Howmedica Osteonics Corporation and Stryker Corporation faced a lawsuit concerning failure of a medical device. A federal judge, ruling on Pennsylvania law, allowed a strict liability manufacturing defect claim to proceed against the manufacturers for the allegations of complete failure of their hip and leg prosthetic device.
Stryker Lawsuit Overview
The plaintiff was implanted with the Stryker Gamma 3 Nail System on March 2, 2015. On September 30, 2015, an X-ray revealed that the Stryker nail had broken. On April 26, 2016, the plaintiff had to undergo a left total hip replacement which became infected leading to additional medical injury.
The plaintiff filed strict liability, negligence, breach of implied warranty claims under Pennsylvania law, in the U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
“In the absence of a controlling decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, a federal court applying that state’s substantive law must predict how Pennsylvania’s highest court would decide this case,” Judge Wendy Beetlestone wrote.
A strict liability claim requires proof that: “the product was defective; that the defect existed when it left the hands of the defendant; that the defect caused the harm.”
The court dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims for: strict liability claims asserting a design defect against medical device manufacturers; negligent failure to warn and to recall against medical device manufacturers; and breach of implied warranty of merchantability.
“Here, the plaintiffs have plausibly alleged a manufacturing defect strict liability claim. The existence of a manufacturing defect is satisfied by the allegation that the Stryker Gamma 3 Nail System broke down after it was implanted into [the plaintiff], where it was subjected to normal and anticipated use, and that there were no reasonable secondary causes,” the Judge said.
“That it existed at the time it left Defendants’ control is plausibly suggested by the allegation that the product was manufactured and shipped by Defendants to Grand View Hospital, where it was ultimately implanted into [the plaintiff].”
“And causation follows from the allegation that the failure of the Stryker Gamma 3 Nail System necessitated a subsequent surgery to remove it, as well as a total hip replacement, which gave rise to a secondary infection. Therefore, the motion to dismiss the strict liability claim insofar as it asserts a manufacturing defect will be denied,” the Judge said.
National law firm Parker Waichman LLP has extensive experience and success in medical device litigation, including allegedly defective hip implants. The firm’s attorneys are available to answer legal questions from individuals seeking information for a potential lawsuit.
Additional Litigation and Complications Involving Stryker
U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani in Boston is overseeing eight claims in Massachusetts federal court in an MDL concerning Stryker LFIT V40 Femoral Head Products Liability Litigation.
Senior District Judge Donovan W. Frank oversees 1,806 claims in Minnesota federal court MDL involving Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG ll Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation.
In 2012, Stryker recalled its Rejuvenate and ABG ll modular-neck hip stems. The metal-on-metal hip devices were recalled because patients experienced “fretting and corrosion” at the modular-neck junction. This may cause injuries such as adverse local tissue reaction, pain and swelling at or around the hip joint. Stryker faced a deluge of lawsuits following the recall. Plaintiffs in the litigation maintain that the metal hip device caused complications and that Stryker neglected to warn of the risks.
Stryker agreed to pay $1.4 billion in November 2014, to settle lawsuits over the ABG ll and Rejuvenate. The settlement agreement includes plaintiffs who had revision surgery to replace their failed hip implant before December 19, 2016. When metal-on-metal hip implants fail and cause complications, a revision surgery is performed. Metal-on-metal hip implant lawsuits have triggered lawsuits because patents have been suffering an increased rate of early failure.
In August 2016, Howmedica recalled 42,519 defective hips. The manufacturer also issued a letter to orthopedic surgeons alerting them of a “higher than expected” incidence of taper lock failure for certain sizes of its LFIT Anatomic CoCr V40 Femoral Heads.
Listed in the recall notice were potential hazards that included excessive metal debris, disassociation of the stem/failure, trunnion (pin or pivot) fracture, and corrosion at the femoral head and stem junction.
Despite the belief that hip implants are expected to be long-term devices lasting a decade or more, plaintiffs’ litigations commonly allege that the hip devices fail much sooner, forcing recipients to undergo additional surgery.
Have You Been Injured by a Stryker Hip Prosthetic Device?
If you or someone you know has sustained injury involving a Stryker hip device, you may be eligible for valuable compensation. Parker Waichman personal injury law firm offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. We urge you to contact us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).