Wright Medical Hip Replacement Lawyers to Meet With MDL Court

An initial conference has been set for late next month in the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) involving all lawsuits over problems with metal-on-metal hip replacements manufactured by Wright Medical.

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

According to a Pretrial Order issued March 19, lawyers representing Wright Medical and various plaintiffs who have brought claims will have the first opportunity to meet with Judge Duffey on April 23. At that time, the Court is expected to review various issues surrounding the organization of the MDL, including the number of Wright Medical hip lawsuits pending in state or federal courts throughout the country, a deadline for discovery and pretrial motions, as well as a target date for the conclusion of the MDL, among other issues.

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Any attorneys wishing to serve in leadership roles in the litigation have been directed to file an application with the court by April 9. These Wright Medical hip replacement lawyers will perform various services throughout the litigation that benefit all plaintiffs who have brought a case that is consolidated in the MDL.

When the Wright Medical hip replacement MDL was formed last month, 16 cases were identified that involved problems with the Wright Conserve hip system or related artificial hips. Since that time, at least five other cases have been identified and as lawyers continue to file lawsuits involving the Wright hips, they will be transferred to Judge Duffey’s court for consolidated proceedings.

All of the complaints involve similar allegations that Wright Medical manufactured and sold a defective metal-on-metal hip replacement system, known as the Conserve hip, which has failed in many patients within a few years.

The Wright Medical Conserve hip features a metal-on-metal design, which consists of cast cobalt chromium molybdenum that provides the receptacle for the 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 results in the release of metal particles that can cause metal toxicity in the blood, soft tissue and bone. This can result in metallosis, tissue necrosis, pseudotumors and other problems, according to the complaints.

The allegations are similar to those raised in hundreds of DePuy ASR lawsuits and DePuy Pinnacle lawsuits, which involve other metal-on-metal hip replacement systems manufactured by a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

In May 2011, the FDA asked the manufacturers of all metal-on-metal hip replacements to provide additional information on the level at which the metal particles shed by the hip replacements become dangerous, how much metal they actually shed and what the potential side effects of the metal hip replacements are.

On February 28, Britain’s health agency, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued new guidance stating that patients who have received large-head metal hip implants should have blood tests to check for problems from their metal-on-metal hips every year for the rest of their lives.

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