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Stryker Settles 8 Lawsuits Over Recalled Rejuvenate Hip Implants

Mar 20, 2014

Stryker has settled eight lawsuits alleging that the recalled Rejuvenate hip implant is defective and caused serious injuries. With close to 1,500 more Stryker Rejuvenate recall lawsuits filed across the country, litigation is likely to move forward in the future. More than half of these lawsuits have been consolidated into a multi-county litigation (MCL) in the Bergen County court under the Honorable Brian Martinotti.

In an MCL, each lawsuit is viewed individually but all of the cases are reviewed by the same judge and follow a shared discovery process.

Previously, Judge Martinotti ordered a mediation process that involved 10 lawsuits. One case was delayed, and eight of the nine have now been settled. After this successful resolution, 10 more cases will be added to the process.

Stryker recalled their Rejuvenate and ABG II hip replacements in July 2012. The metal-on-metal hip systems were found to have a risk of metal corrosion; when the surfaces of the implant grind together, metal particles can enter the bloodstream and become absorbed by muscle and soft tissues. This complication can lead to early implant failure, forcing the patient to undergo a second surgery to replace the implant. Patients who have these implants should be on the lookout for symptoms of failure, which include pain, inflammation, infection, damage to muscle, bone and nerves, squeaking and popping sounds and impaired mobility.

Hip implants are expected to last from 15 to 20 years, but that was not the case with many Rejuvenate and ABG II patients. Many found themselves having to undergo revision surgery in as little as two years. The procedure is invasive, expensive and often painful. Since the recall, thousands of lawsuits have been filed on behalf of patients who were implanted with the all-metal devices.

In addition to the lawsuits centralized to New Jersey, nearly 600 more have been filed in federal court. These cases have been filed into a multidistrict litigation (MD) before the Honorable Donovan Frank in the District of Minnesota. A mediation process similar to what took place in Bergen County may also happen. If not, bellwether cases will likely be chosen as preliminary cases to help determine the course of future litigation.

Stryker is one of many manufacturers to face litigation over metal-on-metal hip systems. The devices as a whole have come under fire, especially after Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy unit globally recalled its ASR metal hip systems in 2010. The FDA has warned about the unique risks of metal-on-metal hip implants, and advised measures such as imaging, metal ion testing and physical follow-ups for these patients.

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