It is estimated that approximately hundreds of thousands of Americans undergo hip replacement surgery annually. In 2009, the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, reported 288,471 total hip replacements with almost one half of them reported in people under 65. This trend is expected to continue increasing in coming years.
Unfortunately, the last three years have seen once popular hip joints become the subject of health concerns and market withdrawals or hip recalls. The recalls have become associated with patients initiating hip recall lawsuits across the United States. As a Generation of Baby Boomers come of age and become candidates for hip replacement, or knee replacements, the implications are broad and present the potential for an unprecedented health crisis created by modern science and marketing.
In August 2010, Johnson & Johnson, through their subsidiary, DePuy, initiated a recall of 93,000 “metal on metal” hip joints worldwide. This recall was the result of reports of high failure rates oversease. Concerns continued to grow over the potential for their early failure and damage to local tissue as a result of the load bearing portion of “metal on metal” hip joints releasing metal ions into the blood stream and surrounding tissue. The resulting reaction, is sometimes referred to as an adverse local tissue reaction (ALTR) or adverse reaction to metal debris (ARMD), which could manifest itself in a number of ways including:
The objective signs of an adverse reaction, coupled with subjective complaints by patients, have become the hallmark signs of problems following a hip joint recall. These complaints now stretch across multiple product lines regardless of whether they have already been the subject of a product recall or market withdrawal.
The DePuy ASR lawsuits have been organized into a Federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in the United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio, were thousands of cases remain pending. Over the past few weeks the first, of many remaining, DePuy ASR lawsuits proceeded in a civil jury trial in Los Angeles, California. As of the time this was written the case had not yet gone to verdict.
In July 2012, STRYKER, initiated a recall of an approximate 20,000 REJUVENATE and ABG II modular-neck femoral hip systems. Like the DePuy “metal on metal” hip joints this system was failing at a higher than expected rate. The “failure rate” effectively prompted a recall in Canada followed by the United States. This failure differs significantly from the DePuy ASR in that, the modular pieces are believed to have failed in a portion of the “neck” or “stem” that is inserted into the femur or long bone of the leg.
STRYKER has repeatedly portrayed the recall as “voluntary recall”, however it is believed that the company may not have had a choice given the failure rate of the product seemed to indicate that it was not working as designed. It is believed that physicians and patients were reporting failures, resulting in safety signals that prompted the so called “voluntary recall”
While there are parallels between the two recalls the products are different and ongoing lawsuits are at completely different stages. Regrettably, they both reveal a failure in modern devices designed to improve lives and raise questions about corporate conduct and the sale of innovative products.
STRYKER HIP RECALL LAWSUITS have been filed across the country and no Federal Multi District (MDL) has been organized as of this time in February 2013. It is possible that the cases will be consolidated into an MDL but that has not yet transpired. Filings are spread out across the United States in both Federal courthouses and State courthouses. A consolidation of certain cases, already filed and pending in New Jersey, has been formally organized. Our office is serving as Lead Counsel, or Co-Counsel, in STRYKER HIP RECALL LAWSUIT investigations across the United States. Contact us if you need assistance or information you do not find on our site.
Mass Tort cases involving devices or drugs typically take a number of years before the 1st case is presented before a trier of fact, or jury. Bellwether cases are selected from thousands of claimants, or litigants, as examples of the issues presented for consideration. Both the Plaintiffs that brought the lawsuits, and Defendants that are defending the lawsuits, typically have an opportunity to select a Bellwether of their choice to serve as an example of the issues being litigated. In coming months, once consolidated State Court proceedings, and any potential MDL are established we anticipate a schedule for the selection of Bellwether cases will be initiated. As a result, potential claimants or litigants are encouraged to seek legal counsel of their choice.
Given STRYKER’S “Dear Surgeon Letter” of January 3, 2013 (discussed here) we believe every person that has a STRYKER REJUVENATE or ABG II should consult with legal counsel before contacting the company or their “third party administrator” – BROADSPIRE SERVICES, INC. – who has been contracted by STRYKER to “manage” claims for out of pocket expenses and related reimbursement. Only a qualified STRYKER HIP RECALL LAWSUIT ATTORNEY can assist a claimant in pursuing legal claims for personal injury, the defective, and now recalled products, and compensable injuries under relevant State law.