Howmedica Removes Two Lawsuits Over Stryker Rejuvenate to Fed. Ct
Two Stryker Rejuvenate hip lawsuits filed in Florida state court have been removed to the federal court system by Howmedica, the manufacturer of the recalled hip component.
On October 2, product liability lawsuits filed by Connie and Carlo Piccinonna (PDF), and Jaimie M. Simon (PDF) were removed from Broward County Court and sent to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
In both removals, Howmedica Osteonics Corp, which also does business as Stryker Orthopaedics, claimed that the cases fall under the proper jurisdiction of the federal courts due to diversity of citizenship between the parties, since all of the plaintiffs were from Florida and the manufacturer is a New Jersey corporation.
Although Orthopedic Solutions, Inc., a medical device distributor based in Florida, was included on the original complaint, Howmedica claims that they were fraudulently joined. An affidavit was provided from Orthopedic Solutions indicating that they never participated in any way in the retailing, distribution, marketing or supplying of the Stryker Rejuvenate hip. Therefore, Howmedica claims that their inclusion in the case does not destroy diversity or prevent removal of the cases.
Stryker Rejuvenate Problems Caused Early Failure of Hip Replacements
Both lawsuits involve similar allegations involving problems with the recalled Stryker Rejuvante hip, which is a modular femoral neck-stem system that has been linked to an increased risk of corrosion, fretting and premature failure.
Unlike most femoral components for artificial hips, which involve one piece, the Stryker Rejuvenate consists of a metal neck that fits inside of a metal stem to allow the implant to be customized for certain aspects of a patient’s anatomy and hip biomechanics.
Plaintiffs allege that the modular neck stem releases microscopic metallic debris as the metal parts rub against each other. The complaints indicate that the defective design caused the plaintiffs’ hip replacements to loosen and move out of position, requiring revision surgery within a few years after their hip replacement.
In July 2012, a Stryker Rejuvenate recall was issued after the manufacturer acknowledged that the component carries a risk of fretting and corrosion at the modular neck junction.
The Stryker Rejuvenate Modular Hip System was just introduced in February 2009. While such implants are expected to last 15 to 20 years, Howmedica removed the Stryker Rejuvenate femoral neck stem from the market less than four years after it was introduced amid reports of problems with the modular hip replacement system.
The lawsuits accuse the company of negligent design and manufacturing of the Stryker Rejuvenate. Stryker itself confirmed that the modular neck stem suffered from loosening, corrosion and fretting, similar to problems seen with metal-on-metal hip replacement systems.
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