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As lawyers involved in hundreds of hip replacement lawsuits over the recalled Stryker LFit CoCr v40 femoral head reportedly near an agreement to settle claims, the U.S. District Judge presiding over the cases has issued a stay on all discovery.
Howmedica Osteonics Corp. currently faces about 450 Stryker LFit v40 hip lawsuits that are consolidated for pretrial proceedings in the federal court system, since they each raise similar allegations that the chromium cobalt femoral head was defectively designed, and may cause hip replacements to fail prematurely.
A Stryker LFit v40 recall was issued in late 2016, following reports of taper lock problems, which may result in pain, inflammation, loss of mobility, disassociation and the need for risky revision surgery.
Given common questions of fact and law raised in the litigation, all cases brought throughout the federal court system are centralized before U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, as part of an MDL or multidistrict litigation.
In an order aiding private settlement (PDF) issued by on November 2, Judge Talwani agreed to stay the litigation after the parties notified the Court that a confidential settlement agreement had been reached to resolve claims involving certain individuals who required surgery to replace their hip components.
Details of the agreement have not been disclosed, and it is unclear how many cases may be eligible, but Judge Talwani ordered that preliminary notices be provided to all eligible claimants, with details of the settlement and proposed resolution of the cases.
If Howmedica does not exercise its rights to walk away from the settlement, Judge Talwani indicates that discovery in the litigation will be stayed until at least July 31, 2019.
Stryker settled similar hip cases involving a prior recall for the Rejuvenate and ABG II compnents, which were removed from the market in 2012. Following coordinated discovery in that litigation, the manufacturer agreed to pay more than $1 billion in hip replacement settlements for individuals who required revision surgery after receiving recalled components.
As part of the coordinated pretrial proceedings in the Stryker LFit v40 cases, Judge Talwani previously indicated that the first federal “bellwether” trial would commence in September 2019, if the Stryker failed to settle or otherwise resolve the litigation. These early trial dates were designed to facilitate negotiations and help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation.
Judge Talwani has directed the parties to provide monthly reports on the status of the Stryker hip settlement.