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A group of 10 Stryker Rejuvenate hip replacement lawsuits have been selected by a New Jersey state court judge for early mediation, to discuss the possibility of reaching settlement agreements during the preliminary stages of the litigation.
More than 300 complaints have already been filed throughout the New Jersey state court system over the recalled Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II modular hip implants, alleging that plaintiffs suffered painful and debilitating complications after their hip replacement failed, often resulting in the need for revision surgery.
The New Jersey Supreme Court centralized the Stryker Rejuvenate litigation in the state earlier this year, assigning all cases to Superior Court Judge Brian R. Martinotti in Bergen County for coordinated pretrial proceedings, as part of an MCL or Multi-County Litigation. The number of new lawsuits is expected to continue to increase over the coming months.
In a Case Management Order (PDF) issued on August 13, Judge Martinotti identified a small group of cases that will move forward with formal mediation sessions that are to occur no longer than December 15, 2013. Among the cases for mediation are two lawsuits selected by plaintiffs, two cases selected by the hip manufacturer and six cases randomly selected by the court.
The early mediation may help the parties settle Stryker Rejuvenate cases before substantial time and expense is incurred by the parties, and could lead to additional settlement negotiations in other claims. Judge Martinotti has suggested that a “Phase II mediation” will be defined at the next case management conference, which is set for September 24.
Earlier this year, Judge Martinotti indicated that the parties will provide the Court with periodic updates on the status of the mediation efforts, and at any time the Court may modify or terminate the mediation process, either on its own or at the request of Counsel. The cost of mediation will be split between the two parties.
According to estimates previously reported, Stryker Corp. has recorded reserves that suggest they anticipate the cost of covering additional medical treatment and personal injury settlements from Stryker Rejuvenate hip replacements may cost the company up to $390 million.
Stryker Rejuvenate Hip Recall
A Stryker ABG II and Rejuvenate recall was issued in July 2012, after the manufacturer acknowledged that the artificial hips were prone to fret, corrode, loosen and ultimately fail, often resulting in the need for risky revision surgery to remove the implant.
Unlike traditional hip replacements, which feature a single femoral component, the Stryker ABG II and Rejuvenate hips contain a modular stems, with two pieces that fit inside each other to allow the surgeon to customize the length based on the patient. However, as the parts rub against each other, metallic debris may be released into the body, causing individuals to face an increased risk of problems.
Although hip replacements are typically designed to last 15 to 20 years, the ABGII and Rejuvenate implants were removed from the market only a few years after they were introduced.
More than 20,000 of the implants were sold before the recall, and many estimates suggest that thousands of cases will ultimately be filed as individuals learn that their Stryker Rejuvenate hips failed due to issues with the implant design.
In addition to cases filed in the New Jersey state court system, many lawsuits have also been filed in federal courts nationwide. In June, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated cases filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide into an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, which is centralized before U.S. District Judge Donovan W. Frank in the District of Minnesota.
An initial scheduling conference in the Stryker Rejuvenate MDL is scheduled for the federal cases for sometime this month, and there are currently about 200 cases centralized in the federal court system.
As individuals continue experience problems with their Stryker Rejuvenate or ABG II hip implants the longer they remain in place, it is expected that the number of cases filed in New Jersey and throughout the federal court system will continue to increase.