Two More Exactech Lawsuits Over Defective Optetrak Knee Implants Set For Trial in MDL

Claims are part of a series of four Exactech knee implant lawsuits now scheduled for bellwether trials beginning between June 2025 and January 2026.

The U.S. District Judge presiding over all Exactech Optetrak knee lawsuits has announced start dates for the third and fourth bellwether cases, which are part of a series of early test trials designed to gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout more than 1,200 product liability claims brought over defective packaging that increased the risk of early failure.

The complaints all raise similar allegations; that “out-of-specification” vacuum sealed bags were used with a plastic tibial insert component distributed with Extactech Optetrak knee implants and other systems prior to 2022, which allowed oxygen to reach the artificial joints were placed in the body. This has been shown to increase the risk of component degradation, often resulting in premature failure and the need for additional surgery to remove, and often replace, the component after only a few years.

Former implant recipients began filing the lawsuits after an Exactech recall was announced in February 2022, which impacted more than 140,000 Optetrak, Optetrak Logic and Truliant knee replacement systems implanted in patients since 2004, as well as 15,000 components used in Exactech Vantage ankle replacements. Similar problems had already led to a recall of Exactech Novation and Acumatch hip implants in June 2021. The Exactech hip recall was expanded in August 2022, after the manufacturer identified another 40,000 joint replacements that could fail prematurely.

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Knee Replacement Lawsuits

Design problems with several types of knee implants have resulted in lawsuits for individuals who experienced painful complications.

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Given the number of Exactech lawsuits over defective implants brought throughout the federal court system, the litigation has been consolidated for pretrial proceedings before U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis in the Eastern District of New York, where the parties have selected a small group of representative claims for early bellwether trials.

Four Exactech Knee Lawsuits Scheduled for Bellwether Trials

Judge Garaufis previously selected four Exactech Optetrak knee lawsuits for the initial trials, as those components make up the bulk of the litigation, and announced last month that the first two bellwether trials will begin in June 2025 and August 2025, involving complaints brought by Gayle Tarloff and Geraldine Lawsuit. Both plaintiffs are from New York and indicate they experienced problems with an Optetrak Logic knee implant.

In a May 22 court order (PDF), Judge Garaufis announced that the third and fourth bellwether trials will now begin in October 2025 and January 2026.

The October 2025 trial will involve claims brought in a complaint (PDF) filed by Dana Kessler Kramer, of New Jersey, who received an Optetrak Logic implant during right total knee replacement surgery in October 2009. However, she was diagnosed with aseptic loosening and osteolysis and underwent revision surgery to have it removed in September 2017.

The fourth and final bellwether trial beginning in January 2026 will involve a complaint (PDF) filed in March 2023 by David Caputo, of Texas, who received a defective Optetrak Logic implant in August 2016. He underwent revision surgery to have it removed in August 22 due to “accelerated and preventable wear of the Optetrak Logic PS Polyethylene Tibial Insert”, the lawsuit indicates.

While these four claims will serve as early bellwether trials in the federal court system, the first Exactech knee lawsuit to go before a jury will actually occur at the state court level in Florida, where a case is set to begin in October 2024

Although the outcomes of these early trials will have no binding impact on other lawsuits in the litigation, they will be closely watched and may have a large impact on any Exactech recall settlements the manufacturer offers to avoid the need for hundreds of individual trials to be scheduled in the coming years.

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