A motion filed earlier this month is calling for all Zimmer NexGen knee lawsuits filed in various federal district courts throughout the United States to be centralized before one judge for coordinated handling during pretrial proceedings as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation.
The request comes in anticipation of what some Zimmer NexGen knee replacement lawyers expect may become hundreds of similar claims filed on behalf of individuals who allege that they received a defective knee implant and had to undergo revision surgery or suffered permanent and debilitating injuries as a result of a problems with a Zimmer NexGen knee.
The motion was filed on June 6 on behalf of plaintiff Fred Stone, who has proposed that the federal Zimmer NexGen knee litigation be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and be overseen by Judge Joan LeFkow.
At the time the motion was filed there were 28 Zimmer NexGen knee implant claims pending in 13 federal judicial districts across the country, and plaintiff attorneys indicated that there were at least 200 other potential cases that had not yet been filed.
All of the lawsuits involve problems with the Zimmer NexGen high-flex knee implants, Zimmer NexGen MIS tibial components or Zimmer NexGen LPS gender solutions, some of which were recalled last year.
Plaintiffs claim to have suffered catastrophic implant failures, had permanent problems walking or had to undergo revision surgery to remove or replace the implants because they failed far in advance of their projected lifespan. Plaintiffs indicate that the device maker created the image and impression that using the Zimmer NexGen knee was safe, despite knowledge of serious injuries associated with the components.
Zimmer allegedly downplayed and understated the risk of Zimmer NexGen knee problems, according to allegations raised in the complaints.
Consolidation of the lawsuits over Zimmer NexGen knee replacement systems before one judge as part of an MDL is designed to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid contradictory rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the court, witnesses and parties. While the pretrial management of the cases in an MDL is often managed similar to how a Zimmer NexGen class action lawsuit would be handled, each claim will still remain an individual lawsuit.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation is scheduled to consider consolidation of the cases next month at a hearing (pdf) on July 28 in San Francisco, California.