Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Metal hip implant cases moving forward

I've spent most of the last three years learning about how metal hip implants injure people. These medical devices were promoted over the last decade as the best thing since sliced bread. They were pitched as a product that would last forever. Turned out that many of them had a higher than normal failure rate.

Now, hip device companies are facing a mountain of lawsuits from people with a nasty condition called metallosis, which can injure the kidneys, destroy tissue and bone, and cause memory problems. Here's a blog post that I wrote for our law firm, Jones Ward PLC, earlier today about the latest twist in the mass tort world of hip implants.

"Dozens of lawsuits over failed Biomet hip implants are being merged together in a federal court in Indiana, over the objection of Biomet.
The cases, including some from Jones Ward PLC, involve failed metal-on-metal implants made by Biomet. The most common type is the Biomet M2A Magnum. Lawyers for the Indiana company argued that the cases should not be merged together, in part because they claimed the devices were not as defective as other metal-on-metal implants such as the DePuy ASR.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation, or JPML, disagreed. The panel, in a ruling filed Oct. 2, 2012, wrote that Biomet's efforts to settle some cases involving failed Magnums were "dwarfed by the almost 70 cases currently pending in federal court."

That number will almost certainly grow in the coming months as lawyers with Jones Ward PLC and other leading mass tort law firms seek compensation on behalf of those who have been injured by failed metal-on-metal Biomet implants. Sadly, the problems with these implants are similar to the problems with other metal-on-metal implants made by DePuy, Zimmer, and other manufacturers. In certain patients, the metal parts rub against each other, shedding tiny particles of cobalt and chromium into the patient's bloodstream, which can lead to a dangerous condition called metallosis.

The only permanent cure for metallosis is surgery to have the metal implant device removed. Although the cases against Biomet will likely require extensive litigation over the coming years, the recent ruling by the JPML is a step in the right direction toward getting injured implant recipients the compensation they deserve. Unlike a class action lawsuit, these cases will be merged together in Indiana just for the purposes of handling pre-trial testimony and the exchange of evidence, which is called discovery. In theory, each case would return to a local court once the merged case in Indiana is complete. If you or a loved one have been injured by a failed metal-on-metal hip implant made by Biomet, DePuy, or another company, call Attorney Alex Davis at 502-882-6000 for a free case evaluation, or email him at"

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