Stryker Rejuvenate Hip Settlements To Be Discussed During Mediation
As a growing number of complaints continue to be filed over problems with recalled Stryker Rejuvenate hip replacements, the medical device manufacturer has agreed to mediate claims in an effort to settle product liability lawsuits pending in New Jersey state court.
More than 80 Stryker Rejuvenate hip lawsuits are currently pending in New Jersey state court, where the litigation has been centralized for coordinated handling before Judge Brian R. Martinotti in the Superior Court of New Jersey in Bergen County.
While the litigation remains in the early stages, with the first lawsuits filed under a year ago, it is ultimately expected that hundreds, if not thousands of product liability lawsuits will be brought by individuals who have experienced early loosening or failure of their hip components.
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According to a consent order (PDF) issued by Judge Martinotti on April 2, the parties have already agreed to move forward with mediation to explore the possibility of reaching Stryker rejuvenate hip settlements.
Stryker Rejuvenate Hip Replacement Problems
Unlike traditional hip implants, which feature a single femoral component, the Stryker Rejuvenate hip replacements feature a modular design, with two pieces that fit inside each other to allow the surgeon to customize the length 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, leading the manufacturer to remove the device from the market in July 2012.
Stryker recalled both the Rejuvenate and ABG II modular hip components last year, after data suggested that the implants were prone to corrode or fret at the modular junction, increasing the risk of inflammation, loosening and failure of the artificial hip within a few years.
Although artificial hips are typically designed to last 15 to 20 years, the Stryker components were removed from the market less than four years after they were introduced. However, more than 53,000 of the Stryker hip replacements were sold before the recall, with most already implanted into patients.
Lawsuits filed on behalf of individuals who received a Stryker Rejuvenate hip replacement allege that the manufacturer failed to adequately research the design or warn about the risk of early failure.
Mediation Order in Stryker Rejuvenate Litigation
According to the order issued in New Jersey state court, plaintiffs involved in the first 25 lawsuits filed in the state have until April 22 to tell the court whether they intend to participate in the medication efforts. Plaintiffs in the remaining cases have until May 15 to decide whether to be part of the efforts to reach a settle their cases.
Attorneys for Howmedica Osteonics Corp., the manufacturer of the Stryker Rejuvenate system, and a panel of plaintiffs lawyers appointed by the court, have agreed to identify four mediators who are acceptable in the litigation, including Judge James D. Clyne, Judge C. Judson Hamlin, Judge Diane M. Welsh and The Pilgrim Mediation Group. The parties have also indicated that two additional mediators will be appointed if necessary. The cost of mediation will be split between the parties.
Judge Martinotti has indicated that the parties will provide the Court with periodic updates on the status of the mediation efforts, and at any time the Court may modify or terminate the mediation process, either on its own or at the request of Counsel.
In addition to the New Jersey state court litigation, dozens of Stryker Rejuvenate lawsuits are pending throughout the federal court system. A motion was filed in February to consolidate and centralize that litigation as well, asking a panel of federal judges to establish an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, for all Stryker Rejuvenate cases.
As part of that process, if an MDL is established, all cases filed in U.S. District Courts throughout the country will be centralized before one judge for coordinated handling during pretrial proceedings.
Oral arguments over the proposed Stryker hip replacement MDL are expected to be heard at an upcoming hearing session of the U.S. JPML in Chicago on May 30, 2013.
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