Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implants were called off the market by Stryker Corporation in July 2012. The move came after the receipt of various complaints by the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration USA) regarding these two models. The patients who received these implants have developed various ailments including severe pain, swelling and disability.
False claims alleged in the marketing of Stryker hips
The company claimed to be providing stable and durable products. On the contrary, these products caused various dangerous side effects and serious defects to the patient. The metal on metal implants caused an increase in the concentration of dangerous metal ions in the blood stream, which occurs because of the fretting of the metal in the joints. The microscopic metal debris and metal ions are then sucked into the bloodstream.
Corrosion at the joints and loosening of the joints also occurred early with the use of these products. The loosening of the implant caused the metal components to dig into the tissue surrounding the implant. The implant would not work properly and failed to give support to the patient. This caused a lack of mobility and in some cases, severe pain. In most of these instances, patients had to undergo additional surgeries and medical treatment.
Increase in Litigation Cases
As cases of failures increase in number, lawsuits against the Stryker Corporation continue to increase as well. Federal Multidistrict Litigation has centralized these cases in order to give them a speedy trial. Presently, these are at the pretrial stage in the court of Judge Donovan Frank of District Minnesota.
What is Multidistrict litigation?
Multidistrict litigation is a procedure normally adopted in cases that are of the same nature. In such cases, various individual plaintiffs file their complaints of a similar nature against one defendant. Therefore, to avoid repetitive work and reduce the load on the courts, such cases are combined in one court, where a group of cases is first put to the pretrial.
Pretrial is a procedure in which the case is heard by the judge before the start of the formal proceedings, in order to give the defendant and the plaintiffs a chance to reach a settlement and conclude whether the case is suitable for trial or not.
The court, after finalizing all the pretrial matters, will choose a few bellwether cases for trial. A bellwether is a term used for forecasting a trend. This approach in such cases is very useful in saving courts precious time. Consolidation of cases results in progress of the numerous cases at one pace. After the decision has been made regarding these cases, settlements of the remaining cases are done much more efficiently. Most of the cases are settled outside the courts. However, there is no bar on individual trial. It depends on the plaintiff if they want to agree to a settlement or go to trial after the bellwether decision.
Proceedings in Florida
Thirteen cases were filed in Florida regarding the premature failure and misleading advertisement of the Stryker’s Rejuvenate and ABG II products. These have been consolidated on the same lines as the cases involved with the federal MDL. The lawsuits against the Stryker Corporation claim that the products caused severe pain and suffering to those who had it implanted. Judge Marina Garcia-Wood has approved the consolidation of these cases on 3 October 2013. This is an important step towards achieving justice for those affected by the Stryker hip implants.