Answers to Metal-on-Metal Hip Questions Come Slowly but Surely

In many ways, the rise and fall of metal-on-metal hips has been like an uncontrolled experiment. Manufacturers performed minimal testing on the devices prior to releasing them into the marketplace. As metal-on-metal hips began to fail in patients, manufacturers took measures to delay – or avoid altogether – any acknowledgement that there was a problem with the metal-on-metal design. Doctors had little information to rely on and were forced to put the pieces together based on their experiences with patients. As a result, patients and doctors alike have been waiting for answers to their questions regarding the effects of metal-on-metal hip implants.

A recent information statement released by The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) helps answer some of those questions and provides up-to-date recommendations on how to monitor these devices. The document is not intended to dictate the exact method of treatment, but it serves as a guideline that is based on the state of the published literature available.

In it, the authors discuss the intrinsic (caused by the implant) and extrinsic (something outside of the implant) causes of painful total hip arthoplasty (THA). In any case of painful THA, a thorough clinical history, a detailed physical examination, and select radiographic and laboratory tests are all essential to determining the cause(s) of pain.

The statement also provides a systemic risk stratification recommendation, which can be used to determine if a certain patient is at high-, medium-, or low-risk for hip failure. The data is consistent with some other studies in the past, which have reported trends such as a higher risk for females with metal-on-metal devices that have large-diameter femoral heads. However, this statement goes into more detail on what doctors should look for in determining a patient’s risk level and treatment options.

Having a metal-on-metal device in you can cause significant anxiety.  At GoldenbergLaw, we understand that the most important thing to anyone who has been affected by metal-on-metal hip failure is feeling better and getting back to normal life. We will continue to update our clients and others about important developments in litigation and in treatment of metal-on-metal hip failures.

Stryker Bellwether Trial Categories Established in Federal MDL

Federal MDL in Minnesota Establishes Stryker Bellwether Trial Categories

A small group of Stryker hip cases are being prepared for early trials, which are known in mass tort as “bellwether trials.” Bellwether trials are a way for the parties to determine how each case might be resolved if it were brought to trial. Thus, the results of a bellwether trial often have a significant impact on the potential value of the rest of the cases in the litigation.

The cases that are selected for bellwether trials must represent the diversity of cases in the litigation. Since the type/severity of injuries can vary, as can the risk factors for those injuries, both plaintiffs’ and defendants’ attorneys typically establish categories into which the test cases will be divided.

On May 9, 2014, Judge Frank, who oversees the Minnesota Stryker MDL, issued a pretrial order that indicated that there will be five categories for Stryker bellwether trial cases. One of the categories will be dedicated to the ABG II system, which was recalled at the same time as the Rejuvenate for similar problems. The other four will pertain to the Stryker Rejuvenate, which is the subject of the majority of the lawsuits that have been filed.

The four Rejuvenate categories will be divided according to the date the Stryker Rejuvenate hip was implanted (before or after January 1, 2011) and whether the revision was complicated or uncomplicated. Judge Frank had already established that only cases that involved a revision surgery (a second surgery to replace the defective hip) would be considered for a Stryker bellwether trial.

According to an order issued in March 2014, the first Stryker bellwether trial will begin during the summer of 2015.

New Jersey Cases

In New Jersey State Court, cases are coordinated under Superior Court Judge Brian R. Martinotti as part of a Multi-County Litigation, or MCL.  Judge Martinotti established a mediation process last year to see if a settlement could be reached before a lengthy and expensive trial process. The first phase involved a group of 10 cases that were selected for early negotiations before a court-appointed mediator. One of the cases was delayed, and eight of the remaining nine cases were successfully resolved.

Now, a “phase 2 mediation” is in the works. The group of cases will involve plaintiffs aged 78 years or older, among other plaintiffs who sustained serious injuries. The Court has selected five cases at random to be included in this mediation, and plaintiffs have identified another five.

Next Steps for Recalled Stryker Hip Recipients

If you currently do not have an attorney, it is important that you speak with one as soon as possible about your options. There are statutes of limitations that can bar you from bringing a claim if you do not do so by a certain deadline. The statute of limitations on your case requires a complex evaluation that only an attorney can accurately provide. Click here to contact our office.

If you are currently our client, please know that we are keeping up on filing deadlines of your case and any Broadspire reimbursement requests that you may be waiting on. If we have any concerns or questions regarding your case we will contact you directly. Thank you for your trust.