Stryker Corp. and its subsidiary, Howmedica Osteonics Corp., has agreed to compensate additional Plaintiffs in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) that was settled for $1 billion two years ago for patients who received allegedly defective metal hip replacements. Eligible U.S. Plaintiffs now include patients who had surgery to replace their Rejuvenate and/or ABG II modular-neck hip stems up until Dec. 19, according to the agreement struck between the Stryker entities and the court-appointed committees of lawyers representing Plaintiffs in multicounty litigation in New Jersey and multidistrict lawsuits in federal court.
The eligible claimants will receive a base award of $300,000 for each revised hip, subject to any applicable reductions or limitations, according to the agreement. Unrepresented claimants are eligible for 71 percent of the base award, or $213,000. The agreement says reductions will be taken for things like obesity, smoking and age.
The new agreement follows the $1 billion settlement agreed to in November 2014 to resolve thousands of claims centralized in Minnesota federal court and multicounty litigation in New Jersey state court. The litigation came about after Stryker recalled the modular-neck stems in June 2012, saying they could fret or corrode, harm body tissue, and cause pain or swelling.
About 95 percent of eligible patients had enrolled in the 2014 settlement. Ellen Relkin of Weitz & Luxenberg PC, a member of the settlement committee, told Law360:
Further, learning from procedural obstacles from the first settlement, we were able to change some terms to deliver a more efficient and quicker payment process for this new round of settlements. Hundreds of patients who underwent revision surgeries of their Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II hips will be pleased that they are finally getting compensated for their injuries.
Stryker expects the majority of the payments under the expanded settlement agreement will be made by the close of 2017. While the agreement will help close “significant” litigation activity, some lawsuits still remain, the company said in a statement. The statement said:
The final outcome of this matter is dependent on many variables that are difficult to predict. The ultimate cost to entirely resolve this matter may be materially different than the amount of the current estimate.
About 20,000 people were implanted in the U.S. with the Rejuvenate and ABG II hip products. The original settlement, which also offered a $300,000 base award, had compensated patients who had gotten surgery up until Nov. 3, 2014, according to court documents. Gibbons PC, representing Stryker, declined to comment through its publicist. Representatives for the Plaintiffs didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Stryker is represented by Sedgwick LLP, Stinson Leonard Street LLP and Gibbons PC. The Plaintiffs are represented by lawyers from Weitz & Luxenberg; Meyers & Flowers; Anapol Weiss; DeGaris & Rogers; Seeger Weiss; Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein; Pogust Braslow & Millrood; and Levin Papantonio Thomas Mitchell Rafferty & Proctor. The MDL is In re: Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation before the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.
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