Metal-on-Metal Hip Side Effects & Litigation Updates

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Metal-on-Metal Hip Side Effects & Litigation Updates

Hip replacement surgery can help people regain their mobility and reduce pain in their joints. Hip replacement surgery involves replacing damaged parts of a person’s hip bones with artificial joints. Whether a person experiences pain or loss of mobility due to traumatic injury or simply old age, hip replacement surgery can relieve pain and help people get back to their normal routine.

Hip replacement surgery is among the most common types of surgeries in the United States, and the number of total hip replacement surgeries increased dramatically between 2000 and 2010, the last year data was made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The same CDC data also showed total hip replacements were increasingly performed in younger age groups, including those aged 45 to 64.

Have you experienced injuries or other complications with your hip implant?

Recalled hip and knee implants may cause serious injury to patients that have not taken action. If your hip has failed or been recalled, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us for details.

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At the same time, metal-on-metal hip implants were being touted as durable and reliable implants due to their design and materials. With more and more people getting hip implants overall, and more younger patients needing implants that could last a long time, metal-on-metal became a popular choice for surgeons and their patients.

It didn’t take long for some patients to notice severe side effects due to their implants, and it soon became clear to the medical community that these metal-on-metal designs may cause serious complications in patients.

Metal-on-metal hip implants used for total hip replacements caused the most alarm since their metal components could rub against each other, causing small fragments to be released into the area surrounding the implant. Since 2016, metal-on-metal hip implants used in total hip replacement surgeries are not legally marketed in the United States. There are two metal-on-metal implants used in hip resurfacing surgeries that are available in the U.S.

Problem hip implants put people at risk for injuries and can increase their chances for needing a second surgery, or revision surgery. Many hip implant models that have come under scrutiny over the last several years were designed and manufactured by some of the country’s largest and best-known device manufacturers, including:

  • Stryker
  • Depuy Synthes
  • Zimmer Biomet
  • Smith & Nephew

Following complaints that their products were causing injuries, these same manufacturers are facing hundreds, if not thousands, of lawsuits accusing them of designing a defective product and failing to warn about their risks. People who were implanted with certain devices made by these manufacturers and suffered serious side effects as a result may be entitled to financial compensation. There may be significant payouts in the form of settlements to those affected.

The following provides information about the potential injuries associated with these problematic hip implants and updates on litigation associated with specific products.

Symptoms & Side Effects

Hip replacements are designed to mimic the natural movement of the hip joint and are made from various types of materials. Some of the materials used in hip implants have come under scrutiny for their potential to cause increased complications. Metal-on-metal implants, which were once lauded for their long-lasting durability, have come under fire in the last several years after patients began experiencing severe side effects.

When metal implants rub against each other, they can release metal particles into the area surrounding the implant and cause serious side effects to the patient.

Symptoms and side effects associated with problematic metal implants include:

  • Device loosening or breakage
  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Bone loss called osteolysis
  • Swelling near the implant
  • A limp or change in walking ability
  • Noise (popping, grinding, clicking, or squeaking)
  • Metallosis
  • Need for revision surgery

Device loosening and implant failure are some of the most common reasons why a patient would require revision surgery. Surgeries put patients at additional risk for complications, including risks of reaction to the anesthesia, infection, excessive bleeding, and blood clots.

An especially dangerous risk of metal-on-metal hip implants is a complication known as metallosis. When the metal implants rub against each other, they can release metal ions into the bloodstream and cause symptoms elsewhere in the body.  

Symptoms of metallosis can include:

  • Skin rash
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Neurological changes (such as changes in hearing or vision)
  • Psychological status change, including depression or cognitive impairment
  • Kidney failure
  • Thyroid dysfunction, including neck discomfort, fatigue, weight gain, or feeling cold

Litigation Updates

Stryker / Howmedica

Stryker LFIT V40 femoral heads

In August 2016, Stryker’s subsidiary Howmedica Osteonics Corporation issued a recall of its V40 metal femoral head, the portion of the hip implant shaped like a ball that fits into the hip socket. Stryker initiated the recall after receiving several complaints that the device was failing and causing adverse effects to patients.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the complaints to Stryker described “incidence of harm secondary to taper lock failure.” This meant the part where the Stryker femoral head locked onto the stem (the portion of the implant that fits into the thigh bone) was loosening and failing more than expected.

The V40 femoral head is made of metal, which can corrode in the body as it rubs up against other materials–especially other metal implants. The recall affected more than 40,000 implants, and patients began filing lawsuits against Stryker and Howmedica soon after it was initiated. More than a hundred lawsuits were consolidated into a multi-district litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts in 2017. More than a hundred others were consolidated in state court in New Jersey in 2017.

Since the litigation was consolidated in Massachusetts district court, over 600 cases have been filed accusing Stryker and Howmedica of designing a defective product and failing to warn about its risks.

Settlement Reached

In November 2018, Stryker reached a settlement with plaintiffs in the V40 femoral head litigation. The confidential settlement includes the MDL in Massachusetts and cases consolidated in state court in New Jersey. The settlement comes months before the first bellwether trial in the MDL was set to begin in September 2019.

Though a settlement has been reached, there may still be time to file a claim against Stryker. If you were implanted with a metal-on-metal Stryker V40 femoral head and experienced severe side effects that required revision surgery, you may qualify for a Stryker lawsuit. Call Schmidt National Law Group at 800-631-5656 today and speak with one of our experienced case managers to see if your case qualifies.

DePuy Synthes

Pinnacle Series

DePuy Synthes, a subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, took its Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implants off the market in 2013, after initiating a recall of the devices a year earlier.

Even before the company stopped selling its product, lawsuits accusing DePuy of designing a defective product and failing to warn about its risks had already been filed in courts across the country. Those cases were consolidated before a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in 2011, where a series of massive verdicts were eventually handed down by juries in several bellwether trials.

Since then, over 10,000 lawsuits have been filed as part of the litigation. The DePuy Pinnacle litigation is still ongoing and there is still time to file qualifying cases. If you were implanted with a metal-on-metal Pinnacle hip implant and experienced severe side effects that required revision surgery, you may qualify for a DePuy Pinnacle lawsuit. Call Schmidt National Law Group at 800-631-5656 today to see if your case qualifies.

Huge Settlements in Pinnacle Bellwethers

Years after Pinnacle lawsuits were consolidated in 2011, several bellwether cases went to trial before juries in Dallas, Texas. The first bellwether concluded in 2014 and the jury found in favor of DePuy and its parent company Johnson & Johnson.

The second bellwether, which included cases from five different plaintiffs, saw a different ending. The jury found in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded them a combined settlement of almost $500 million, which the judge reduced to $150 million. The judgment in this case was later tossed out and a new trial ordered, after the Fifth Circuit said jurors were allowed to hear prejudicial testimony in the original trial. The new trial began in January 2019.  

The third bellwether went to trial in 2016 and the jury handed down a whopping $1 billion verdict against DePuy. The combined settlement was later reduced to $543 million, to be split by the six plaintiffs involved.

The fourth bellwether trial ended in 2017 with a $247 million combined verdict against DePuy. In fall 2018, DePuy filed motions to appeal the verdict in the case involving six plaintiffs.

Zimmer Biomet

M/L Taper Hip Prosthesis and Versys Femoral Head

The multi-district litigation involving Zimmer Biomet’s m/l taper hip implant and versys femoral implant was just consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in April 2019. Senior District Judge Paul A. Crotty is overseeing this litigation, which involved about 60 cases as of April 15, 2019.

The lawsuits accuse Zimmer Biomet of negligence, manufacturing a defective product, and failing to warn about its risks. They were filed by patients who allege suffering serious injuries as a result of their metal-on-metal implants.

The litigation is ongoing and in its early stages of discovery. If you received a Zimmer Biomet metal-on-metal hip implant and suffered severe side effects that resulted in the need for revision surgery, you may qualify for a Zimmer Biomet lawsuit. Call us today for a free case evaluation.

Smith & Nephew

Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System (BHR)

In September 2015, Smith & Nephew recalled its Birmingham Hip Resurfacing Systems because they were failing at rates higher than the benchmarks set by regulatory agencies.

Roughly two years later, more than 120 BHR Hip Implant lawsuits were consolidated into an MDL in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. As of April 15, 2019, there were more than 600 lawsuits against Smith & Nephew alleging the company’s Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System caused serious complications.

Since 2017, Smith & Nephew has tried to get cases thrown out over preemption and statute of limitation charges, but still faces the large majority of cases filed against it. These lawsuits are still ongoing, and more are expected to be filed in the coming years as the litigation moves forward through the court. If you received a Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System metal-on-metal hip implant and suffered severe side effects that resulted in the need for revision surgery, you may qualify for a Smith & Nephew lawsuit. Call us today for a free case evaluation.

Qualifying Cases

If you received one of the following metal-on-metal hip implants and experienced serious side effects that required revision surgery, you may qualify for a metal-on-metal hip implant lawsuit. Qualifying metal-on-metal hip implants include:

  • Stryker LFIT V40 femoral heads
  • DePuy Pinnacle Ultamet liner and Pinnacle metal head
  • Zimmer Biomet M/L taper and versys metal head
  • Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System

There are many reasons why a case may or may not qualify, and the statute of limitations vary by state. To see if you qualify for a metal-on-metal hip implant lawsuit, call the experienced attorneys at Schmidt National Law Group today at 800-631-5656 for a free case evaluation.

Sources

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “Class 2 Device Recall Stryker LFIT Anatomic V40 Femoral Head.” Last updated May 3, 2019. Accessed May 6, 2019: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfRes/res.cfm?ID=149782

Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. “MDL Statistics Report – Distribution of Pending MDL Dockets by District.” Published April 15, 2019. Accessed May 6, 2019:
https://www.jpml.uscourts.gov/sites/jpml/files/Pending_MDL_Dockets_By_District-April-15-2019.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Hospitalization for Total Hip Replacement Among Inpatients Aged 45 and Over: United States, 2000–2010.” Published February 2015. Accessed May 6, 2019: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db186.htm

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “Class 2 Device Recall Pinnacle.” Last updated May 7, 2019. Accessed May 8, 2019:
https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfres/res.cfm?id=107791

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Systems.” Last updated March 15, 2019. Accessed May 6, 2019:
https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/metal-metal-hip-implants/metal-metal-hip-implant-systems

Law 360. “Settlement Reached In Stryker Hip Replacement Suits,” by Mike Curley. Published Nov. 2, 2018. Accessed May 6, 2019:
https://www.law360.com/articles/1098516/settlement-reached-in-stryker-hip-replacement-suits

Law 360. “J&J Knew Hip Implants A ‘Disaster,’ Jury Hears In Retrial,” by Todd Hutchinson. Published Jan. 25, 2019. Accessed May 6, 2019:
https://www.law360.com/articles/1122188/j-j-knew-hip-implants-a-disaster-jury-hears-in-retrial

Law 360. “J&J Slammed With $247M Verdict In Texas Hip Bellwether,” by Jess Krochtengel. Published Nov. 16, 2017. Accessed May 6, 2019: https://www.law360.com/articles/985408/

Law 360. “J&J Gets $1B Damages Cut In Half In Hip Verdict,” by Jess Krochtengel. Published Jan. 3, 2017. Accessed May 6, 2019:
https://www.law360.com/articles/877223/j-j-gets-1b-damages-cut-in-half-in-hip-verdict

Law 360. “Award In J&J Hip Implant Bellwether Trial Slashed To $150M,” by Emily Field. Published July 6, 2016. Accessed May 6, 2019:

https://www.law360.com/articles/814522/award-in-j-j-hip-implant-bellwether-trial-slashed-to-150
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Law 360. “Jury Clears J&J In 1st Bellwether Over Pinnacle Hip Implant,” by Jess Krochtengel. Published Oct. 23, 2014. Accessed May 6, 2019:
https://www.law360.com/articles/589930/jury-clears-j-j-in-1st-bellwether-over-pinnacle-hip-impla
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U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “Class 2 Device Recall Smith & Nephew BIRMINGHAM HIP (TM) RESURFACING FEMORAL HEAD,” Last updated May 7, 2019. Accessed May 9, 2019: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfres/res.cfm?id=139519

Law 360. “Smith & Nephew Hip Implant Suit Survives Some Preemption,” by Steven Trader. Published Dec. 16, 2015. Accessed May 6, 2019:
https://www.law360.com/articles/738688/smith-nephew-hip-implant-suit-survives-some-preemption