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Following a recent global Stryker Rejuvenate settlement, which is intended to resolve thousands of cases over the recalled hip implant, a federal judge has ordered the registration of all potential claims, regardless of whether they have yet been filed.
There are currently about 5,000 Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II hip lawsuits filed in state and federal courts nationwide, each involving problems experienced after receiving the modular implants, often resulting in the need for revision surgery to remove the defective implant.
There were more than 20,000 of Rejuvenate and ABG II implants sold before a Stryker recall was issued in July 2012, when it was determined that the modular neck stem components pose an unreasonable risk of fretting, corroding and ultimately failing as the metal parts rub against each other.
In a Pretrial Order (PDF) issued last week, U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank indicating that all lawyers involved in the litigation must register their Stryker Rejuvenate hip cases, including both filed and un-filed lawsuits, as well as claims for individuals who have not yet required revision surgery.
Judge Frank is presiding over all federal cases involving the Stryker Rejuvenate or ABG II implants, which have been centralized as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Missouri. However, the order was issued in cooperation with the litigation in New Jersey state court as well as other state courts nationwide.
Following a status conference before Judge Frank, the order was issued to “effectuate the provisions of the private Settlement Agreement,” requiring that all filed and unfiled claims relating to the ABG II Modular Neck Hip Stem or Rejuvenate Modular Neck Hip Stem be identified.
The settlement is expected to result in a base payment of $300,000 for each Stryker Rejuvenate or ABG II plaintiff who underwent revision surgery on or before November 2, and otherwise qualifies for the settlement. However, there will be several factors that may reduce the base award, including the plaintiff’s age, prior hip revision surgeries and other related health conditions. In addition, individuals who suffered catastrophic injuries will be able to pursue additional compensation under the settlement if they meet several eligibility requirements for “enhancements.”
“While registration is mandatory pursuant to this Court order, uploading the Registration Declaration and Registration List on the claim processor’s website in no way signifies a claimants commitment or intent to enroll in the settlement program,” wrote Judge Frank in the order.
The Stryker Rejuvenate case registration opened on November 14, and lawyers are required to submit complete lists by December 14. For each case, lawyers must provide certain information about the client, as well as designate a Primary Law Firm and appropriate contact information. Following registration, claimants who wish to accept the terms of the settlement must enroll in the program between January 15, 2015 and March 2, 2015.
Unlike traditional hip implants, which feature a single femoral component, the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II implants featured a modular neck-stem, with two pieces that fit inside of each other to allow the surgeon to customize the length of the femoral component based on the patient. As the chromium-cobalt components rubbed against each other during normal daily activities, the implant design has been found to release microscopic metal debris, which can lead to failure of the implant.
Although the settlement only applies to cases that have required revision surgery by November 2, given the high failure rate with Stryker Rejuvenate hips, it is ultimately expected that new cases will continue to be filed over the next few years, and it is possible that additional settlements will be reached.
Judge Frank has indicated that after submitting the Complete Registration Declarations and lists, lawyers are obligated to serve an updated Report if there are any changes in the status of the cases, including if cases are subsequently filed or if the hip patients end up requiring revision surgery in the future.