Just a few weeks after DePuy confirmed a $2.5 billion mass settlement of its version of metal-on-metal hips, the ASR, Stryker began settling several cases in similar litigation proceedings. As of December 18, 2013, Stryker Corp. has settled with four individual plaintiffs, leaving hundreds of suits pending. Our metal-on-metal hip implant lawyers are excited to report on the beginning of the end for Stryker plaintiffs.
About 500 lawsuits against Stryker are consolidated into multi-district litigation (MDL) in New Jersey, all of which concern the company’s Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck stems. The four recently-settled suits were part of a group brought into mediation, which is a way of resolving legal disputes, typically through compromise rather than a full jury trial. During this process a third party, the mediator, is brought in to negotiate a settlement.
Similar to DePuy’s legal strategy, Stryker seems most eager to settle injury suits that involve revision surgeries, since the procedure is so invasive and was only necessary if the device itself was defective. All DePuy plaintiffs with documented proof of a forced revision surgery are now eligible to take part in the recent $2.5 billion settlement, which will cover costs of surgery, medical bills, and lost wages.
One lawyer involved with the Stryker MDL stated that the four that recently settled involved better-than-average surgical outcomes and were able to swiftly return to work or their normal routine. Others with more serious health complications from the defective devices are either scheduled for mediation in January 2014 or waiting to see their day in court. The judge presiding over the Stryker MDL stated that he believed it would be in everyone’s best interest to resolve the cases during these earlier stages, rather than draw out litigation over several years.
Recalls, Revisions and Litigation
Between 2007 and 2012, Stryker recalled three of its metal-on-metal hip implants: the ABG II Modular-Neck Hip Stems, Rejuvenate Modular, and Trident Hip. The company confirmed that the Rejuvenate and ABG devices could easily corrode in the body, causing adverse local tissue reactions, pain, and, in some patients, toxic levels of metal in the blood. Stryker recommended that physicians perform clinical examinations in all patients implanted with these devices, regardless of incidence of pain or swelling.
We have been investigating these cases for quite some time now, and have
seen first-hand how destructive these devices can be. There have been
numerous recalls, not just by Stryker, associated with these types of
metal-on-metal hip devices, including by Smith & Nephew and DePuy.
Other companies, such as Biomet, Wright, and Zimmer, are also subject
to mass litigation concerning their metal hip devices.
Most settlements related to these defective implants will depend on an array of patient factors, which could increase or reduce the amount of compensation plaintiffs may obtain. For example, the DePuy settlement provides a base award of $250,000 per plaintiff, with potential deductions if the patient smoked or was obese, their age, or if they had prior hip surgeries.
That being said, settlements may also be increased if patients suffered any extraordinary or severe injuries, such as strokes, hip dislocation or foot drop, multiple revision procedures, and bilateral hip surgery. Our team of metal-on-metal hip implant lawyers understands that this issue is incredibly complex, involving several different companies and many models of implants. If you have any questions relating to hip implant litigation, do not hesitate to get in contact with us. Our legal consultations are always free of charge, and available to potential plaintiffs nationwide.