A federal appeals court has ruled that shareholders were not misled about problems with the Zimmer Durom Cup hip replacement system, dismissing a class action lawsuit filed after a temporary recall was issued in 2008, so that the manufacturer could revise warnings and instructions to reduce the risk of the implant failing.
The Zimmer hip replacement class action lawsuit was brought by two unions, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 719 Pension Fund and the Carpenters Pension Fund of West Virginia, alleging that Zimmer Holdings fraudulently withheld information about the issues with their Durom Cup system, which has exposed the company to product liability lawsuits and other expenses.
In an order issued this week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the Court affirmed a decision by Judge Sarah Evens Barker in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, that investors were not misled.
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.
The Court pointed out that before problems with the Durom cup were first reported in 2008, Zimmer had already made a statement that some orthopedic surgeons were having problems implanting the device and that the company may need to make labeling or training changes.
In addition to the shareholder class action, the company continues to face a number of Zimmer Durom cup hip lawsuits brought by consumers who received the implant prior to the recall.
An estimated 12,000 people in the United states received a Zimmer Durom Cup hip implant, which was allegedly sold with inadequate instructions about the proper surgical techniques required and without proper warnings about the risk that the implant may be prone to loosen or fail, potentially resulting in the need for additional surgery and pain.
In June 2010, all federal lawsuits over the Zimmer Durom Cup were consolidated for pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. While some settlement agreements have been reportedly reached, the litigation is continuing in a large number of cases that are being prepared for potential trial dates.