Lawyers Appointed to Leadership Roles for Wright Medical Hip Lawsuits

A group of lawyers have been appointed to serve in various leadership roles in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) established for pretrial proceedings in all federal lawsuits over Wright Medical hip replacements

These attorneys will perform certain functions throughout the litigation that will benefit all plaintiffs who have filed a product liability lawsuit after their hip replacement manufactured by Wright Medical failed within a few years.

In February, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation centralized all federal Wright Medical hip lawsuits before District Judge William S. Duffey, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

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There are currently about 20 lawsuits consolidated before Judge Duffey, but as additional Wright Medical cases are filed by hip replacement lawyers in federal courts throughout the United States, they will be transferred to the MDL for pretrial proceedings.

All of the complaints involve similar allegations of design defects associated with Wright Medical’s metal-on-metal hip replacements, known as the Conserve hip. The system features a cast cobalt chromium molybdenum that provides the receptacle for a cobalt chromium molybdenum femoral head. The metal femoral head rotates within the metal monoblock Conserve Cup, which does not have a liner. 

Plaintiffs allege that the design of the Wright Medical Conserve hip results in the release of metal particles that can cause metal toxicity in the blood, causing plaintiffs to suffer metallosis, tissue necrosis, pseudotumors and other problems that may increase the risk of the implants loosening or failing.

The cases have been consolidated during the pretrial phase of the litigation to avoid duplicative discovery, conflicting rulings from different courts and to serve the convenience of the parties, the witnesses and the courts. However, if the lawsuits do not settle or otherwise resolve prior to trial, each complaint may be remanded back to the court where it was originally filed for an individual trial.

In an order (PDF) issed May 3, Judge Duffey appointed two law firms to serve as co-lead counsel and as co-liaison counsel in the MDL.

The co-lead counsel are charged with heading up the pretrial litigation on behalf of all plaintiffs, coordinating the efforts of all lawyers involved in the litigation to make sure that the claims are handled effectively and efficiently, making all briefing and oral arguments, acting as a pretrial spokesperson for all plaintiffs, conducting settlement negotiations, ensuring information is communicated to each individual plaintiff, maintaining billing records and other duties. The co-liaison counsel facilitates communication between the court and plaintiffs’ counsel and among plaintiffs’ counsel.

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