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MDL Ordered for Zimmer NexGen knee Replacement Lawsuits

Aug 10, 2011 | Parker Waichman LLP

A multidistrict litigation (MDL) has been established in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois for lawsuits involving Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex femoral components, Zimmer NexGen MIS Tibial components or Zimmer NexGen LPS-Flex femoral components.  An MDL allows lawsuits associated with a particular product to be coordinated under one judge for pretrial litigation to avoid duplicative discovery, inconsistent rulings and to conserve the resources of the parties, witnesses and the court.

 According to a Transfer Order issued by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML), the original motion to consolidate the Zimmer NexGen knee replacement lawsuits encompassed 28 cases filed in 13 federal districts. Since then, more than 45 other such lawsuits have been filed.

 The panel chose the Northern District of Illinois for the MDL venue because 10 of the 28 constituent actions are pending in that district, and the district is relatively close to Zimmer’s Indiana headquarters.  Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer, who the panel referred to as “an experienced and highly-regarded jurist,” will preside over the litigation.

 All of the lawsuits in the litigation allege that allege that the Zimmer CR-Flex, LPS-Flex and/or MIS Tibial components are prone to premature loosening, causing affected individuals pain and loss of movement, and often forcing them to undergo revision surgery. The actions also raise factual issues as to whether the Zimmer high-flex components (CR-Flex and LPS-Flex) actually provide an individual with any increase in flexion.

 In opposing the MDL consolidation, Zimmer had argued that the involved NexGen components are “quite distinct, and thus discovery would not significantly overlap among the actions.’ However, the JPML did not find the device maker’s arguments persuasive, stating its review of the record indicated that the distinctiveness of the various components is not as clear-cut as Zimmer contends.

 The consolidated litigation is titled IN RE: ZIMMER NEXGEN KNEE IMPLANT PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION (MDL No. 2272).

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