Stryker Rejuvenate Hip Cases Continue to Mount in Courts Nationwide

The number of Stryker Rejuvenate hip cases filed throughout the United States continues to grow, with several thousand individuals indicating that they have experienced problems after receiving the recalled hip implant.  

On February 18, U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank wrote a letter (PDF) to state court judges overseeing cases involving Stryker Rejuvenate or ABG II modular hip implants, seeking to coordinate the mounting litigation being pursued in federal and state courts.

Judge Frank is presiding over all federal cases, which were centralized last year in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota as part of an MDL, or Multidistrict Litigation. The letter was sent to state court judges in Illinois, Michigan and Oregon, indicating that there are currently at least 573 Stryker Rejuvenate lawsuits pending in the federal MDL, with plaintiffs indicating that at least another 1,000 cases will be filed in the coming months on behalf of individuals who have retained lawyers.

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Nearly 900 additional cases have been filed in various state courts throughout the country, with at least 779 of those claims pending in New Jersey state court, which is where Stryker’s U.S. headquarters are based. The New Jersey cases have been centralize before Judge Brian R. Martinotti for coordinated pretrial handling and more than 100 additional lawsuits are pending in various other states.

Unlike traditional hip implants, which feature a single femoral component, the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II contain a modular neck-stems, which consists of two pieces that fit inside each other to allow the surgeon to customize the length of the femoral component 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.

Although hip replacements are expected to last 15 to 20 years, the Stryker Rejuvenate recall was issued in July 2012, less than two years after the design was introduced. It is estimated that at least 20,000 implants were sold before the problems were disclosed by the manufacturer.

Discussions to Settle Stryker Hip Cases

The parties were scheduled to meet with Judge Frank today, during a status conference held to address a variety of subjects, including service of complaints, discovery issues and an upcoming deadline for hundreds of plaintiffs to submit fact sheets outlining details of their case.

According to a joint status report (PDF) submitted on February 17, lawyers representing Stryker and plaintiffs indicate that discussions are continuing in attempts to reach hip settlements in cases. A mediation program ordered by Judge Martinotti in New Jersey state court has resulted in the successful settlement of several cases, and the parties indicate that they are in agreement that an early attempt to settle Stryker Rejuvenate cases is worth exploring in the MDL.

In New Jersey, the first phase of the Stryker Rejuvenate mediation program involved a group of 10 cases. In December 2013, the Court reported that six mediations had been completed, with agreements to settle four cases reached. One additional matter originally set for mediation was withdrawn at that time, because the plaintiff was continuing to receive medical treatment for problems with the Stryker hip, leaving three cases in the first mediation phase.

Late last month saw another case settled as part of the mediation efforts.

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