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Zimmer M/L Taper Problems Led To Revision Surgery In Both Hips: Lawsuit

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A California man has filed a product liability lawsuit over problems with the Zimmer M/L Taper hip replacement system, which allegedly failed prematurely and caused him to require revision surgery in both hips. 

The complaint (PDF) was filed by Glen Davis in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on July 20, indicating that Zimmer Biomet, Inc. manufactured and sold a defective hip replacement system, featuring cobalt-chromium femoral heads, which posed an unreasonable risk of harm when combined.

Davis indicates that a Zimmer M/L Taper Hip System was implanted in his right hip in December 2007, and another was used during a subsequent procedure involving his left hip in August 2008. Both hip implants included the Zimmer Versys cobalt-chromium femoral heads.

According to the complaint, Davis required revision surgery for his left hip in January 2017, and then had his right hip removed as well in March 2018. In both cases, surgeons noted that the hip implants had to be removed due to adverse local tissue reactions caused by corrosion, something the artificial hip replacements are designed to avoid, according to the complaint.

“The mechanism of failure in Plaintiff’s device was exactly the same mechanism of failure that Defendants had marketed and warranted would not occur because of the Zimmer M/L Taper Hip System design and composition,” the lawsuit notes. “It was also the same failure mechanism that the medical and scientific community had been studying and documenting in modular device designs since the 1990s.”

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 are defectively designed and unreasonably dangerous when paired together, with a tendency to fret and corrode, creating metal debris that gets into the patients tissue and blood, resulting in the implants failing and needing to be removed.

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.

Last month, 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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