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Biomet Hip Lawsuit

Biomet hip lawsuits continue to mount in the federal court system, with plaintiffs demanding compensation from the maker of the hip replacement system for injuries and losses associated with hip loosening, early failure and metallosis – a dangerous form of blood metal poisoning. 

Biomet MDLBiomet hip lawsuit courthouse

With so many pending hip replacement lawsuits pending in the federal court system, cases were consolidated in a Biomet MDL, or multidistrict litigation in October, 2012.  The purpose of multidistrict litigation – a common occurrence in complicated products liability litigation – is to centralize similar cases against the same company or manufacturer, so as to avoid conflicting pretrial rulings, duplicative discovery, and to conserve judicial resources.

The Biomet MDL is being presided over by District Judge Robert Miller, Jr. of the Northern District of Indiana. Judge Miller is currently overseeing over 800 Biomet hip lawsuits.

In early 2014, the company agreed to a $56 million Biomet hip settlement with plaintiffs who were implanted with an M2a 38 or M2a Magnum device as an initial hip replacement, only to have the device removed 180 days or more afterwards as part of a revision surgery procedure. Plaintiffs must file suit by April 15, 2014 to qualify for the settlement, but will henceforth be ineligible to seek further recovery for their injuries and losses from the hip manufacturer.

Biomet hip lawsuit allegations

Specifically, Judge Miller is hearing cases related to the Biomet M2A Magnum hip replacement system, which plaintiffs allege has a defective design. Because the Biomet M2A Magnum is a metal-on-metal hip replacement system, the metal component surfaces rub against each other, and plaintiffs allege this friction on the artificial joint – which occurs during normal use of the hip – causes microscopic metal particles to be released into the patient’s blood stream. Once released, these dangerous metal debris pieces present in the blood stream can damage other organs and cause additional complications.

Complaints contain similar allegations – typically that the Biomet hip replacement loosened, failed prematurely and required revision surgery, many times less than a year after the original device implantation, though the hip replacement is supposed to last up to 15 years. Biomet Magnum lawsuits include reports of severe pain, dislocation, metallosis, swelling, bone fracture and death, groin pain, pseudo-tumors, soft tissue damage and necrosis and difficulty standing or walking.

Representative Biomet litigation

Plaintiff Frank Chuffo of St. Louis, Missouri brought a Biomet hip lawsuit against the manufacturer last month, after he tested positive in January 2012 for abnormally high levels of cobalt and chromium in his blood that caused destruction of tissue and bone. Chuffo received his initial hip replacement in September, 2010 but subsequently underwent a risky revision surgery to remove the device, on the advice of his doctors, in July 2012.

Chuffo’s product liability lawsuit, which is representative of many similar claims against the company, alleges that Biomet should be liable for damages based on several causes of action including negligence, strict liabilities for inadequate warnings, defective design, and failure to adequately test, as well as failure of the product to conform to the defendant’s representations, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of implied and express warranties.

In one of the first Biomet hip lawsuits – originally filed in 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, prior to the Biomet MDL transfer before Judge Miller, the plaintiffs allege that “Biomet knew for several years about the defects and dangers of their product but that they actively concealed that knowledge from physicians who purchase the devices and implant them in patients.” 

Adverse events may trigger a Biomet hip recall

Despite Biomet’s success in the hip replacement industry – its sales make up 12 percent of the U.S. hip implant market – the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it has received upwards of 450 reports of Biomet M2A Magnum adverse events from physicians and patients. To date, however, the manufacturer has not issued a Biomet hip replacement recall.

Biomet’s M2A Magnum hip implants

Biomet’s M2A Magnum device hit the U.S. market in 2004 and continues to be one of the manufacturer’s most lucrative hip replacements. Biomet marketed its M2A design to patients and doctors as a hip replacement system for active, younger patients. In fact, the device was endorsed by former Olympian Mary Lou Retton, who received the hip implant at the age of 37 to repair damage done to her hip during her gymnastics career.

Biomet targeted its advertising to patients who were seeking a higher level of long-term performance, a wider range of motion, and a decreased risk of dislocation when compared with other types of hip replacements. The M2A Magnum device is customizable, and employs a larger device head diameter that allows for an increased range of motion. However, plaintiffs who have filed a Biomet hip lawsuit allege that the larger the head of the device, the more friction occurs, resulting in more metal particles contaminating the patient’s blood and tissues.

Taking legal action for Biomet injuries

Individuals who have suffered severe complications with Biomet hip replacements such as the Magnum are encouraged to consult a products liability attorney who can evaluate eligibility for pursuing legal recourse. Potential cases may be time sensitive, so it’s wise to speak with a lawyer experienced in defective medical device litigation as soon as possible. Monetary damages recovered in a Biomet hip lawsuit can help plaintiffs secure expenses related to past and future medical bills, lost income, diminished earning capacity, pain, and suffering.