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Federal Stryker Hip Lawsuits Consolidated for Multidistrict Litigation

Lawsuits filed in U.S. District Courts against hip implant maker Stryker Corporation over the recalled Rejuvenate and ABG II hip components have been centralized in Minnesota as multidistrict litigation, or MDL. In an order filed June 12, 2013, the federal Judicial Panel on Multidistrct Litigation ordered 41 Stryker hip lawsuits from 16 different federal districts to be consolidated under the purview of the Honorable Judge Donovan W. Frank. Judge Frank will preside over pretrial motions, discovery, and settlement negotiations for all federal claims alleging injury from the Rejuvenate or ABG II hip devices.

Stryker hip implants

The Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II hip systems were approved by the FDA without clinical trials, based on their substantial similarity to previously approved devices. However, one key difference that set these implants apart was that they contained junctions where two metal components could rub against each other. This metal-on-metal construction has proven very dangerous because it tends to release metal ions into tissues surrounding the implant, causing metal poisoning, tissue inflammation, pain, bone loss, and ultimately implant failure, requiring a second, more complicated revision surgery to fix the damage caused by the metal-on-metal hip implant.

Recovery from hip revision surgery can take up to a year, and, depending on the extent of the injuries caused by the failure of the Rejuvenate or ABG II hips, implant patients may be left with permanent damage and disability. Following numerous reports of hip implant injuries, failures, and revision surgeries, the manufacturer issued a voluntary Stryker Rejuvenate recall of the metal-on-metal components, called “modular-neck stems” that included the ABG II system.

Stryker Rejuvenate recall sparks litigation

Following the Stryker hip recall of over 43,000 Rejuvenate devices, patients who were injured by the implants began filing lawsuits against Stryker alleging that the implants were dangerous and defective, that Stryker had failed to test them properly, and that the company had failed to warn consumers about the risks of the devices even after reports accumulated regarding metal-on-metal implant failures.

Stryker hip lawsuits are demanding compensation for injuries and for economic losses caused by the allegedly defective products. Patients who suffer from hip failure incur steep medical costs, including the cost of hip replacement revision surgery and ongoing care and rehabilitation during the surgical recovery period. Patients not only lose income during their recovery period, but they also lose earning potential due to the often permanent disability caused by the devices. Lawsuits may help plaintiffs to recover some or all of these costs.

Stryker hip lawsuits consolidated

The transfer order sends 41 currently pending Rejuvenate and ABG II complaints to the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota for MDL, and notes that at least 110 additional pending cases have the potential to join them. According to the order, all of the claims share common factual allegations regarding the propensity of the Stryker hips to cause injury, and centralization will allow all suits to share in a single process of discovery rather than spending judicial resources on potentially hundreds of separate discovery processes. Plaintiffs will benefit from sharing information, but if the cases go to trial each suit will be tried on its own merits. The consolidation may also encourage Stryker lawsuit settlements.