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$100 Million Stryker Hip Lawsuit Filed in Federal Court

On May 22, 2013, an Illinois man filed a $100 million Stryker hip lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. According to the complaint, the plaintiff received an ABG II implant during hip replacement surgery. The plaintiff alleges the ABG II system was defective and it directly caused him to sustain permanent injuries. The legal complaint states that Howmedica Osteonics, doing business as Stryker Orthopaedics was negligent and failed to warn patients about the health risks associated with the hip replacement system.

ABG II hip replacement system

The Stryker ABG II system is a hip implant composed of interchangeable chrome cobalt neck and titanium stem components. Stryker Orthopaedics received clearance from the FDA to market and distribute the hip replacement system in 2009. The hip implant was approved under the FDA’s 510(k) Premarket Notification Process which doesn’t require a manufacturer to conduct clinical safety trials if its device is substantially equivalent to another device that is already in the market.

Stryker Orthopaedics stated that components of the hip replacement system could be custom-fitted for patients, provided greater flexibility, and were more resistant to corrosion. Post-market data contradicted these claims when it revealed that parts of the ABG II System rubbed against each other, loosened from its original position, became corroded, and shed metallic debris into the bloodstream and soft tissues. The problems associated with the hip device led to early failure rates and allegedly jeopardized the health of many patients.

Stryker ABG II hip complications

In April 2012, Stryker Orthopaedics issued an Urgent Field Safety Notice to inform medical professionals that the hip device posed a potential safety risk to patients due to corrosion and metal contamination. According to post-market studies and FDA adverse event reports, some of the medical complications linked to the hip replacement system include inflammation, metallosis, tissue damage, bone loss, chronic pain, and pseudotumor formation. In order to prevent the injuries from getting worse, some patients needed to undergo revision surgery so that the hip implant could be replaced.

Plaintiff suffers from permanent injuries

On May 19, 2010, the plaintiff received an ABG II system during hip replacement surgery. After developing pain in the right hip, a medical evaluation showed that the plaintiff had metal poisoning, soft tissue damage, and a pseudotumor. In February 2013, the plaintiff’s surgeon performed revision surgery on the right hip and removed soft tissues that were severely damaged. Plaintiff’s injuries include extensive soft tissue damage, pain, limping, weakness, and permanent disabilities. After he has recovered from surgery on the right hip, he will undergo revision surgery on the left hip.

The Stryker hip lawsuit alleges that the defendants designed, manufactured, and distributed a defective medical device. According to the plaintiff’s attorney, the hip implant is unreasonably dangerous and unfit for its intended purpose. The defendants allegedly failed to adequately test the safety of the product prior to distributing it and didn’t warn patients of the safety risks associated with using the product.

The legal complaint asserts that the defendants’ negligent actions and defective product directly caused plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff suffers from disabilities, chronic pain, mental anguish, and a diminished quality of life. Due to the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries and extensive financial losses he has incurred, the plaintiff is seeking compensatory and punitive damages in the amount of $100 million.

Stryker hip implant recall

On July 6, 2012, Stryker Orthopaedics decided to voluntarily recall the ABG II System from the market. Patients were advised to contact their doctors in order to confirm if they received the ABG II modular-neck stems. Physicians were encouraged to conduct the necessary examinations and tests in order to verify if patients were suffering from any adverse side effects due to a defective hip implant.

Stryker Orthopaedics stated it would provide reimbursement for medical expenses and other costs related to the voluntary recall, but many patients have still chosen to file lawsuits against the manufacturer. Due to the anticipated number of lawsuits that will likely be filed in federal courts across the country, the U.S. Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation is considering consolidating the lawsuits. On May 30, 2013, attorneys will present oral arguments to the Judicial Panel regarding the possible consolidation of the Stryker hip implant cases.