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Zimmer M/L Taper and VerSys Lawsuit Claims Hip Implants Failed After Shedding Metal Debris

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According to allegations raised in a recently filed product liability lawsuit, Zimmer hip replacements involving M/L Taper and VerSys components are prone to fail, often resulting in the need for revision surgery due to metal debris that may be shed into the body. 

In a complaint (PDF) filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on September 27, Daniel Brosnan claims that a defective, unsafe and unreasonably dangerous artificial hip system was implanted in his body.

Brosnan indicates that a Zimmer VerSys Hip System Femoral Head and Zimmer M/L Taper Prosthesis were used during a left hip replacement surgery in January 2015. However, by late March 2017, he had to undergo revision surgery due to metal debris that was shed by the components, which caused adverse local tissue reaction and elevated metal ions in Brosnan’s blood. The condition is known as metallosis.

“At the time that Plaintiff underwent his total left hip arthroplasty, he received defective, dangerous, hazardous and unsafe products designed, manufactured, developed, tested, promoted, distributed and sold by the Zimmer Defendants,” the lawsuit states. “Diagnostic work-up in December 2016 showed his cobalt serum level elevated and a large pseudotumor.”

The lawsuit notes that the revision surgery caused Brosnan to suffer additional injuries and pain, and reduced his ability to engage in daily activities.

Zimmer-Biomet, Inc. currently faces about two dozen similar hip replacement lawsuits filed in recent months over complications involving the hip components, which are considered a metal-on-metal design.

Each of the complaints raise similar allegations that the Zimmer M/L Taper Hip Prosthesis and Zimmer VerSys Hip femoral head pose a particular risk when paired together, with a tendency to fret and corrode, which may release metal debris that gets into the patients tissue and blood.

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.

In August, a group of plaintiffs filed a motion to centralize all Zimmer hip lawsuits over the VerSys, M/L Taper and M/L Taper with Kinective Technology, asking the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to transfer cases filed in various different federal district courts to U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank in Minnesota for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.

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 decided to centralize as part of separate a federal MDLs, 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.

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