What is wrong with your hip or knee implant?

Hip implant litigationHip and knee replacement devices have come under increasing scrutiny in the last few years, as manufacturers began to recall certain types of these implants. One type of hip implant, and perhaps the most controversial at this time, is called a metal-on-metal bearing. The Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) created by DePuy Orthopedics is a type of metal-on-metal bearing that is made of cobalt chromium alloy with metal pieces that rub together. Due to the rubbing of the metal parts, it can create debris and lead to inflammation, tissue damage, or even metal poisoning in very serious cases.

DePuy (a division of Johnson & Johnson) manufactures this type of hip implant and had 37,000 of the devices in circulation in the United States, and 90,000 worldwide, before it issued a recall in 2010.

There are two types of ASR devices distributed by DePuy that have resulted in complications: the ASR XL Acetabular System total hip replacement, and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System. A statement from DePuy says that approximately 12-13% of patients that received an ASR hip implant required a second hip replacement within five years of the initial implant due to failure of the device or other complications. Many of the patients who received an ASR hip implant from DePuy are now seeking compensation through litigation for medical bills and associated expenses resulting from the defective device.

DePuy now has over 8,000 lawsuits pending related to the ASR implants, and an additional 500 or so lawsuits for another metal-on-metal bearing called the Pinnacle.

If you are unsure whether your hip implant is one of these devices, your doctor will be able to inform you. If you were given one of these devices and think you may have a claim, be careful not to sign any waivers limiting DePuy’s liability or agreeing to a lower compensation amount than you deserve. The DePuy Recall website provides a number for a help line to answer questions and “to begin the claims and reimbursement process” – but the company is mainly concerned with limiting their liability and avoiding as much litigation as possible by limiting your rights to compensation. Speak with an attorney before contacting DePuy directly.

If you want my firm to assist you give us a call; many of these cases can be settled outside of the traditional class action litigation, which tends to be slow.

Lombardi Law Firm - 515-222-1110 or [email protected] 

[Image by Steve Lombardi, Mt. Elbrus, Russia.]

What is the Multi-District-Litigation and Where is it for Hip Implants?

The United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) is a panel of seven federal judges, appointed to the Panel by the Chief Justice of the United States. The main role of the Panel is to determine whether a group of civil actions pending in different federal districts should be combined and transferred to one federal district in order to consolidate the claims if they involve a common question of fact. The Panel also chooses the judge and court in which the proceedings will occur. The purpose of combining such claims is to prevent unnecessary repetition of the discovery process by conserving the judicial resources, as well as preventing inconsistent pretrial rulings. With regard to hip implant civil actions, there are numerous suits in various jurisdictions due to the volume of defects in the devices. DePuy ASR hip litigation at the federal level is being centralized in a court in Ohio (In re DePuy Orthopedics Inc., ASR Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, 10-MD-2197, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio (Toledo)); litigation filed at the state level in New Jersey will be centralized in the Bergen County Superior Court and will be coordinated with federal litigation.  There are also many lawsuits filed in Indiana, as DePuy is based in Warsaw, Indiana, and those suits may be combined with the MDL in New Jersey. If the suit is not settled or dismissed after it is transferred to the central court, it will be sent back to the original court for trial. To learn more about the DePuy hip implant recall lawsuit, there are many resources online that discuss the legal process and what to do if you have been affected by a defective device. It is best to discuss your situation with an attorney if you believe you may have a claim, as they will be able to provide you with the best information to allow you to protect your rights.

Do I have to Join the Hip Implant Multi-District-Litigation in Federal Court?

The short answer is no – you may be able to bring suit in state court.  If you choose to file in federal court, however, the Federal MDL Panel will most likely transfer the case to a central federal court along with other cases in order to consolidate the pretrial process. If you instead decide you would rather file in state court, there are certain requirements that must be met. These requirements are quite specific in order to bring a case in state court when one of the parties is a business incorporated in another state. One such requirement is that the business must have sufficient contacts with the state in which you wish to file suit. This may be satisfied if the business regularly conducts transactions in the state or has a place of business in the state. An attorney will need to discuss your situation with you in order to determine whether filing in state court is an option if you wish to pursue litigation for a defective DePuy hip implant.

What Law Firm in Iowa Can handle My Hip Implant Case?

If you believe you may have a defective DePuy hip implant, you should first consult your doctor to find out if you have a recalled hip implant device.  They can also determine whether revision surgery is required. If you require revision surgery, or otherwise have been affected by a faulty DePuy hip implant device, you may be entitled to compensation through litigation for medical bills and associated expenses. You should seek a qualified attorney who can represent your personal injuries adequately and who understands the issues involved in the DePuy recall and resulting litigation. At Lombardi Law Firm, we will work to understand your unique situation and how the defective hip implant injured you in order to achieve the best outcome for you.

What Compensation Can I Expect from My Hip-Implant Case?

The amount of compensation you may receive if you are a victim of a defective DePuy hip implant will vary depending on the extent of the damages you suffered. The more serious the injury or problems caused, the higher the amount awarded in damages. Since the lawsuits are still in the early stages, it is hard to know the precise amount that can be expected. However, it is reported that Johnson & Johnson set aside $3 billion for the costs associated with the hip implant litigation, including $800 million for medical costs associated with the recall. These amounts indicate the company is expecting to incur losses as a result of the pending and forthcoming lawsuits.  The outcome of the first three lawsuits may be an indication as well, as they each settled for $200,000 in August 2012. In order to protect your interests and best determine what you may be eligible to receive as compensation, you should speak with a personal injury attorney who understands the issues surrounding the DePuy hip implant lawsuits.

Knee Replacement Systems

OVERVIEW: Several different components used as part of Zimmer NexGen knee replacement systems have been associated with a potential increased risk of problems, which may result in pain, limited range of motion, loosening of components or the need for additional revision surgery.

In March 2010, data was presented by a group of knee surgeons that indicates nearly 9% of patients who received the Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex Porous Femoral component required revision knee surgery within two years and 36% showed signs of the replacement knee loosening.

In September 2010, recalls were issued for several components due to apparent manufacturing defects or design defects. A Zimmer NexGen MIS recall was issued for more than 68,000 knee components following at least 114 reports of problems that caused some individuals to experiencing loosening of the parts or the need for additional knee surgery. In addition, a Zimmer NexGen LPS recall was issued due to non-confirming and inconsistent geometry.

REPORTS OF LOOSENING AND REVISION: At a conference of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in March 2010, several prominent knee surgeons presented data on the outcomes of 108 knee replacement patients who received the Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex Porous Femoral component at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

After only two years, the researchers reported:

  • 9 patients required knee revision surgery due to loosening and pain
  • 39 patients showed evidence of radiographic loosening

It is suspected that the higher-than-expected failure rate is linked to design problems with Zimmer NexGen replacement knees, as the orthopedic surgeons concluded that they were not caused by surgical errors, problems with the techinque or the type of patient who received the knee implant.

More than 150,000 Zimmer NexGen CR and Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex Porous Femoral implants have been sold since 2003, and some doctors have reported experiencing a substantially higher-than-expected failure of the replacement knee within a few years of surgery.

The Zimmer replacement knee is a “high-flex” component, which attaches to the bottom of the thigh bone. In most knee replacement systems, a type of surgical cement is used to hold the implant in place. However, the Zimmer NextGen knee does not use a cement and this may be a design defect which increases the risk of a knee replacement loosening and needing additional surgery to revise the implant.

Steve Lombardi
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