Stryker LFIT V40 Hip Implant Lawsuits Consolidated into Multicounty Litigation
The New Jersey Supreme Court has decided to consolidate state lawsuits over the Stryker LFIT V40 hip implants into a multicounty litigation. Plaintiffs allege injuries from the LFIT Anatomic Cobalt Chromium V40 femoral heads, and allege that device makers failed to warn of the risks. Howmedica Osteonics Corp. has been named as defendant. The product in question is a metal-on-metal hip implant, a category of devices that has become controversial in recent years.
Parker Waichman LLP personal injury attorneys note that metal-on-metal hip implants have come under scrutiny following recalls and thousands of lawsuits. The firm represents numerous clients in metal-on-metal hip implant lawsuits and continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals who have questions about pursuing a case.
In August, Stryker voluntarily recalled certain lots of the LFIT V40 manufactured before March 2011 due to taper lock failure. This is a complication where the femoral head fails to lock onto the stem at the stem-head taper junction. The company said in a recall notification, “Stryker received several complaints describing incidence of harm secondary to taper lock failure for specific lots of numerous catalog numbers of LFIT Anatomic CoCr V40 Femoral Heads,”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) designated the recall as Class II, meaning that the device presents a risk of temporary or medically reversible adverse health problems, or where the risk of serious injury is remote.
According to court records, the multicounty litigation is not limited to the recalled components. The litigation also includes lawsuits filed over the Stryker Accolade, Meridian and Citation implants. Plaintiffs’ attorneys argued that the recalled heads also involve association with titanium alloy femoral heads.
The Stryker LFIT V40 was also recalled in Canada, where the nation’s regulator stated, “Stryker has received higher than expected complaints of taper lock failure for specific lots of certain sizes of LFIT Anatomic COCR V40TM Femoral Heads manufactured prior to 2011,”
In Australia, the nation’s Therapeutic Goods Administration of the Australian Government Department of Health also warned of taper lock failure with the recalled hip implant heads. Symptoms of taper lock failure may include:
• loss of mobility
• adverse local tissue reaction
• joint instability
• broken bones around the components
• leg length discrepancy
• need for revision surgery
The LFIT V40 femoral head is a hip implant component that can be used with different Stryker hip implant systems, such as the Accolade TMZF, Secur-Fit Max, Citation TMZF, and Hipstar.
Federal Stryker LFIT V40 Hip Implant Lawsuits Consolidated into MDL
Parker Waichman notes that federal Stryker LFIT V40 metal-on-metal hip implant lawsuits are already consolidated in a federal multidistrict litigation. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has consolidated lawsuits to the District of Massachusetts before the Honorable Indira Talwani, a Transfer Order shows.
An MDL is a type of mass tort, where similar lawsuits are transferred to one court before one judge. Creating an MDL makes complex litigation more efficient because it streamlines the litigation and overall conserves court resources. Among other things, an MDL eliminates inconsistent pretrial rulings and duplicate discovery.
Unlike a class action lawsuit, plaintiffs file their lawsuits individually in an MDL.
In deciding to create the MDL, the JPML said “…, we find that the actions in this litigation involve common questions of fact, and that centralization in the District of Massachusetts will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of the litigation. All actions involve common factual questions about alleged defects in HOC’s Stryker-branded LFIT Anatomic CoCr V40 femoral heads.”
“Centralization will avoid duplicative discovery on such complex issues as the design, testing, manufacturing, and marketing of the LFIT V40 cobalt-chromium femoral head device and related motion practice. Centralization is consistent with our past decisions in other similar hip implant dockets.”
The MDL consolidates lawsuits alleging injuries from the LFIT Anatomic CoCR V40 femoral heads. Suits allege that the chromium-cobalt hip implant is defective. Plaintiffs allege that when used with femoral stems made from different alloys, such as the TMZF, corrosion occurs at the taper junction. This allegedly causes other complications prompting the patient to undergo an early revision surgery due to implant failure.
Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Lawsuits Background
With a traditional total hip replacement, the top of the thighbone (femur) is replaced by a femoral head or ball sitting on a femoral stem, which is inserted into the thighbone (femur). These femoral components interact with an acetabular cup (replaces the hip socket) containing a liner. In a metal-on-metal hip implant, these interacting components are made of metal.
In recent years, these devices have come under fire because they can release metal debris when the surfaces rub together, leading to complications such as metal poisoning (metallosis), tissue death, bone damage, pain, inflammation, and early failure. These complications can force patients to undergo an early revision surgery to remove the failed device.
Stryker recalled other metal hip implants in the past. In 2012, the Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck hip stems were recalled due to a risk of “fretting and corrosion”. Adverse events may include adverse local tissue reaction (ALTR), pain, or swelling near the hip joint.
The Rejuvenate and ABG II litigation resulted in a $1.4 billion settlement in November 2014. Stryker recently expanded the settlement to include plaintiffs who more recently underwent revision surgery. Specifically, the new settlement agreement resolves litigation on behalf of plaintiffs who underwent revision surgery prior to Dec. 19, 2016.
In metal-on-metal hip implants, the surfaces are made of metal. These hip replacements can release metal particles when the surfaces of the implant rub together, causing metal hip complications such as metal poisoning and the need for early revision surgery. An FDA expert advisory panel discussed these “unique risks” in a 2012 meeting.
The agency states that, “In metal-on-metal hip implants, the metal ball and the metal cup slide against each other during walking or running. Metal can also be released from other parts of the implant where two implant components connect. Metal release will cause some tiny metal particles to wear off of the device around the implant, which may cause damage to bone and/or soft tissue surrounding the implant and joint. This is sometimes referred to as an ‘adverse local tissue reaction (ALTR)’ or an ‘adverse reaction to metal debris (ARMD).’”
Legal Help for Stryker Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Recipients
Parker Waichman has years of experience representing clients in numerous metal-on-metal hip implant lawsuits. If you or someone you know was implanted with a Stryker metal-on-metal hip implant such as the Stryker ABG II or the LFIT, you may have valuable legal rights. Our firm offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).