Zimmer Knee Lawsuits in NexGen MDL To Coordinate With State Courts

The federal judge presiding over all Zimmer NexGen Knee Replacement lawsuits filed in U.S. District Couts throughout the country is trying to coordinate the federal litigation with cases pending in state courts, in an effort to make the entire mass tort litigation run more smoothly.

On August 29, U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer issued an agreed case management plan (PDF) to coordinate between federal and state court Zimmer knee lawsuits involving the NexGen Flex Femoral Components and 5950 MIS Stemmed Tibial Component, both manufactured by Zimmer Holdings.

All federally filed lawsuits over the Zimmer NexGen knee implants were consolidated last year before Judge Pallmeyer as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation. The cases have been centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois for coordinated management to reduce duplicative discovery and avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different federal courts. However, the MDL consolidation had no effect on cases filed in various state courts nationwide.

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Judge Pallmeyer said in her order that she hopes to extend the conveniences of the MDL to the state court proceedings as much as possible, sending a letter to the various state court judges encouraging them to adopt similar deadlines established in the federal litigation, so that they may more easily and efficiently work together to handle any common disputes or issues that arise.

As of July 2012, nearly 500 Zimmer NexGen lawsuits have been filed in federal court and transferred to Judge Pallmeyer. There are another 30 cases filed in various state courts nationwide.

The Zimmer NexGen system was first introduced in 1995, with most components later approved without extensive trials or FDA investigation into their safety through the 510K fast-track approval program, which only requires that devices be “substantially equivalent” to medical devices already on the market to obtain marketing approval.

All of the complaints involve similar allegations that plaintiffs experienced problems with certain Zimmer knee replacements, which were allegedly caused by design defects or Zimmer’s failure to provide accurate information about the risk of problems.

The lawsuits over Zimmer knee replacements involve alleged problems with a number of different components, including the Zimmer NexGen LPS-Flex, Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex, Zimmer NexGen GSF LPS-Flex, Zimmer NexGen GSF CR-Flex and Zimmer NexGen MIS Tibia component.


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