Dozens of Stryker hip implant lawsuits have been consolidated in a Massachusetts federal court so that the cases can be handled by one judge. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (JPML) agreed on April 5, 2017, to transfer nearly three dozen pending cases related to alleged defects in Stryker-branded LFIT Anatomic CoCR V40 femoral heads, a prosthetic hip replacement device, to U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani in the District of Massachusetts. As we have previously stated, the federal court system uses multidistrict litigation (MDL) as a tool to consolidate multiple similar cases focused on a particular argument to one judge for pre-trial discovery.
Most of the pending Stryker implant lawsuits focus on corrosion of the LFIT V40, which can lead to serious health consequences and necessitate surgery to remove and replace the hip implant, according to the transfer order. The Defendant in the cases opposed consolidation on the grounds that there are “only a few actions” regarding the device. However, the JPML disagreed, noting that around 33 Stryker hip replacement cases in 17 different districts are pending.
In August 2016, Stryker issued a voluntary recall on some hip implant devices after Stryker received “higher than expected complaints of taper lock failure” for specific lots of certain sizes of LFIT Anatomic CoCr V40TM Femoral Heads manufactured before 2011.
In the current MDL, Stryker had requested that the Boston MDL be renamed from “In re: Stryker Orthopaedics LFIT V40 Femoral Head Products Liability Litigation” to “In re: HOC LFIT V40 Taper Lock Litigation” and also wanted to restrict the MDL lawsuits to recalled hip implant devices with taper lock failure. However, the JPML disagreed. The transfer order stated:
We decline to change “Stryker” to “HOC” because defendant marketed the device to physicians under the Stryker brand name. We also decline to change the title to add “taper lock” to the litigation caption or to limit the scope of the MDL only to recalled devices.
Few Plaintiffs in the pending lawsuits specifically cited “taper lock” as an issue, the panel wrote in its order. Instead, they allegedly experienced problems with corrosion and metal debris, according to the JPML, which will allow non-recalled hip implant devices to be included in the MDL.
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