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A request has been filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to consolidate all federal product liability lawsuits over the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck stem hip replacement systems, asking that the litigation be centralized before one judge for coordinated handling during pretrial proceedings.
There are currently at least 30 Stryker Rejuvenate or ABG II modular hip lawsuits pending throughout the federal court system, with cases spread among 12 different U.S. District Couts.
In a motion (PDF) filed on February 12, one of the plaintiffs involved in the litigation, Robert Davis, indicates that the lawsuits should be consolidated as part of a Stryker Rejuvenate MDL, or multidistrict litigation. Such centralization is designed to reduce duplicative discovery among a large number of similar cases, avoid conflicting rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.
Davis has asked that the Stryker Rejuvenate litigation be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, where at least 10 of the current federal lawsuits are pending.
Stryker Rejuvenate Recall Could Result in Sizable Litigation
All of the complaints involve allegations that plaintiffs experienced problems with the Stryker Rejuvenate or ABG II modular-neck stem, which was recalled in July 2012 amid reports of corrosion, fretting and early failure.
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 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.
Although there are only 30 cases currently filed in the federal court system, it is widely believed the hundreds, if not thousands, of product liability lawsuits will be filed on behalf of individuals who experience problems with a Stryker Rejuvenate hip.
“Moving Party anticipates that the number of currently filed cases is just the beginning of a sizeable litigation,” wrote attorneys for Davis in the motion filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. “Since the recall, the number of adverse events reported to the FDA has increased tremendously. [In addition], Defendant’s evolving recommendations to both surgeons and patients implanted with these devices evidence a growing concerns about the device’s failure rate.”
Similar consolidation has already been established in the New Jersey state court system, where all Stryker Rejuvenate lawsuits have been consolidated as part of a Multi-County Litigation (MCL) in Bergen County. A large number of complaints are expected to be filed in New Jersey, as that is the home state for the device manufacturer, Howmedica.
The U.S. JPML has not yet established the deadline for Howmedica to respond to the motion for the federal court to establish a Stryker Rejuvenate MDL, and it is not likely that oral arguments will be heard on the motion until an upcoming hearing session scheduled in Chicago on May 30, 2013.