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The number of Stryker Rejuvenate hip lawsuits filed in state and federal courts throughout the country is approaching 1,000, as complaints continued to be filed on behalf of individuals who have experienced problems from the recalled modular hip system.
An estimated 20,000 Stryker Rejuvenate or ABG II hip systems were sold in the United State before it was removed from the market in July 2012, amid reports that the modular femoral neck-stem may corrode and fret, causing the implant to loosen and ultimately fail within a few years.
Unlike traditional hip implants, which feature a single femoral component, the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II are modular neck-stems, consist 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 less than two years after the design was introduced. It was removed after the manufacturer acknowledged a higher-than-acceptable failure rate, but the longer the implant remains in place, more and more patients are suffering problems from the Stryker hip implant.
Litigation over Stryker Rejuvenate Hips
Due to the increasing number of individuals nationwide who have filed product liability lawsuits against Stryker and it’s parent company, Howmedica Osteonics Corp., the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) established a coordinated proceeding in the federal court system in June 2013. All complaints filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide have been centralized in the District of Minnesota for coordinated pretrial proceedings before U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank, as part of an MDL or Multi-District Litigation.
According to an updated case list (PDF) issued by the U.S. JPML on November 18, there are currently at least 395 cases centralized in the Stryker Rejuvenate MDL. The centralization is designed to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues that will arise in a large number of cases, to avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the parties, the witnesses and the courts.
A large number of complaints have also been filed in New Jersey state court, which is where the hip manufacturer is headquartered in the U.S. According to an updated case list issued by the New Jersey courts on November 18, there are at least 553 Stryker Rejuvenate or ABG II lawsuits centralized before Judge Brian R. Martinotti in Bergen County, where pretrial proceedings are being coordinated as part of an MCL, or Multi-County Litigation.
With nearly 5% of all individuals who received a Stryker Rejuvenate or Stryker ABG II implant bringing lawsuits already, it is ultimately expected that the manufacturer will face several thousand injury claims.
Stryker Rejuvenate Settlement Negotiations
All of the claims involve similar allegations that the manufacturer designed and sold a defective and dangerous hip replacement system, indicating that the modular stem was not properly tested and inadequate warnings were provided to consumers and the medical community.
In both the state and federal litigation, it is expected that a small group of cases will be prepared for early trial dates, known as “bellwether” cases. These trials are designed to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that may be repeated throughout a large number of claims.
The preparation and outcome of these bellwether trials may facilitate further negotiations to settle Stryker Rejuvenate cases without the need for individual trials in each lawsuit.
The parties have already begun a process of mediating a small number of Stryker Rejuvenate lawsuits, with a first round of settlement talks expected to occur in New Jersey state court by December 15. According to an order issued last month by Judge Martinotti, a total of 10 cases will be negotiated during these initial mediation efforts, including six cases randomly selected by the Court, two cases selected by plaintiffs and two cases selected by defendants.
During a third-quarter earnings report released in October 2013, Stryker estimated that the total amount it may need to pay in Stryker Rejuvenate settlements and other costs associated with the recall may exceed $1 billion.