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Pennsylvania Man Sues Zimmer over Faulty Hip Implant

Pennsylvania resident James O. Gipson, Jr. is suing medical device manufacturer Zimmer, Inc., over a hip implant made by Zimmer, the “Durom Cup,” which caused him serious injuries due to its allegedly faulty design and manufacture. According to this Zimmer hip lawsuit, the Durom Cup was marketed as a durable and long-lasting product, but in fact had an unacceptably high failure rate, forcing the plaintiff to have the implant removed after only three years and resulting in extreme pain and suffering.

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Pennsylvania on April 30, 2013 by a Zimmer hip lawyer who noted that the case would be transferred to the District of New Jersey to join nearly two hundred similar complaints against Zimmer for pretrial discovery. These complaints have been brought together in New Jersey under a procedure called “multi-district litigation”, or MDL, which allows the U.S. federal court system to conserve resources when there are a large number of cases making the same allegations against the same party.

Injuries caused by the faulty Durom Cup

The Durom Acetabular Component, or Durom Cup, is a medical device meant to replace part of a damaged hip joint. The Durom Cup is designed to be implanted by cutting away some of the pelvic bone and applying the Durom Cup in place of the removed bone tissue. According to Zimmer, the Durom Cup’s special porous surface allows the remaining bone to grow directly into the Durom Cup, forming a natural seal and locking the Durom Cup in place.

In actual practice, the Durom Cup does not always become sealed to the bone, and in some cases the Durom Cup may come loose and/or pop entirely out of the socket, resulting in excruciating pain and disability for the patient as the Durom Cup’s metal surface grinds against the damaged surface of the pelvis. This condition requires a second, more complicated surgery, called a hip revision surgery, to remove the Durom Cup and replace it with a properly functioning component.

Gipson’s Zimmer hip lawsuit states that Gipson had the Durom Cup implanted in 2008 and was forced to have it removed in 2011 – only three years later. Artificial hips are expected to last anywhere from ten to twenty years before needing to be replaced. Gipson’s suit cites studies showing that a 24% four year failure rate, meaning that almost a quarter of the patients receiving a Durom Cup implant will require a revision surgery within four years.

Gipson’s Zimmer hip injuries included pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, and emotional distress, and some of these injuries may be permanent. Gipson also suffered economic losses, such as medical, hospital, and rehabilitation costs, loss of income, and loss of earning potential.

Zimmer hip lawsuit alleges inadequate testing and intentional misrepresentation

According to the lawsuit, Zimmer’s hip products were never properly tested. Zimmer got FDA approval for the Durom Cup using the 510(k) clearance process, which requires no studies or medical trials for products that are substantially similar to previously marketed medical devices. Zimmer told the FDA that the Durom Cup was similar to such predicate devices, even though it allegedly had a much higher failure rate and several other significant differences. Zimmer also marketed the Durom Cup to doctors and patients by claiming that the product was adequately tested, safe, and long-lasting. The plaintiff in this Zimmer hip lawsuit claims that it was in fact none of these things.

The suit says that Zimmer had reason to know about the alleged product defects in the Durom Cup in 2008, when the plaintiff had his initial surgery. The suit says that numerous surgeons had warned Zimmer about the high failure rate of the Durom Cup, including one surgeon who was a paid Zimmer consultant. Zimmer only suspended the Durom cup in 2008, after over 12,000 patients had the device implanted in their hip.

Zimmer hip lawyer seeks judgment and damages on behalf of plaintiff

Gipson’s lawyer alleges several kinds of wrongdoing on Zimmer’s part, including failure to warn, design defect, negligence, breach of warranty, negligent and intentional misrepresentation, fraud, and unfair and deceptive trade practices. The Zimmer hip lawsuit seeks judgment in favor of the plaintiff and requests damages in the form of compensation for economic losses, compensation for pain, suffering, and emotional distress, punitive damages, legal fees, and any other relief deemed fit by the Court.