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As a growing number of hip replacement lawsuits continue to be filed over problems with the Zimmer M/L Taper with Kinectiv Technology and VerSys femoral head, a group of plaintiffs are calling for all federal cases to be centralized before one judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings.
Nearly two dozen product liability lawsuits have been filed against Zimmer-Biomet, Inc. in recent months over complications associated with the metal-on-metal hip designs, which have resulted in hip implant failures, pain, and blood poisoning and tumors caused by metallosis.
Each of the complaints raise similar allegations that the Zimmer M/L Taper Hip Prosthesis and Zimmer VerSys Hip femoral head are defectively designed and unreasonably dangerous when paired together, with a tendency to fret and corrode, creating metal debris that gets into the patients tissue and blood, resulting in the implants failing and needing to be removed.
More than 100,000 of these Zimmer hip replacements have been implanted throughout the United States, according to recently filed court documents. As hip implant lawyers continue to investigate and review potential cases in the coming months and years, it is expected that the size of the litigation will increase rapidly.
In a motion to transfer (PDF) filed with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on June 19, several plaintiffs asked that a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) be established, indicating that cases filed in U.S. District Courts nationwide should be transferred to Judge Donovan W. Frank in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota for coordinated management.
Given similar questions of fact and law raised in the Zimmer hip lawsuits currently pending in at least 10 different federal districts, plaintiffs indicate that centralized management is necessary to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial schedules and serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the judicial system.
“Movants allege in their complaints that the trunnion taper of the M/L Taper and Kinectiv femoral stems and the bore taper of the VerSys femoral head were defectively designed and/or manufactured, and promote fretting and corrosion at the junction between the femoral stem and the femoral head, resulting in personal injury and the need for revision surgery,” the motion states. “All of these cases seek damages against the same defendants based upon the same legal theories and operative facts.”
The claims are the latest in a number of litigations that have emerged in recent years over recalled and defective metal-on-metal hip replacement systems, which the JPML have previously agreed to centralize as part of a federal MDL, including the DePuy ASR, DePuy Pinnacle, Biomet Magnum, Wright Conserve, Stryker LFit v40, Stryker Rejuvenate and other systems.
Metal-on-metal hip designs became increasingly popular in recent years, but components manufactured and sold by various manufacturers have been linked to high rates of failure and problems that often result in the need for revision surgery within a few years.
The U.S. JPML will likely schedule oral arguments for the motion to be presented during a hearing set for September 27, 2018, in San Francisco, California.