Stryker Rejuvenate Hip Lawsuits Filed Nationwide Top 2,300

Howmedica Osteonics currently faces more than 2,300 lawsuits over Stryker Rejuvenate or ABG II modular hip replacement systems, which were recalled from the market nearly two years ago due to a risk that the implant may be prone to catastrophically fail.  

In the federal court system, all cases involving the implants are currently consolidated for pretrial proceedings as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL), which is centralized before U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank in the District of Minnesota.

According to a joint report and agenda (PDF) submitted to Judge Frank in advance of a status conference scheduled for today, there are currently about 1,040 cases centralized as part of the MDL. Another 1,178 cases are pending in New Jersey state court, with 61 cases pending in Florida state court and another 23 spread out between California, Indiana, Michigan and Oregon, according to the report.

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Hip Replacements Lawsuits

Lawsuits are being reviewed for several different dangerous and defective hip replacement systems.

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Unlike traditional hip implants, which feature a single femoral component, the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II contained 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. 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.

An estimated 20,000 Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II implants were sold before the recall issued in July 2012. Although reports suggest that a very high percentage of the devices are likely to fail within a few years, due to fretting, corrosion and failure at the modular junction, only about 10% of potential claimants appear to have filed a lawsuit so far.

It is expected that the number of cases may dramatically increase in the coming months, as a potential statute of limitations deadline may be approaching next month for cases where injuries occurred prior to the recall, for individuals in states that require claims to be filed within two years. In addition, as Stryker Rejuvenate hip implants fail in the future, the litigation is likely to continue to mount.

The meeting today will involve a review of the status of claim filings, discovery procedures, the status of mediation efforts to settle cases and a number of disputed issues in the litigation.

Stryker Rejuvenate Settlements and Trials

All of the cases filed against Howmedica Osteonics raise similar allegations that the medical device manufacture sold a defective and unreasonably dangerous implant.

As the number of cases continue to mount, mediation efforts are moving forward in both the MDL and New Jersey litigation, in an attempt to settle Stryker Rejuvenate cases early in the proceedings. About two dozen cases have gone through the mediation process so far, and nearly all of the cases have been resolved after a case-specific review of the medical records and problems from the Stryker Rejuvenate or ABG II modular hip implants.

In addition to the mediation program, a small group of cases are being prepared for early trial dates in both the MDL and New Jersey state court. In the event progress is not made towards resolving the vast majority of cases over the next year, a series of “bellwether” trials are expected to begin next summer.

While the outcomes of these Stryker Rejuvenate trials will not be binding on other lawsuits, they are designed to gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that may be repeated throughout the litigation.

In the federal Stryker Rejuvenate MDL before Judge Frank, the pool of bellwether cases have been divided into five different categories of cases, based on the specific implant model, whether the hip replacement was prior to 2011 and whether the revision was complicated or uncomplicated.

If the litigation is not resolved following these bellwether trials, hundreds of individual cases may be remanded back to U.S. District Courts throughout the country for individual trial dates.

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