Stryker Rejuvenate Hip Replacement Settlements Reached in More Cases
As a second round of Stryker Rejuvenate hip replacement lawsuits continue to be mediated in New Jersey state court, additional settlements have been reached by the manufacturer of the recalled modular implant.
Howmedica Osteonics currently faces more than 1,500 product liability lawsuits over their Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II modular femoral neck-stems, which were recalled in July 2012 amid reports that the device is prone to fret, corrode and fail within a few years after it is implanted.
Unlike traditional hip implants, which feature a single femoral component, the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II contains a modular neck-stem, 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 implants are typically expected to last 15 to 20 years, the Stryker Rejuvenate recall was issued less than two years after the design was introduced.
Approximately 600 of the cases currently pending are filed in the federal court system, with another 954 complaints pending in New Jersey state court, which is the home state for the medical device manufacturer.
As part of coordinated pretrial proceedings in New Jersey state court, Judge Brian Martinotti has ordered a series of early mediations to see if Stryker Rejuvenate settlements may be reached prior to lengthy litigation.
The first phase of the mediation program involved a group of 10 cases that were selected for early negotiations before a court-appointed mediator, and a second phase of negotiations began in another group earlier this year.
According to a case management order (PDF) issued by Judge Martinotti on April 1, all of the phase 1 cases that have settled. In addition, at least two of the cases that are part of the second phase have also resolved.
While mediation efforts continue, so does the discovery process into generic issues that apply to all cases, with a discovery cut off set for March 31, 2015. Judge Martinotti has indicated that if the litigation is not settled, two “bellwether” trials will be held next summer in New Jersey state court to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be introduced throughout a number of other cases. One trial will begin on June 15, 2015 and the other on July 13, 2015.
In the federal court system, all Stryker Rejuvenate lawsuits have been consolidated as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL), which is centralized before U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank in the District of Minnesota.
Judge Frank has also indicated that between three and five bellwether Stryker Rejuvenate trials will be held in the federal court system, beginning in the Summer of 2015.
If the parties fail to resolve a large majority of the cases following these early trial dates, Judge Frank may begin remanding hundreds of cases back to U.S. District Courts throughout the country for individual trials.
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