Biomet M2a Hip Implants Cause High Metal Levels

Zimmer Biomet (Biomet) is a medical device manufacturer founded in 1977, and  headquartered in Warsaw, Indiana. Its official name was simply “Biomet” until “Zimmer” purchased it in 2015. Biomet M2a hip implants are hurting patients in the US and United Kingdom (UK).

The Magnum M2a Hip Implant Has a High Revision Rate

The M2a Magnum is a metal-on-metal brand of cup and head. This means that both the cup and head implants are made of cobalt-chromium. Studies show that between 6% and 7% of patients who receive the M2a Magnum need revision surgery within 5 years. Those patients needed revision surgery because their implants were poisoning their blood with high metal levels. High metal levels in the blood can cause a host of problems including:

  • Bone death (osteolysis)
  • Tissue death (necrosis)
  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Psuedotumor

One somewhat unique side effect patients experience from the M2a Magnum is clicking. In some cases, as the M2a Magnum wears out it can cause an audible clicking noise. Unfortunately, all of these problems eventually necessitate revision surgery.

Biomet Paid Out Big in the US

On April 15, 2014, Biomet signed a settlement agreement with hundreds of implant patients. Patients are eligible to receive a base award of $200,000 if they meet the following conditions:

  • Had a Biomet M2a Magnum hip implant
  • Filed a lawsuit against Biomet on or before April 15, 2014
  • Had the Biomet M2a Magnum hip implant removed more than 180 days after it was implanted

If you meet those conditions, then you may be entitled to at least $200,000.

Biomet Tried to Cover Its Tracks in the United Kingdom

Biomet hasn’t recalled M2a Magnums in the US, but it has recalled a close cousin of the M2a Magnum – the M2a 38 mm – in the UK. On April 12, 2016, Biomet issued an Urgent Field Safety Notice (FSC) regarding M2a Magnums in England and Wales. An FSC is an official communication in the UK which has two purposes:

  • Warning—tells doctors that something is wrong with the company’s product
  • Recommendation—tells doctors what to do with patients who were or are exposed to that product

Here is a breakdown of Biomet’s FSC.

  • Warning—patients with M2a 38 mms need revision surgery far more often than they should because they are getting high metal levels in their blood.
  • Recommendation—doctors should test patients with M2a 38 mms, and if the test results are abnormal, then the doctors should remove the M2a 38 mms and replace them with different, safer implants.

Biomet M2a Hip Implants Are Dangerous

Here in the US, Biomet is paying out millions of dollars over the M2a Magnum. In the UK, Biomet issued an urgent warning over a similar device. Clearly something is wrong with these dangerous products.

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.

$240 Million Wright Medical Global Hip Settlement Announced

Wright Medical Settlement

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.

Biomet Hip Settlement – M2a Magnum Hips

We are happy to report some good news regarding a recently-announced Biomet hip settlement. Yesterday, the Court proposed a settlement between Biomet and the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee (PSC) of the multi-district litigation on behalf of all plaintiffs who suffered a metal-on-metal  (MoM) related failure of their Biomet M2a 38 or Biomet M2a Magnum hip device.  As we anticipated and hoped, the settlement structure is in many ways similar to the ASR settlement that we reported in late 2013. However, as we previously warned, each hip litigation varies and might produce slightly different results.

Who is eligible for the Biomet hip settlement?

Plaintiffs who have undergone revision surgery on their Biomet M2a 38 or Biomet M2a Magnum hip more than 180 days after it was originally implanted are eligible for the settlement. Cases that have not undergone revision surgery will be dismissed without prejudice on or before September 12, 2014, if a revision does not take place by that date. The injuries necessitating the revision surgery must have been caused by metal-on-metal wear.  Other reasons for failure, such as infection or trauma, do not qualify.

How much will plaintiffs receive?

We cannot speculate on individual amounts at this time. However, reports say that Biomet will pay at least $56 million to settle the claims in the MDL. The Biomet hip settlement agreement includes a base award of $200,000 for eligible plaintiffs. This amount is subject to deductions based on the date of implantation, amount of time between implantation and revision, and other factors. Notably, the base amounts for the Biomet hip settlement will not be subject to discounts based on age, BMI, or smoking like they were in the DePuy ASR settlement.

In addition, certain factors may “enhance” the compensation a plaintiff can expect to receive. Examples of enhancement cases have not yet been released. Stay tuned for updates.

To our clients:

If you qualify, we will be sending you an update letter as soon as possible detailing the settlement agreement and next steps. Please keep in mind that, in settlements of this size, distribution is a slow-moving process. Deadlines are spaced out over a large period of time in order to accommodate such a large number of cases. Thus, we ask that you follow these guidelines unless you consult with your attorney first:

1.)  Do not spend the money until you have it. Even if we do confirm with you that your case is eligible for settlement, the base value could be subject to discounts based on the facts of your case. In addition, we cannot guarantee a deadline by which you will receive funding. Settlement funding depends on many factors beyond our control, and after we have submitted everything on our end there is little we can do to expedite the process.

2.)  Do not talk to loan funding companies. They charge extremely high interest rates over short periods of time. Again, we cannot guarantee when you will receive funding, and you could end up owing most or all of your settlement back to them.

3.)  Do not post on social media about the settlement. Posting on social media about your case is never going to help it, but it does have the potential to hurt it (see more).

4.)  Be wary of anyone (besides us) who calls you to talk about your claim. The period between a settlement announcement and fund distribution can be an opportune time for scammers to prey on plaintiffs. If you are not sure who is calling you or how they got your information, don’t be afraid to ask.

5.)  Be wary of anyone trying to get you to switch attorneys. Now that people have heard of the settlement, the competition for these cases is fierce. Marketers can make a lot of money selling your name and number to other law firms, and they will often tell you whatever you want to hear to try to get your attention. Sticking with your current attorney is, in most circumstances, the best route specifically because our attorney has already prepared your case for settlement.

If you have not yet hired an attorney:

It is very important that you speak with us as soon as possible. Plaintiffs are not eligible to participate in the settlement unless their case is filed in the MDL on or before April 15, 2014. That does not simply mean that we must hear from you by that date. It takes months to prepare these cases before we can file them. We must hear from you very soon in order to file your case on time for the April 15th deadline.  Further, there are statute of limitation laws that could bar your claim if your case is not filed by a certain date. Statute of limitation laws vary from state to state and are determined on a case-by-case basis.

These cases still depend on our ability to prove that your injuries were related to the metal-on-metal design of these implants. We have some of the top expert physicians reviewing our cases and making sure your case is as strong as possible before we file it. If you have metal-on-metal Biomet hip, please contact us to speak with one of our attorneys. We look forward to helping you.

Will We See More Stryker Hip Settlements in 2014?

Stryker Hip Settlements in 2013:

So far, four Stryker hip cases have settled in mediation in New Jersey State Court. These cases were among the ten chosen by the parties and Judge Martinotti for mediation in late 2013. As part of the terms, the settlement amounts will not be disclosed.

Currently, over 500 more cases are filed in New Jersey State Court. There are 4 more cases that are on Judge Martinotti’s mediation schedule for January 2014. If these cases end up settling, it is very possible that the amounts will also remain confidential. We expect to see more cases scheduled for mediation in the near future.

What does this mean for the other 500 cases in New Jersey?

Right now, it cannot be determined. However, it is important to keep in mind is that this litigation is progressing at a promising rate. The fact that we are seeing any Stryker hip settlements only 1.5 years post-recall is positive news. DePuy ASR hips were recalled in 2010 and are just now starting to settle. Stryker recalled their Rejuvenate and ABG II hips in July 2012.

We are encouraged that cases are settling and are committed to pursuing future settlements.

Why speak with an attorney now?

It is vital that Stryker hip recipients who do not have an attorney speak with one as soon as possible. It takes time to work up these cases and conduct an expert review; medical records alone take months to come in.

In addition, people who wait until they start seeing settlement amounts to pursue their claim risk their case being barred by the statute of limitations. Each state has different laws governing statutes of limitations, and recipients should not try to figure out what that date would be on their own. It is a very complex calculation that only an attorney can accurately determine.

If you have not yet discussed your case with an attorney, contact us for a free consultation.

Stryker Hip Settlements in New Jersey

Four Stryker Hip Settlements in New Jersey, Attorneys Continue to Mediate Cases

Last week, attorneys negotiated Stryker Hip settlements on four cases that were filed in New Jersey State Court. The cases were among six that were chosen by both parties and by New Jersey Superior Court Judge Brian Martinotti. Negotiations on the other two cases “fell through,” according to reports.

Although the Stryker Hip settlement amounts remain confidential, this news is very encouraging for other plaintiffs involved in the litigation. Attorneys continue to mediate a select few cases as the New Jersey Court permits.

However, it is very important to remember that this is only the beginning stage of negotiations. Over a thousand cases have been filed throughout the country. Litigation of this size often progresses very slowly. Even after a case reaches a settlement, it can take years until funds are distributed.

Currently, there are two main consolidated actions throughout the country. Approximately half of the cases are filed the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL), which is centralized in Minnesota under Judge Frank.  Over five hundred more are filed in the New Jersey multi-county litigation in state court, under Judge Brian Martinotti. About 100 more are filed in various other venues throughout the country.

We will continue to post updates regarding Stryker hip settlements. If you have a recalled Stryker ABG II or Rejuvenate hip and have not yet spoken with an attorney, it is important to do so as soon as possible. Contact us for a free consultation.

Warning: DePuy Lawsuit Funding Sites May Mirror Official Settlement Site

The recently-announced DePuy settlement has gathered plenty of media attention, which has generated many questions regarding DePuy lawsuit funding. No matter how well-executed or -organized a settlement announcement may be, there will still be a decent amount of confusion and/or misinformation as the word rapidly spreads. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of rogue websites and soliciting companies that are ready to capitalize on claimants’ confusion. It is very important for DePuy ASR claimants  to be aware of some of the practices that companies may use in order to involve themselves in the litigation and/or distribution processes.

Here are some things to consider if you are contacted regarding DePuy lawsuit funding:

1.)    Be careful who you give your information to. Lead counsel in the DePuy ASR litigation has already warned that rogue DePuy lawsuit funding and structure websites may pop up and intentionally look very similar to the official site. If you have an attorney, he or she will address all that needs to be done on the official DePuy settlement site.

2.)    Be wary of any parties, other than your attorney, who contact you directly regarding settlement. If anyone other than your attorney/his or her legal assistant asks you questions regarding your case, it is best that you politely decline to answer any questions and give them the number to your attorney’s office.

3.)    If you are considering accepting advanced settlement funding, we strongly encourage you to seek the advice of your attorney first. Legal funding (loan) companies often charge excessive interest rates. The temptation to get your money sooner is understandable. However, GoldenbergLaw (along with many other firms) rarely recommends accepting these types of loans.  Often, the interest can accrue to the point where all of (or even more than) your settlement amount is owed to the funding company.

4.)    Any concerns about DePuy lawsuit funding should be directed to your own attorney, as they are the most familiar with the specifics of your case. There have already been complaints of internet advertisers or direct solicitors (who usually do not work for a law firm but hope to sell your information to one) who are trying to get people to switch firms. Often, the solicitors will try to convince you to switch by making false claims, such as guaranteeing they can get your claim settled faster, for more money, etc. The settlement will have pre-arranged methods for distribution of funds;  no firm will receive special treatment. Some solicitors will say almost anything to get you to agree to give your information to them.

These practices are an unfortunate byproduct of highly-publicized settlements, and by warning against them early we hope to minimize the impact they have. If you have any questions about DePuy lawsuit funding or do not currently have an attorney, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Johnson & Johnson Will Pay $2.475 Billion in DePuy ASR Settlement

DePuy ASR Settlement Confirmed

In 2010, DePuy Orthopedics (a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary) recalled its ASR hip implants. This marked the beginning of an extensive litigation for those injured by the defective device. Yesterday, Johnson & Johnson announced they’ve reached a settlement for DePuy ASR revision cases.

Several news sources – many of which are considered to be reliable – reported details they got from “anonymous sources” prior to the DePuy ASR settlement agreement being finalized. As we warned in previous posts, those details were based on speculation and should not be confused with the official reports from yesterday.

Didn’t have a DePuy ASR hip? Click here for an explanation of what this could mean for your case.

Now that a formal announcement of a DePuy ASR settlement has been made, this is what we know:

A settlement fund valued at approximately $2.475 billion, assuming approximately 8,000 patients participate, will be set aside for patients who had the DePuy ASR hip and meet certain criteria. Among the criteria for eligibility, patients must have had the DePuy ASR implanted in the U.S. or at a U.S. military hospital. In addition, they must have undergone a revision surgery on or before August 31, 2013. The revision surgery must have been related to the recall and performed at least 180 days after the original surgery.

If I qualify for this DePuy ASR settlement, how much money will I get?

We cannot speculate on individual amounts at this time. There are many factors that could affect individual amounts, including how many people apply for the settlement.  Settlement awards will also vary based on health issues, length of product use, and other factors.

In addition to the agreed-upon DePuy ASR settlement amount, DePuy will be responsible for negotiating and resolving “certain liens by qualified lienholders” associated with revision surgery and other types of treatment.

I had a DePuy ASR hip but have not had revision surgery. What does this mean for me?

Thousands of non-revision cases are still being litigated. Broadspire, the third-party claims administrator that has been paying medical bills for patients, is still available to people who did not have revision surgery prior to August 31, 2013 (including those who have not undergone revision). Although this particular DePuy ASR settlement does not apply to non-revision cases, it does not mean you do not have a claim. Non-revision claims will be preserved under this agreement, and we remain dedicated to resolving them.

When will people who qualify for this DePuy ASR settlement receive their money?

Unfortunately, that is not a question we can answer at this point. In settlements of this size, distribution is a slow-moving process. Deadlines are spaced out over a large period of time in order to accommodate such a large number of cases. Fortunately, it seems that leaders in the litigation have taken important steps to eliminate some of the obstacles that have historically caused the biggest delays.

DePuy ASR Settlement? To Be Announced Tomorrow

An “open conference” – potentially revealing ASR settlement – is scheduled for tomorrow, November 19.

According to Bloomberg, Johnson & Johnson will make an announcement pertaining to a possible DePuy ASR settlement tomorrow, November 19. From what we know, it seems likely that the announcement will confirm conjectures that Johnson & Johnson will settle the lawsuits for approximately $4 Billion. If this is the case, the ASR settlement will be the largest defective medical product settlement to date.

However, as we previously warned, these details should not be taken as fact until they are confirmed.

Bloomberg’s anonymous sources say that the settlement will cover more than 7,500 patients who have already had revision surgery, averaging around $300,000 per case. However, the amounts will vary depending on several factors, including the severity of injury. According to the sources, the deal will not bar patients whose hip implants fail in the future from seeking compensation.

Again, it is important to note that this is merely speculation until publically confirmed by leadership in the litigation. We will find out more after the conference tomorrow and will keep you updated if an ASR settlement is announced.

If you have a DePuy ASR hip and have not spoken with an attorney, we suggest you contact us immediately. If you are not sure what type of hip you have but believe it could be an ASR or other metal-on-metal hip, we can help you find out.

Recently Announced: Tentative DePuy ASR Hip Settlement

Is the settlement real?

According to several news sources, Johnson & Johnson plans to pay up to $4 billion in a recently-announced DePuy ASR Hip settlement. Provided these reports are accurate, it would be one of the largest payouts in the history of defective medical device litigation. The pending DePuy ASR Hip settlement will resolve thousands of lawsuits that have been filed by injured recipients of the defective hips.

Although we are optimistic about this announcement, any information about a DePuy ASR Hip settlement that does not come from ASR leadership remains speculation. 

Things to keep  in mind: 

At this point, no numbers you hear should be accepted as fact. In settlements of this magnitude, there are many administrative details to iron out before clients are notified of their settlement amounts.

Remember, this is not a class action. Funds resulting from a DePuy ASR Hip settlement will not be distributed equally. Individual settlement amounts will depend on several factors, including age and medical condition. Revision cases, meaning the hip has required additional replacement surgery, will be given the most value.

Distribution takes time. Again, it is okay to be pleased with the news of potential settlement, but keep in mind that there are tens of thousands of claims.  Lawsuits involving this many people move slowly and have many moving parts.

If you do not have an attorney, speak with one now. If you or a loved one received a DePuy ASR hip device and have not retained an attorney, it is important to speak with us as soon as possible. Those who do not have an attorney may still qualify for settlement, but we must act quickly. Contact us to speak with one of our attorneys right away.