Exactech Recall Lawyers Appointed to MDL Leadership Positions

The judge has adopted plaintiffs' plan to appoint 27 attorneys to leadership positions in Exactech recall litigation.

With a growing number of Exactach recall lawsuits being filed throughout the federal court system, the U.S. District Judge presiding over the litigation has appointed a group of lawyers to serve in leadership positions during the consolidated pretrial proceedings, taking certain actions that will benefit all plaintiffs pursuing claims over problems with defective knee, ankle and hip replacements that are prone to fail only a few years after they are implanted.

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 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 the Exactech hip recall was expanded in August 2022, to add another 40,000 joint replacements that may fail prematurely.

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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 October, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) centralized all Exactech lawsuits in an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, and transferred the claims to U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis in the Eastern District of New York, to coordinated discovery into common issues in the claims, avoid conflicting pretrial schedules and to serve the convenience of common witnesses and parties involved lawsuits that were spread out throughout the federal court system.

On December 12, Judge Garaufis issued an order approving a proposed plaintiffs’ attorney leadership plan (PDF), appointing a group of 27 Exactech recall lawyers to serve in various positions, including two to serve as co-lead counsel, three who will be part of an executive committee, two to serve as liaison counsel, a plaintiffs’ steering committee consisting of 12 members, and eight who will serve on various sub-committees.

These lawyers will take certain actions during the MDL proceedings that benefit all cases, including conducting discovery and depositions into common issues that impact all claims, arguing motions before the court and potentially negotiating Exactech implant settlements that establish a framework to resolve all claims. However, each individual plaintiff will still maintain their own Exactech lawyer to meet various deadlines and establish a link between their specific injuries and the HPV vaccine, as well as negotiate any potential individual Exactech lawsuit payout.

January 2023 Exactech Recall Lawsuit Update

There are currently at least 111 Exactech recall lawsuits filed in the federal court system, according to a docket report (PDF) issued by the U.S. JPML on December 15. 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.

Each of the lawsuits involve similar questions of fact and law, claiming that the manufacturer knew or should have known about the manufacturing defect, which exposed the plastic inserts to oxygen before they were implanted in patients. However, rather than issuing an immediate recall or earlier warnings, Exactech continued to sell the defective implants for years.

As part of the coordinated management of the litigation out of the Eastern District of New York, it is common for the Court to establish a “bellwether” program, where small groups of representative cases are scheduled for early trial dates to help gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the claims. However, if Exactech recall settlements are not reached following the MDL proceedings, each individual claim may later be remanded back to separate U.S. District Courts nationwide for future trial dates.


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