Not long after DePuy confirmed a $2.5 billion mass settlement of its version of metal-on-metal hips implants, (the ASR), Stryker began settling several similar cases.
As of December 18, 2013, Stryker Corp. has settled with four individual plaintiffs, leaving hundreds of suits pending.
There are approximately 500 lawsuits against Stryker that were consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) in New Jersey, all of which concern the company’s Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck stems.
Patients have been suing Stryker after receiving the hip implants based on a promise that these artificial parts would last for decades, whereas the implants really were never intended to last that long. In fact, the implants failed in less than two years, causing pain and requiring costly surgeries to repair.
The four recently-settled lawsuits were part of a group brought into mediation, which is a court-mandated way of bringing both parties together to attempt to resolve legal disputes, typically through compromise instead of a full jury trial. During this process, a third party, known as the mediator, is brought in to try to negotiate a settlement. The reason mediation is mandated is because both parties have an opportunity to come to terms with parts of the lawsuit, which would make trial shorter. Sometimes, the case could reach a settlement, avoiding trial entirely.
Stryker, like DePuy, seems eager to settle the injury suits that involved revision surgeries, since the procedure was only necessary if the device was defective. All DePuy plaintiffs with documented proof of a forced revision surgery are now eligible to take part in the recent $2.5 billion settlement, which will cover costs of surgery, medical bills, and lost wages.
It is expected that Stryker will continue to settle these cases in the coming months, as the expected court costs are monumental.
The four Stryker MDL cases that recently settled involved less-serious complications following the surgery, and all four patients were able to return to work in a relatively quick nature.
However, those with more serious complications from the defective devices are set for mediation in January 2014, or are waiting for court dates. The judge believes that resolving these cases in the earlier stages (such as mediation) is the best option, as opposed to dragging out the litigation over several years.
Between 2007 and 2012, Stryker recalled three of its metal-on-metal implants, acknowledging that the devices could corrode inside of the body, which results in adverse local tissue reactions, pain, and possible toxic levels of metal in the blood. Stryker recommended that physicians examine all patients implanted with any of the three recalled devices, regardless of pain or swelling (or the lack thereof). Those devices are the Rejuvenate Modular, the Trident Hip, and the ABG II Modular-Neck Hip Stems.
What’s troubling is that it is not just Stryker who have been recalling these devices. There have been recalls by Smith & Nephew and DePuy, and other companies, such as Biomet, Wright, and Zimmer, are currently dealing with their own lawsuits of mass litigation.
For any questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).