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Mediation Ordered for Stryker Rejuvenate Hip Lawsuits in NJ

A court-mandated mediation of possible Stryker Rejuvenate hip settlements is about to get underway in New Jersey state court. Currently, there are more than 430 cases pending in coordinated litigation in the court, with around one-fourth of those complaints filed within the past three months. The judge overseeing the coordination, Judge Brian R. Martinotti, issued a case management order on October 23, outlining the process by which mediation is to take place.

10 cases chosen for mediation

Included in the order are a small number of select cases chosen to move forward in the mediation process. Six of those 10 cases were selected by the Court, while plaintiffs and defense each chose two more cases. The Phase I mediation involving these specific complaints is scheduled to take place no later than December 15, 2013. A second phase of mediation is also planned for cases filed between April 2, 2013, and July 26, 2013.

Mediation is process that involves parties coming together with a neutral third party (mediator) in an effort to find a solution to a disagreement. The focus of mediation is to come to a resolution, not to uncover all of the facts of the case.  The mediator does not have the same authority as a judge in a courtroom, so any agreements have to come from the parties involved, rather than the mediator.

If the mediation process does not result in Stryker Rejuvenate hip settlements, a small number of cases may be selected to move to the trial process. Known as bellwether trials, these cases serve as a type of litmus test to see how juries will respond to evidences and facts in similar cases. The scheduling of bellwether trials can also create an environment where a Stryker hip settlement option may be revisited in the future.

Problems with Stryker hip devices

Stryker Orthopedics manufacturers a number of prosthetics and other medical devices, including hip replacement implants. Two of their models, the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II, had a unique construction that consisted of two components rather than a singular femoral component. The design was touted by Stryker, due to its ability to be customized to the patient’s specific needs and

Unfortunately, these devices have also been linked to a number of serious hip implant complications, including premature loosening of the joint and metal contamination in surrounding tissue. Some patients who experienced problems with the Stryker devices had to undergo revision surgery within a relatively short period of time, even though the implants were marketed as long-lasting.

In 2012, the FDA announced that Stryker had issued a voluntary recall on both their Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck systems. The company cited potential risks of fretting and metal corrosion as the reason for the recall. Since the recall was announced, numerous patients have filed lawsuits against the company, alleging Stryker did not provide adequate warning about the potential risks associated with their devices prior to the recall action. The company also removed the devices from global distribution.

In addition to more than 430 lawsuits filed in New Jersey state court, another 350 Stryker hip lawsuits have been filed in district courts across the country. Those complaints have now been coordinated into multidistrict litigation in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.

Plaintiffs in those cases are sure to be watching mediation proceedings for possible Stryker Rejuvenate hip settlements in New Jersey, as progress there could set the tone for other lawsuits nationwide.