Stryker Lawsuits Over Rejuvenate Hip Replacements Begin to Mount
A growing number of hip replacement lawsuits are being filed in courts throughout the country over the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II modular neck stem, which was recalled from the market last year amid data suggesting that many of the devices are failing within a few years after being implanted.
While the Stryker hip litigation remains in the early stages, and courts are still organizing the structure for the handling of the cases during pretrial proceedings, the number of complaints are quickly increasing.
More than 80 Stryker lawsuits over the Rejuvenate hip have already been filed (PDF) in New Jersey state court, where the cases were just consolidated earlier this year in Bergen County as part of a Multi-County Litigation (MCL). Hundreds of complaints are ultimately expected to be filed in New Jersey state court, which is the home state for Howmedica Osteonics Corporation, the manufacturer of the Stryker hip implant.
A number of complaints are also being filed in the federal court system, where a motion is pending to centralize the Stryker Rejuvenate lawsuits as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.
According to a motion filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on February 12, there were at least 30 complaints pending in 10 different U.S. District Courts throughout the country. Styker is expected to respond to the petition by March 14, and it is expected that additional cases filed in the federal court system will be identified by the manufacturer.
If a Stryker Rejuvenate MDL is established in the federal court system, all lawsuits would be transferred to one judge for coordinated handing during pretrial proceedings to reduce duplicative discovery, eliminate conflicting pretrial rulings and serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts. Such centralized proceedings increase efficiencies and may ultimately include several thousand lawsuits filed on behalf of individuals who claim that their Stryker Rejuvenate hip failed within a few years after it was implanted.
Allegations in Stryker Rejuvenate Lawsuits
All of the complaints involve similar allegations that plaintiffs experienced problems with a Stryker Rejuvenate hip replacement, which can corrode, fret and fail as the metal parts rub against each other during normal, daily activities. This may cause the artificial hip to loosen and ultimately fail, often resulting in the need for hip revision surgery.
Unlike traditional hip implants, which feature a single femoral component, the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II are modular, featuring two pieces that fit inside each other to allow the surgeon to customize the length based on the patient. However, the design has been linked to an increased risk of problems that may result from the release of microscopic metal debris as the chromium-cobalt neck rubs against the titanium femoral stem.
A Stryker Rejuvenate hip recall was issued in July 2012, only four years after the hip replacement system was introduced, citing data that indicated a trend of failures. More than 53,000 Stryker Rejuvenate or ABG II modular-neck stems were sold before the recall, most of which had already been implanted in patients.
In January 2013, Stryker issued a follow up statement to physicians and consumers, providing updated information and recommendations for individuals who have one of the recalled Rejuvenate or ABG II stems, indicating that regular testing is necessary, even for those patients not yet experiencing device failure.
As additional Stryker Rejuvenate hips fail and patients learn that they received a defectively designed component, it is expected that the manufacturer will continue to face additional claims brought by individuals throughout the United States.
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