Wright Medical Settlement Reached
Wright Medical Group has reached a $240 million master settlement agreement (MSA) with attorneys representing approximately 1,292 plaintiffs who sued for damages caused by three of the company’s defective hip replacement products. Plaintiffs eligible for the settlement must have had a CONSERVE, DYNASTY, or LINEAGE hip replacement revision surgery occurring within eight years of their initial hip replacement surgery.
The Wright CONSERVE, DYNASTY, and LINEAGE are all acetabular systems. An acetabular system is a particular type of hip replacement device where a metal ball (femoral head) connects to a metal hip socket (acetabulum), forming the hip joint. The metal-on-metal design was initially developed to serve as a more durable hip replacement option for younger, physically active patients. Unfortunately, this turned out to not be the case for many hip replacement patients receiving a Wright metal-on-metal hip device. Patients made reports of debilitating injuries as a result of their hip replacement. These injuries include:
- Severe pain and swelling
- Metal poisoning (metallosis)
- Loosening of hip components
- Need for revision surgery
- Early device failure
A multidistrict litigation (MDL) for Wright Medical’s metal-on-metal hips was formed on February 8, 2012 in the Northern District of Georgia. Soon after a state consolidated action in the form of a Judicial Council Coordination Proceeding (JCCP) was formed in California. According to Robert Palmisano – President and CEO of Wright Medical – the settlement should cover approximately 85% of known U.S. claimants with pending or tolled cases in the MDL or JCCP.
Wright Medical's Past Hip Device Problems
Wright Medical Technology had not been having an abundance of luck since the initial MDL was formed back in 2012. Since that time, the company’s problems have mounted:
- In 2013, it became known that the Wright Profemur Neck (a component of Wright’s modular hip device) began failing at a higher than anticipated rate. The neck was failing at the neck-head or neck-stem interface due to metal wear between metal components. The device also had durability issues and often fractured in the femur. Various cases were filed throughout the country.
- In November 2015, the first bellwether case was tried with the jury awarding the Plaintiff $11 million. This amount was eventually reduced by the court to $2 million.
- In June 2015, the first Wright Profemur case was tried. The jury awarded the Plaintiff $4.5 million. Notably, in 2009, Wright changed the neck material from Titanium to Cobalt-Chromium (CoCr). The CoCr was supposed to be safer, but that product is also now having problems.
Fortunately a settlement has been reached concerning the Wright CONSERVE, DYNASTY, AND LINEAGE products after years of lawsuits and litigation for 1,292 plaintiffs. However, the company insists it will not give up in defending the estimated 600 other metal-on-metal hip claims not settled under the recent MSA.