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Lawsuit Allegations and Plaintiffs Suing Stryker
With the widespread problems experienced with its recalled Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implants, thousands of patients are suing Stryker Orthopaedics. Plaintiffs allege that Stryker was negligent in failing to properly test the devices, which were cleared through the FDA’s 510(k) program. That failure allegedly led to the release of a defective product that, once implanted, shed toxic metal particles into the tissue surrounding the hip, causing a range of side effects including dislocation, bone loss and chronic pain. Many patients continue to suffer permanent side effects even after revision surgery.
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Plaintiffs also accuse Stryker of misleading the public about the benefits and effectiveness of its implants. The company claimed the Rejuvenate and ABG II were more durable than other implant designs, and touted the versatility of their modular design, which made the devices suitable for a wide range of patients, including younger patients with active lifestyles.
Lawsuits against Stryker remain in the early stages. Stryker settled in December 2013 with four plaintiffs whose cases were selected from those consolidated in New Jersey state courts. Two other cases failed to reach an agreement in mediation. Terms of the settlements were not disclosed, and further cases remain in negotiation.
Regulatory filings submitted by the company last October estimated the cost of the recall and litigation to be as high as $1.13 billion, double the $660 million estimated in a previous filing. Those numbers also didn’t take into account payments to third-party insurance companies. Stryker spent over $510 million in 2013 on related costs.
Future Verdicts and Settlements
The regulatory filings imply that Stryker will be amenable to a mass settlement in the future. That same filing stated that the total cost of the lawsuits and recall would depend “on the number of and actual costs of patients seeking testing and treatment services, the number of and actual costs of patients requiring revision surgeries, the number of and actual costs to settle lawsuits filed against us, and the amount of third-party insurance recoveries.”
As more early cases enter negotiation in state courts in New Jersey and Florida, bellwether cases in federal multidistrict litigation in Minnesota are scheduled to go to trial in late 2014. The presiding judge in those cases has indicated that he will communicate with judges in the other suits in order to possibly coordinate a settlement. The results in one court, therefore, seem likely to influence the results in the other courts.
Johnson & Johnson recently agreed to an uncapped settlement with recipients of its ASR XL device, manufactured by its DePuy Orthopedics division. That settlement is estimated to cost more than $4 billion.
Other manufacturers of defective metal-on-metal hip implants are beginning to agree to large settlements with thousands of plaintiffs. Johnson & Johnson recently agreed to an uncapped settlement with recipients of its ASR XL device, manufactured by its DePuy Orthopedics division. That settlement is estimated to cost more than $4 billion. It comes after Johnson & Johnson had one case decided in its favor in open court and another against it, with total damages in the second case of $8.3 million. Individuals in the settlement will receive an average of approximately $300,000 in compensation.
A similar type of settlement may be in Stryker’s future, in order to avoid protracted legal battles and the possibility of extensive damages in individual cases that find in favor of the plaintiffs. Johnson & Johnson, in spite of the hefty price tag on the settlement, likely saved a substantial amount of money in the long run, and Stryker will presumably want to do the same.
If you have a Rejuvenate or ABG II hip replacement from Stryker Orthopaedics, you may be eligible to be a part of future settlements. Speak with a qualified attorney to assess your legal options. And, as always, consult your doctor, even if you aren’t symptomatic.
- Singer, S. (2013, January 27). Artificial hips corrode, poisoning some patients, local lawsuits say. The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
- Sponer v. Howmedica Osteonics Corporation, d/b/a Stryker Orthopaedics. (2012, November 7). Retrieved March 31, 2014.
- Walker, J. (2013, October 23). Stryker says hip recall may cost up to $1.13 billion. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
- Markos, K. (2013, December 17). Stryker corp. settles first batch of hip-implant lawsuits.The Record. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
- Stryker Corporation. (2012, June). Rejuvenate modular / ABG II modular-neck stem voluntary recall. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
- MDL No. 13-2441. (2014, March 25). In re: Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation: Amended Pretrial Order no. 12. Retrieved March 31, 2012.