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Stryker Rejuvenate Hip Problems Continue to Lead to Lawsuits, Settlements

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A growing number of Stryker Rejuvenate hip lawsuits continue to be filed as individuals experience problems with the recalled hip replacement system, even as the manufacturer continues to settle a small number of cases through court mediation efforts.

The Stryker Rejuvenate is a modular hip replacement, which was recalled from the market in July 2012, after the manufacturer acknowledged that it is prone to fret, corrode and ultimately fail within a few years after it is implanted.

Unlike traditional hip implants, which feature a single femoral component, the Stryker Rejuvenate 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.

Prior to the recall, an estimated 20,000 of the implants were sold, and it is expected that Stryker Rejuvenate problems are going to continue to cause users to suffer catastrophic failure of their hip replacements the longer the device remains in place.

Nearly 4,000 product liability lawsuits have already been filed nationwide, and the number is expected to continue to increase as Stryker Rejuvenate hip lawyers continue to review and file additional complaints in the coming months and years.

Approximately 1,700 of the cases are currently pending in the federal court system, where the Stryker Rejuvenate litigation has been consolidated as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, where all lawsuit are centralized before U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank in the District of Minnesota to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.

Similar consolidated pretrial proceedings have been established in New Jersey state court, where about half of all cases filed nationwide are currently pending, as it is the home state for the hip manufacturer, Howmedica Osteonics.

Stryker Rejuvenate Settlements and Litigation Status

As part of the coordinated proceedings in both New Jersey and the federal court system, a small group of cases are being prepared for early trial dates, known as “bellwether” cases.

If a Stryker Rejuvenate hip settlement is not reached to resolve the majority of the litigation, these trials are expected to begin next summer to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that may be offered throughout the litigation.

Court-ordered mediation programs have also been establish to negotiate small groups of cases, in an attempt to resolve the lawsuits early in the litigation process.

According to a case management order (PDF) issued by New Jersey Superior Judge Brian Martinotti on August 4, agreements have been reached to resolve at least 19 cases out of the 21 that have gone through the mediation program so far. Judge Martinotti has instructed the parties to select another 10 cases for the next phase of the mediation efforts this week.

Last month, Stryker announced it had taken a $161 million charge relating to costs of the Rejuvenate and ABG II recall. The company warned investors that those costs were not mitigated by its insurance proceeds.

All of the lawsuits involve similar allegations, claiming that the Stryker Rejuvenate hip implant was defectively designed and unreasonably dangerous, causing users to experience problems that often result in the need for risky revision surgery.

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