metal hip replacement

Stryker Agrees to Second Settlement of Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants

Today (December 19, 2016), Stryker announced it will participate in a second global settlement agreement with patients who were implanted with either of two of its products. The products are both metal-on-metal neck-stem hip implant components: the “Rejuvenate” and the “ABGII” models. Each of these models was recalled in July 2012.

Both the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABGII hip devices consist of a modular stem and femoral head. Individuals who received a Stryker Rejuvenate or ABGII implant and then required removal of the device due to metal-on-metal failure are potentially eligible to participate in the settlement. The removal, or revision, surgery must have occurred no later than December 19, 2016.

This settlement agreement follows a prior global settlement announced in 2014 where individuals requiring removal of the Stryker Rejuvenate or ABGII device before November 3, 2014 qualified. The current settlement, announced just over two years after the first, is an effort to compensate those individuals requiring removal of the products after the November 3, 2014 deadline.

Stryker has paid over $1 billion in settlements stemming from its Rejuvenate and ABGII hip devices and is now projected to pay another billion dollars or more in the second settlement.

Following a recall of the DePuy ASR hip devices in 2010, it became apparent to the public that metal-on-metal hip devices could cause severe injuries to patients. The acetabular components of the ASR device, the cup and ball were made of metal. These two pieces, positioned next to each other, rubbed together, causing metal ions to be released in the body.

The suspected mechanism of failure in the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABGII products was not of the acetabular parts, but of the neck and stem femoral components. These two pieces, locked together upon implantation, could result in metal-on-metal wear. We began to see the Rejuvenate and ABGII fail at very high rates in 2012 due to corrosion between the stem and neck.

Pinnacle Plaintiffs Win Big

On December 1, 2016, a jury in the Northern District of Texas awarded six plaintiffs harmed by DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implants a whopping $1.04 billion dollars.

In 2009, it became evident that DePuy and Johnson and Johnson’s Pinnacle hip device was failing at a higher than expected rate. This device is made up of a metal cup, metal head, and metal liner. While some doctors used a poly (plastic) liner, many used the metal liner. A high number of recipients of the DePuy Pinnacle Hip System experienced unexplained hip pain, difficulty standing or walking, loss of mobility, loosening of the joint, and dislocation. Failure of the device is often due to metallosis and its side effects.

Though it was never recalled, plaintiffs were able to present a wealth of evidence showing that the DePuy Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System has similar defects to the recalled DePuy ASR system and therefore that DePuy knew the damage Pinnacle hip systems could cause in hip replacement patients. Evidence at trial showed that DePuy paid royalties of over $200 million to doctors who helped design and promote the Pinnacle hip systems. Plaintiffs also pointed out that DePuy is worth over $72 billion dollars and if the jury truly wanted to send a message to DePuy, they would have to award the plaintiffs enough money to make an impact. The jury heard the plaintiffs loud and clear. The jury sent DePuy that message earlier today when it delivered its verdict.

Next on the horizon is the question of settlement. Will DePuy be more willing to settle future lawsuits rather than risk another gigantic loss at trial? Stay connected with GoldenbergLaw for updates.