The litigation over metal-on-metal hip implants continues to move forward, with plaintiffs alleging that the all-metal hip devices caused complications due to their faulty design. Such devices have come under scrutiny in light of high-profile recalls and reports of high failure rates. Numerous lawsuits have been filed against different metal hip makers over the past few years, and those cases continue to proceed.
Metal-on-metal hip implants use all-metal surfaces. These devices can release metal debris when the surfaces of the implant rub together, leading to complications. When an implant fails due to complications, patients typically undergo a revision surgery to remove the device.
In February, an Oklahoma jury ordered DePuy to pay $2.5 million to a woman who alleged that both of her DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implant devices failed. According to her lawsuit, the plaintiff was implanted with one device on her right side in October 2006 and the other on her left side in February 2007. She alleges that both implants failed, and that she underwent a number of surgeries to remove the devices in 2011 and 2012. The suit alleged that the DePuy ASR XL hips are defective and that the company was negligent with regards to their safety. The faulty implant allegedly caused pain, toxic metal poisoning and nerve, tissue and muscle damage.
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Metal hip implants were marketed as being more durable and better suited for active patients, but evidence has shown that these devices are associated with a high rate of revision. Concerns over metal-on-metal hips truly came to light when DePuy and parent company Johnson & Johnson recalled the ASR Hip Resurfacing System and the ASR XL Acetabular System in 2010 due to high failure rates. At the time of the recall, J&J reported the ASR failure rate to be 12 percent in five years. Internal documents, however, showed that 37 percent of the implants failed in 4.6 years. In Australia, the failure rate was 44 percent in seven years.
Parker Waichman LLP has represented clients in several Hip implant multidistrict litigations (MDLs) and multicounty litigations (MCLs), including:
- In re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. ASR Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2197) in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio
- In re: Biomet M2a Magnum Hip Implants Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2391) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division.
- In Re: Stryker Rejuvenate Hip Stem and ABG II Modular Hip Stem Litigation (MCL No. 296) in New Jersey’s Superior Court of Bergen County.
- In re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Product Liability Litigation (MDL No. 3:11-md-02244) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
If you or someone you know has suffered complications related to a metal-on-metal hip implant, contact Parker Waichman LLP today for more information about your legal rights.
Stryker also issued a recall in June 2012. The company recalled its Rejuvenate Modular and ABG II Modular-Neck Hip Stems due to potential health risks, including corrosion and “fretting” of metallic particles into a patient’s body. In November 2014, Stryker agreed to pay $1.45 billion to settle lawsuits over these devices. Under this settlement, patients may be eligible to receive $300,000 if they had one hip device implanted and removed. Patients with both hip implants removed may be eligible to receive up to $600,000. These base amounts may be adjusted based on the severity of the injuries and whether or not multiple surgeries were needed. The settlement also includes individuals who were injured but unable to undergo revision surgery due to medical issues.
Last October, SCENHIR, the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks urged caution with metal-on-metal hip implants. The committee found that use of the devices should be “carefully considered on a case-by-case basis, due to the potential adverse effects of released metal.” The implants are contraindicated in women of childbearing age and in women with small femoral head size. SCENHIR also advised annual follow-up for the lift of the joint in patients with large-head devices.
Parker Waichman LLP continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals who were implanted with metal-on-metal hip implants. If you or a loved one is interested in filing a lawsuit or want more information about your legal rights, contact our firm today.