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Jury Awards $9.2 Million to Zimmer Hip Plaintiff

lawyer and jurors

Gary Kline, a California resident, had filed a Zimmer hip lawsuit claiming that the defendants’ Durom Cup implant had left him permanently disabled. A Los Angeles jury recently agreed with Kline and ordered Zimmer to pay $9.2 million to the plaintiff. The jury award is believed to be the first such verdict against Zimmer with regard to the Durom Cup implant, although hundreds of lawsuits are still pending in federal court.

The news came on the heels of a three-week trial, during which the plaintiff argued that the allegedly defective nature of the hip implant caused severe pain and muscle damage.

Plaintiff wins Zimmer hip lawsuit

In 2007, Kline, then 51 years-old, underwent his first hip surgery. He had the Durom Cup hip replacement surgically implanted because his orthopedic surgeon informed him that he could expect to regain about 98 percent of his previous hip function, given that the design of the implant was intended to provide for considerable range of motion. The plaintiff was allegedly told that he could expect the implant to last for decades.

However, at some point after the surgery, the plaintiff began to experience stabbing pains in the area of the hip implant. He reported that the pain was so intense he could not move his leg. Subsequently, Kline underwent revision surgery in a bid to correct the problem. However, the buildup of scar tissue and the muscle damage is expected to last for his lifetime.

Kline noted that he is no longer able to lead the lifestyle to which he had been accustomed. Before undergoing the initial surgery, Kline was a motorcycle enthusiast. He also enjoyed playing outdoors with his grandchildren. He claims that his injuries are so severe that he can no longer participate in these activities. Kline contends that prednisone, a steroid drug, is the only treatment that is effective for his pain. However, he cannot use the drug on a long-term basis due to serious health risks.

The severity of the plaintiff’s injuries likely played a significant role in the jury’s decision to award such a substantial sum. The jury award includes $153,317 for the plaintiff’s past medical expenses, $2.4 million in past non-economic damages, and $6.6 million for the plaintiff’s future non-economic damages. It is not yet known if Zimmer plans to appeal the verdict.

A spokesman for the plaintiff expressed his hope that the outcome of this case would be only the first of many jury awards or Zimmer hip replacement settlements. In addition to the hundreds of lawsuits pending against Zimmer in federal court, there are more than 25 lawsuits pending in the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Allegations leveled against Zimmer

Now 59 years-old, Kline filed his lawsuit on the basis of the device’s allegedly defective design. He noted that the defendants had sold the Durom Cup implant in Europe, where it reportedly had a track record of acceptable patient safety. However, the defendants made modifications to the plasma coating of the implant. The plaintiff alleged that Zimmer failed to perform safety tests on the new plasma coating before introducing the device into the U.S. market.

Other plaintiffs who have filed lawsuits against Zimmer claim that the Durom Cup design is associated with a risk of premature failure; that the implant may fail to become seated properly; and that the implant can become loose and cause significant pain.