge presiding over all Exactech knee lawsuits has chosen three claims involving complications associated with the recalled joint replacement system to serve as early bellwether test trials, the first of which will go before a federal jury in June 2025.

Exactech faces more than 1,200 product liability lawsuits throughout the federal court system, with hundreds of additional cases spread across different state courts nationwide, each raising similar allegations that manufacturing defects caused the joint implants to fail prematurely.

The plaintiffs claim that “out-of-specification” vacuum sealed bags were used with a plastic tibial insert component distributed prior to 2022, which allowed oxygen to reach their artificial knee, hip and ankle implants long before they were placed in the body. This has been shown to increase the risk of degradation and premature failure, often resulting in the need for additional surgery to remove the component only a few years later.

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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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The litigation emerged after an Exactech 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 components used in Exactech Vantage ankle replacements.

Similar packaging problems have also impacted Exactech Novation and Acumatch hip implants distributed since 2008, which were recalled in June 2021. That Exactech hip recall was expanded again in August 2022, after the manufacturer identified another 40,000 joint replacements that may fail prematurely.

Given common questions of fact and law raised in the complaints filed throughout the federal court system, consolidated pretrial proceedings have been established before U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis in the Eastern District of New York, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.

Exactech Knee Lawsuit Bellwether Trial Selections

Judge Garaufis has established a bellwether process, where small groups of claims involving allegations that have been repeated throughout a large number of other claims will be prepared for a series of early trial dates, as part of the management of the growing litigation. The trials are designed to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the claims.

In January, he ordered the parties to focus on Exactech knee replacement lawsuits for the first bellwether trials, which will deal with injuries and failures attributed to the Exactech Optetrak, Optetrak Logic and Truliant knee implants.

After the parties submitted lists of potential bellwether cases, Judge Garaufis issued a case management order (PDF) on April 19, which announced the selection of three claims to serve as the first trial dates.

The judge selected a lawsuit filed by Gayle Tarloff (PDF), of New York, for the first bellwether trial, slated to begin in June 2025. In a lawsuit filed in July 2023, Tarloff indicates she received an Optetrak Logic knee implant in May 2016, which failed and had to be surgically removed in March 2023.

As a result of the complications, the lawsuit indicates Tarloff experienced pain, stiffness, discomfort and weakness, which has affected her mobility and quality of life.

The second Exactech knee lawsuit bellwether trial is scheduled to begin in August 2025, involving a complaint (PDF) filed by Geraldine Larson, of New York, who underwent right knee replacement surgery in February 2013, receiving an Optetrak Logic knee implant. However, she was notified by doctors that her knee replacement had failed in 2022, which the lawsuit blames on damage caused by the defective packaging. She had to undergo revision surgery in February 2022, due to polyethylene wear, bone loss, osteolysis and component loosening, and now experiences daily pain and discomfort.

No date has yet been set for a third bellwether trial, which will involve claims brought by Dana Kessler Kramer. However, the order indicates it is expected to take place in 2025 as well.

While these three claims will serve as early bellwether trials in the federal court system, the first Exactech knee lawsuit to go before a jury will actually occur at the state court level in Floria, where a case is set to begin in October 2024

Although the outcomes of these early trials will have no binding impact on other lawsuits in the litigation, they will be closely watched and may have a large impact on any Exactech recall settlements the manufacturer offers to avoid the need for hundreds of individual trials to be scheduled in the coming years.


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