Zimmer NexGen Knee Replacement Bellwether Trial Ends in Defense Verdict

A federal jury in Illinois has returned a defense verdict in a Zimmer NexGen knee replacement trial, which was selected as the first “bellwether” test case out of several hundred similar claims pending in the federal court system.

The verdict came following a three-week trial involving claims brought by Kathy Batty, who alleged that her Zimmer NexGen Flex knee implants failed only a year after she received them in both knees, requiring her to have the artificial knee system removed and replaced in 2011.

The case is one of more than 1,000 Zimmer NexGen Knee replacement lawsuits pending throughout the federal court system, which are centralized before U.S. District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer in the Northern District of Illinois, as part of an MDL or multidistrict litigation.

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While the outcome of the Batty case is not binding on other lawsuits in the litigation, it was being closely watched since it involved similar allegations to those raised in other claims, indicating that the Zimmer NexGen flex knee replacement was defectively designed and prone to failure.

Since August 2011, all federal Zimmer NexGen knee cases have been centralized as part of an MDL, which is designed to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.

As part of the coordinated proceedings, a small group of Zimmer NexGen knee cases have been prepared for early trial dates, known as “bellwether” cases. The preparation and outcome of these bellwether trials are designed to help the parties gauge the strengths and weaknesses of their arguments.

In this first trial, the jury found that Batty failed to show that Zimmer acted negligently and rejected claims that the company failed to adequately warn Batty or her doctor. Zimmer’s attorneys argued at trial that Batty’s Zimmer NexGen flex knee problems may have been the result of an infection or other factors.

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 certain configurations of the Zimmer NexGen artificial knee system are prone to fail within a few years. Plaintiffs claim that they experienced problems with various Zimmer knee replacements, 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.

1 Comments

  • MarthaDecember 1, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    I underwent knee replacement surgery in October 2014, my surgeon used the Zimmer Nexgen LPS-FLEX tivanium, and I have regretted it. Four days post op I developed bacteriemia, and I blame my surgeon for that, since 2 days post op I developed blisters on my thigh, and when I pointed them out he dismissed them. As for my replacement, I am in chronic pain, it feels like my knee wants to give out, and [Show More]I underwent knee replacement surgery in October 2014, my surgeon used the Zimmer Nexgen LPS-FLEX tivanium, and I have regretted it. Four days post op I developed bacteriemia, and I blame my surgeon for that, since 2 days post op I developed blisters on my thigh, and when I pointed them out he dismissed them. As for my replacement, I am in chronic pain, it feels like my knee wants to give out, and I have lost flexibility since my replacement.

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