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Zimmer Durom Cup Hip Lawsuits Moving Forward in MDL

After all federal Zimmer Durom Cup hip lawsuits were consolidated last year as part of a multidistrict litigation, or MDL, individual discovery and proceedings on the cases were stayed while the parties continued settlement negotiations. However, the litigation is now starting to move forward, as Zimmer has been ordered to answer or respond to the complaints in a number of cases where mediation has occurred and no settlement has been reached.

Although Zimmer Durom Cup settlement agreements have reportedly been reached in a number of cases, and mediations are continuing in other claims, at least seven lawsuits were designated earlier this month as “Non-Settling Cases”, which will allow discovery to begin.

In June 2010, all product lawsuits filed in federal courts throughout the United States over problems with Zimmer Durom Cup hip replacements were consolidated and centralized as part of an MDL in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Shortly after the Zimmer Durom Cup litigation was centralized, U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo granted defendants an extension of time for responding by motion or answer to complaints that were filed and issued a stay for all outstanding discovery proceedings. The action was taken so that settlement negotiations could continue in individual cases, as mediation had been successful in resolving many cases before the MDL was formed.

In an order issued on May 3, Judge Arleo lifted the stay with respect to the seven non-settling Zimmer Durom Cup lawsuits, allowing the parties to begin the exchange of information needed to prepare the cases for trial. The parties have also been permitted to proceed with depositions with respect to common issues and case-specific issues in the non-settling cases after June 15, 2011. In addition, a status conference has been scheduled for June 29.

The Zimmer Durom Cup hip implant was first introduced in the United States in 2006, with a design that was supposed to avoid many problems associated with traditional hip replacement components, such as instability, limited range of motion and wear of the bearing. However, shortly after it was introduced, concerns emerged about a high number of hip replacement failures involving the Zimmer Durom Cup, where the component loosened and required revision surgery.

A temporary Zimmer Durom Cup recall was issued in July 2008, so that revisions could be made to the product’s warnings and instructions to ensure that doctors were properly trained on the surgical techniques needed to implant the artificial hip correctly.

Approximately 12,000 individuals had the Zimmer Durom Cup hip system implanted between 2006 and 2008. While Zimmer’s own estimates in 2008 suggested that some doctors experienced failure rates as high as 5.7%, some claims have suggested that the between 20% and 30% of people may experience problems with a Zimmer Durom Cup hip.

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