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According to recent court filings, enough plaintiffs have agreed to participate in a knee replacement settlement involving Zimmer NexGen components to consummate the global deal, which may only leave a handful of cases unresolved.
Zimmer Biomet currently faces nearly 300 product liability lawsuits pending in the federal court system, each involving similar allegations that certain Zimmer NexGen components were defective and failed prematurely. At one point, the knee implant litigation included more than 1,300 claims. However, a number of prior court rulings have drastically reduced the number of cases that could proceed.
Given common questions of fact and law raised in knee replacement lawsuits filed throughout the federal court system against, all Zimmer NexGen cases have been consolidated as part of a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) since August 2011, with the claims centralized before U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer in the Northern District of Illinois.
The Zimmer NexGen system was first introduced in 1995, with most components later approved without extensive trials or FDA investigation into their safety through the 510K fast-track approval program, which only requires that devices be “substantially equivalent” to medical devices already on the market to obtain marketing approval.
In February 2018, a global Zimmer NexGen knee settlement was announced, after an agreement was reached in principal to resolve all state and federal cases. However, the agreement was dependent on the vast majority of plaintiffs agreeing to accept the settlement offer.
In a notice (PDF) filed this month, the parties indicate that at least 273 out of the 279 plaintiffs deemed eligible to participate in the knee replacement settlement have agreed to be bound by the deal. As a result, the parties have consummated the global deal.
In addition to claims involving Zimmer NexGen parts, other manufacturers have faced similar allegations in recent years involving claims over defects associated with other types of implants, including DePuy Attune knee implants, Exactech Optetrak knee systems, and the Arthrex iBalance knee.