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The New Jersey Supreme Court is considering a request to centralize and consolidate all hip replacement lawsuits filed over the Stryker Tritanium Acetabular Shell, which has been linked to reports of loosening and the need for early revision surgery.
The Stryker Tritanium Acetabular Cup was approved by the FDA in July 2008, and was fast-tracked through the agency’s controversial 510(k) approval system. However, a number of product liability lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturer in New Jersey state court, alleging that the hip implant components were defective and unreasonably dangerous.
More than 200 complaints involving problems with the Struker Tritanium Acetabular Cup (TAC) have been filed in the FDA’s Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience (MAUDE) database, with more than 130 of those complaints involving reports of loosening or implant migration. In addition, similar issues have been reported at orthopedic conferences for some time, and it is widely acknowledged that adverse events submitted to the FDA typically only include about 10% of all problems with a device.
On November 4, Glenn A. Grant, the Acting Administrative Director for New Jersey state courts issued a Notice to the Bar (PDF), announcing that the New Jersey Supreme Court has received an application from nine plaintiffs who have filed cases in Bergen County, seeking to establish a multicounty litigation (MCL) and centralize all current and future claims before one judge.
Plaintiffs indicate that consolidation would force Stryker to begin a discovery process it has delayed for some time, and stop its attempts to wrongfully remove the cases to federal court.
“Stryker and its counsel have vigorously sought to stymy plaintiffs in New Jersey state court,” the application notes. “Of particular note, Stryker has produced no discovery in any of the matters in suit, and, in plaintiffs’ view, has improperly removed more than half of the twenty (20) cases filed in state court…likely in an effort to prevent the very coordination now sought by this petition.”
In November 2018, Stryker agreed to settle hundreds of similar LFit V40 hip implant lawsuits filed in federal courts nationwide. 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.
Several other manufacturers faced similar claims over problems with hip replacement failures linked to design defects. Similar allegations led to DePuy ASR hip lawsuits, DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuits and other cases.
If consolidated before one judge, the cases would work like a federal multidistrict litigation, but at the state level only. All of the cases would remain individual lawsuits and the judge would likely schedule a series of early test trials known as bellwether cases. If no Stryker Tritanium hip settlements can be reached, the cases would be tried as individual claims in New Jersey state courts.