$56 Million Biomet Hip Settlement
Biomet has indicated it will settle lawsuits pending in multidistrict litigation regarding its embattled M2a Magnum hip replacements. The complaints, totaling more than 800, allege that the implants are defectively designed, causing premature device failure, metal contamination and other severe complications. Reuters reports that the Biomet hip settlement will total at least $56 million, of which $50 million will be secured in an escrow account.
The agreement is intended to resolve all pending complaints consolidated in MDL 2391, In Re: Biomet M2A Magnum Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, underway in Indiana federal court.
Biomet settles Magnum M2a hip lawsuits
The $56 million accord will extend to all qualifying claims in MDL, as well as any future Biomet hip lawsuit brought in district court on or before April 15, 2014. Claimants who were implanted with either a Biomet M2a 38 or M2a Magnum hip replacement as part of an initial hip replacement that was repaired more than 180 days after it was implanted will get base award of $200,000, reports Reuters.
The orthopedics manufacturer says that plaintiff injuries and losses are not related to their hip implants but confirms they are pleased to have reached a settlement with plaintiffs. “Plaintiffs and Biomet are mindful of the uncertainties engendered by litigation and are desirous of settling and compromising their differences by entering into this settlement agreement,” wrote US District Judge Robert Miller in his order.
The Biomet hip MDL was established in 2012 to more efficiently handle the mounting product liability cases regarding Magnum hip problems and injuries.
Like other metal-on-metal hip replacement systems, the Biomet Magnum has been tied to a slew of complications, as patients reported debilitating pain, reduced mobility and a high incidence of metallosis – a dangerous form of heavy metal blood poisoning. Biomet now joins the ranks of other beleaguered manufacturers like DePuy, which recently announced a multi-billion settlement to resolve ASR hip litigation.
Biomet hip settlement base award $200,000
The $200,000 base award may fluctuate slightly depending on various patient factors, and if the mass settlement isn’t accepted by the bulk of plaintiffs in MDL, then litigation may proceed to bellwether trials.
Biomet hip replacement lawsuits argue the metal-on-metal (MoM) design of the Magnum device is flawed, causing metal debris to flake off over time. Cobalt and chromium particles in the surrounding tissue have been blamed on bone and tissue necrosis, along with inflammation – complications common to other MoM implants, including the recalled ASR device, made by DePuy.
Whether a base award of $200,000 will adequately compensate plaintiffs for all economic and non-economic losses has yet to be determined. Those who accept the terms of the settlement will be barred from taking legal action against Biomet in the future.
Widespread concerns over metal-on-metal hip replacements
Metal-on-metal hip devices, including the Magnum hip implant, have been the topic of growing concern among the medical community. Just last year, the FDA cautioned that metal hip implants have a long track record of higher-than-average complication rates and early failure. The agency also recommended that all patients who received a MoM hip replacement undergo frequent blood tests to look for signs of metal toxicity and premature failure.
In light of the numerous hip recalls and heated litigation regarding MoM hip failure, many are calling for stricter controls on the approval process for new hip replacement systems.
- Reuters, Biomet reaches $56 million settlement over faulty hip replacements, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/04/us-biomet-settlement-idUSBREA1305Y20140204
- Northern District of Louisiana, MDL 2391, In Re: Biomet M2A Magnum Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, http://www.innd.uscourts.gov/millermdl2391.asp