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A number of people have sued Wright Medical Technology for components made by the company and used in hip replacement surgeries. Although the details differ, the lawsuits commonly allege that faulty design or manufacture of the hip devices have caused pain, instability and poor performance resulting in the need for additional hip revision surgeries, loss of income and other damages. Both the Conserve and Profemur Z lines of hip devices have been the subjects of various suits, but unlike other problematic models of hip replacement, they have not been recalled.
Wright Conserve Hip Replacement Lawsuits
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In 2012, four suits against Wright Medical Technology were combined by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation into MDL 2329 and assigned to the Southern Georgia District Court. At the time of the initial order, the court was aware of at least 17 other tag-along cases that might also be combined into MDL 2329. According to a New York State Bar Association publication, as of Spring 2014, there were 75 pending cases under the purview of MDL 2329.
These cases pertain to alleged problems with Wright’s Conserve hip replacement devices. According to the initial MDL order, even though some of the specific circumstances of each case might differ, the panel ordered that the various lawsuits could be combined because they shared critical facts related to the “design, manufacture, marketing and performance of Wright’s Conserve line of hip implant products.”
Wright Profemur Z Hip Replacement Lawsuits
In May 2011, Gregory K. Tucker sued Wright Medical Technology, alleging that his Profemur device fractured subsequent to replacement surgery on his right hip. According to court documents, Tucker sued for strict liability based on design and manufacturing defects, negligence and loss of consortium. The lawsuit was settled in October 2013, with Wright paying an an undisclosed amount to Tucker.
Virginia M. Welch sued Wright Medical Technology in Arizona in October 2011. She claimed strict liability for failure to warn, design defects and manufacturing defects, as well as breach of express warranty and negligence. As declared in court documents, Welch had received a Profemur Z implant, which according to doctors subsequently became loose and rotated 90º, allegedly causing pain and discomfort in the patient. Welch’s litigation was later included as part of MDL 2329, and in October 2012 several of Welch’s claims were dismissed.
Reportedly, approximately six weeks after Hirschbeck’s surgery, the device fractured while he was sitting on his couch.
Other Wright Hip Replacement Lawsuits
In 2005, former Major League Baseball umpire Mark Hirschbeck — who officiated in two World Series — sued Wright Medical Technology for the alleged failure of a hip replacement device produced by the company. Reportedly, approximately six weeks after Hirschbeck’s surgery, the device fractured while he was sitting on his couch. The high-profile case led to further allegations of improper payments between Wright and doctors, which were later examined by prosecutors. The suit was settled for an undisclosed amount, although reports indicate it may have been as high as $3 million.
Wright Medical Technology has faced lawsuits over its hip devices in other countries as well. Ken Taylor, a resident of Nova Scotia, Canada, sued Wright approximately two years after receiving hip replacement surgery reportedly due to the hip device fracturing. Taylor’s lawyers learned of 15 other potentially similar cases in Nova Scotia, and the case was certified as a class-action suit by the Nova Scotia Supreme Court. As of July 2014, the case is still pending.
- In Re: Wright Medical Technology, Inc., Conserve Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation: http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/california/candce/4:2011cv03086/242543/33/0.pdf?1328869472
- Defective Metal on Metal Hip Implant Claims in Federal Multidistrict Litigation: More Than 8,500 Filed Cases: http://www.nysba.org/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=46511
- Order by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers: http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/california/candce/4:2011cv03086/242543/147
- Order to Dismiss: http://ia601508.us.archive.org/7/items/gov.uscourts.azd.652064/gov.uscourts.azd.652064.45.0.pdf
- New Hips Gone Awry Expose U.S. Kickbacks in Doctors’ Conflicts: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-06-11/new-hips-gone-awry-expose-u-s-kickbacks-in-doctors-conflicts-of-interest.html
- Former baseball umpire wins settlement for faulty hip replacement: http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Former-baseball-umpire-wins-settlement-for-faulty-1351965.php
- Hip replacement lawsuit inches toward courtroom: http://news.ca.msn.com/local/novascotia/hip-replacement-lawsuit-inches-toward-courtroom-1