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Smith & Nephew Hip Implant Recall and New MDL

Apr 28, 2017
Smith & Nephew Hip Implant Recall and New MDL Filed

A multidistrict litigation (MDL) was created by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) to consolidate Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation.

A multidistrict litigation is frequently used where complex cases with similar complaints are consolidated. This involves the trial taking place in one court under one judge. An MDL lowers court costs, eliminates duplicate discovery, resulting in a faster outcome and a generally more efficient procedure.

United States District Judge Catherine C. Blake in the District of Maryland will preside over 28 actions pending in 19 districts, with 11 related actions pending in 11 other district courts. These procedures involve product liability claims involving components of the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) system, the R3 acetabular system, or a combination of a BHR component and other hip implant components.

Product liability attorneys at Parker Waichman are actively reviewing potential lawsuits regarding medical devices including Smith & Nephew hip implant products.

Smith & Nephew Litigation Background

Since 2010, Smith & Nephew has faced lawsuits regarding its hip implants. There are 34 BHR actions, including the potential tagalong actions, pending in 25 district courts across the country. Most of these lawsuits were filed recently and are just beginning.

The lawsuits have factual questions in common relating to the design, manufacture, marketing, or performance of Smith & Nephew's BHR system. In particular, the plaintiffs focus on complications coming from the use of cobalt-chromium alloy in the making of the BHR components. The plaintiffs claim that they have suffered pain, negative local tissue reaction, pseudotumors (an enlargement that resembles a tumor), bone and tissue necrosis (tissue death), metallosis (metal poisoning), or other symptoms often requiring revision surgery.

Revision surgeries are typically more complex, cost more, and may be riskier, requiring longer healing periods. Consumers Union notes revision surgeries may also need longer hospital stays. In addition, revision surgeries are usually performed to remove a device maker's faulty device with the monetary cost assumed by consumers and insurers, such as Medicare, and not by the device manufacturer.

Smith & Nephew is against a consolidation of the cases. The company argued that the main dispute in the BHR actions is whether plaintiffs' allegations are preempted by federal law.

"We suspect that the preemption analysis will be more similar from case to case than Smith & Nephew suggests. The same preemption analysis will be conducted in each action, and state tort laws that share similar elements can be grouped together for analysis. To the extent these actions survive Smith & Nephew's preemption challenges, discovery is likely to be complex, expert-intensive, and will benefit from centralization," the JPMDL said.

Judge Blake is already overseeing two Smith & Nephew hip lawsuits. The JPMDL said she "is an experienced MDL judge with the willingness and ability to manage this litigation efficiently. She is well situated to structure this litigation so as to minimize delay and avoid unnecessary duplication of discovery and motion practice."

Hip System Recalls

Smith & Nephew Litigation Backgroun

Smith & Nephew has issued an urgent field safety notice resulting in the recall of thousands of defective medical devices. The company admits for the first time that its Modular SMF and Modular REDAPT femoral replacement hip systems cause toxic metallosis in recipients.

The recall shipped from October 2008 through July 2016, affects 6,266 SMF and REDAPT hip systems, plus 13,671 modular neck hip prostheses.

Smith & Nephew, based in Memphis, Tennessee, has sold the Modular SMF and REDAPT implants for almost ten years. The company admitted in its letter to physicians that "Smith & Nephew considers that patients implanted with the modular neck hip prostheses may be at greater risk of revision surgery than with comparable monolithic products."

Smith & Nephew also recalled its Tandem Bipolar Hip System in August 2016. The system had shown a tendency to detach after surgery. On November 3, 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified the recall a Class 2 because, "some Bipolar shells were manufactured with an out-of-specification retainer groove."

A class 2 recall is a situation in which use of, or exposure to, a violative product may cause temporary or medically reversible adverse health consequences or in which the probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote.

Have You Been Injured by a Smith & Nephew Hip Implant? If you or someone you know has sustained injury involving a Smith & Nephew hip implant, you may be eligible for valuable compensation. Parker Waichman LLP personal injury law firm offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. We urge you to contact us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).


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