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Zimmer Hip Problems Caused By M/L Taper System, Lawsuit Alleges

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A California man indicates that problems following a hip replacement were caused by defects with the Zimmer M/L Taper hip components used during his procedure, indicating that the cobalt-chromium femoral heads represent an unreasonable risk of harm to individuals who receive the implant.

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Donald and Janis Fletcher in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California on November 5, indicating that Zimmer Biomet Inc. sold hip components that were defectively designed.

Fletcher received a Zimmer M/L Taper Hip System in his right hip in December 2007. However, the Zimmer hip caused problems to develop, which resulted in the need for revision surgery in September 2018.

The lawsuit alleges that the Zimmer hip implant is prone to fretting and corrosion at the head-neck/stem taper junctions, resulting in the release of toxic metal debris, metal ions, and other toxic byproducts.

“Defendants were aware of the problems when they designed, manufactured, marketed, distributed, and/or sold the Zimmer M/L Taper Hip System,” the lawsuit states. “Nonetheless, Defendants employed the design in its Zimmer M/L Taper Hip System in reckless disregard for the safety of patients, including Plaintiff.”

The problems experienced by Fletcher are similar to the issues that gave rise to a Stryker LFit v40 hip recall in August 2016, according to the complaint. Fletcher indicates that both the LFit v40 femoral head and the Zimmer Versys femoral heads are made of cobalt-chromium, and both are typically mated with metal alloy stems that result in an increased risk of “taper lock failure” and excessive metal debris.

Zimmer currently faces a growing number of similar complaints filed in recent months over the combination of the Zimmer M/L Taper Hip Prosthesis and Zimmer VerSys Hip femoral head, which are consolidated in the federal court system before U.S. District Judge Paul A Crotty in the Southern District of New York, as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.

More than 100,000 of these Zimmer hip replacements have been implanted throughout the United States, according to recently filed court documents. As lawyers continue to investigate and review potential cases in the coming months and years, it is expected that the size of the litigation may increase rapidly.

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