Cobalt Chromium Toxicity

Lawsuit updates for metal on metal hips


Hip implants are touted as life-changing medical advancements designed to improve an individual’s quality of life. Unfortunately, in some cases patients suffer more pain and discomfort than expected from the devices. This is due to toxic poisoning from defective, metal on metal implants. It is commonly a result of Cobalt Chromium Toxicity. Thousands of hip replacement patients are discovering their hip implants are releasing cobalt and chromium particles into their bodies, whether or not they have symptoms.

The primary hips associated with this complication include Stryker Accolade, Stryker Rejuvenate, Stryker ABG II, DePuy Pinnacle, DePuy ASR,  and Biomet M2A Magnum.

Settlements continue for the following metal on metal hips:

Stryker

Stryker Orthopaedics announced a Settlement Agreement on November 3, 2014. The Stryker Hip Settlement Program may provide compensation to eligible patients who underwent revision surgery, replacing their ABG II Modular Neck Hip Stems and/or Rejuvenate Modular Neck, before November 3, 2014. Additionally, patients who cannot undergo revision surgery are possibly entitled to compensation; if the procedure was contraindicated for the patient prior to November 3, 2014.

The Stryker Modular Hip Settlement registration requires patients implanted with a Rejuvenate Modular hip or an ABG II Modular hip to submit basic information, pursuant to a court order. The court-ordered process applies to individuals regardless of whether they filed a claim or lawsuit, whether or not they underwent a qualified revision surgery (implant was removed before November 3, 2014), and whether or not they have legal representation. The registration process ended as of December 19, 2014.

You are not required to join the Settlement Program if you registered. However, if you intend on enrolling and participating in the Settlement Program, registering with the Claims Processor is not the same as enrolling in the Settlement Program. You will need to complete and submit an enrollment claim form as part of the separate Enrollment Process if you want to enroll in the Settlement Program. The Enrollment Process opens on January 16, 2015 and ends on March 2, 2015.

http://strykermodularhipsettlement.com/

DePuy

DePuy Orthopedics announced on November 19, 2013 they were initiating a voluntary settlement program in an effort to resolve approximately 8,000 lawsuits filed against them from the recall of their DePuy ASR prosthetic hip. Under the program, individuals who underwent revision surgery of their DePuy ASR hip prior to August 31, 2013 will receive a “base award” of $250,000 to settle their claims against DePuy. The base offer can adjust downward for a variety of health factors including the plaintiff’s age,  the plaintiff’s smoking history, the plaintiff’s weight, and the length of time the implant was present prior to removal.

Under the program, there is a separate fund available to provide adjustments upward for individuals who underwent two revision surgeries or complications following their revision surgery.  The extent of upward adjustments is extremely complicated and is based on a variety of individual factors.

The settlement does not impact or affect your rights if you have not had your ASR hip revised.  The unrevised cases will continue to go forward. Eligible individuals had until Sept. 30, 2014 to potentially claim $250,000 or more from the DePuy ASR Hip Settlement Program.

https://www.usasrhipsettlement.com/

Wright Profemur and Conserve Plus

On September 15, 2014, approximately 800 claims regarding the Conserve hips were filed against Wright Medical Technology Inc. in the ongoing multidistrict litigation (MDL) in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia (In re: Wright Medical Technology, Inc., Conserve Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2329). As trial proceeds, filings continue to grow on behalf of individuals who suffered painful injuries associated with the Conserve hips as well as the Profemur hip replacements. The injuries sustained from the Conserve metal-on-metal hips include early device failure, femoral neck fractures, and metallosis.

The Wright Profemur and Conserve Plus hip lawsuits allege the hips caused serious complications as a result of elevated levels of metal ions, like cobalt and chromium, released from the hips.Currently, the court has selected a case for the litigation’s first bellwether trial scheduled for March 2015.

Recent studies demonstrate patients implanted with the Wright Profemur and Conserve Plus hip replacement systems often experience early failure and femoral neck fractures. Specifically, both these devices are “metal on metal” hips and recently the subject of much controversy. Under certain conditions, metal on metal hips can release metal particles into the hip joint and surrounding tissue. When this occurs, patients may experience significant pain in the hip joint resulting from the body’s reaction to the metal particles released into the hip. This condition is known as “metallosis” and often results in permanent damage to the hip joint.

Biomet

Approximately 2,000 cases are currently pending in the Biomet M2A Magnum Multidistrict Litgation (MDL) underway in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. On December 9th, court documents showed the cases were filed on behalf on claimants who allege complications such as metallosis, pseudotumors, and other adverse effects secondary to the metal on metal design of the implant.

The court granted approval for a proposed settlement of the Biomet M2A Magnum lawsuits at the start of the year. The settlement would resolve hundreds of cases if finalized. The settlement terms were announced on February 3, 2014. Under the settlement, if plaintiffs underwent revision surgery (removing the hip) after the Biomet was implanted for more than 180 days from the index (initial) surgery, they are potentially entitled to a base award of $200,000. Court documents indicate the Biomet settlement would need to be accepted by 90% of eligible plaintiffs in order to be accepted.

http://www.innd.uscourts.gov/millermdl2391.asp

Our attorneys have extensive experience litigating defective hip cases. We can answer any questions regarding these settlements and offer free case consultations. We will focus on your case, so you can focus on yourself. 

How Settlements Work in Defective Hip Litigation


Hi, this is Stuart Talley of Kershaw, Cook & Talley. I am the partner here responsible for the defective hip litigation. The reason I am doing this video today is to provide some information about the settlement of hip cases. Many people are calling us asking how hip cases will typically settle. Although it is difficult to provide specifics in any given case, there are some general guidelines I think most people can be aware of that apply in cases like this.

Settlements in hip cases are unique. Typically, there are thousands of cases pending. In the DePuy ASR litigation, there are approximately 14,000 cases. In the Stryker Rejuvenate litigation, there are about 6,000 cases pending. So, when you settle cases like this on a global basis, it is a lot different than settling an individual lawsuit. In these cases, the defendant and plaintiffs will have settlement discussions and try to agree on what the average case should settle for. Once you have that number, you can extrapolate a settlement fund; $2.4 billion was put into a settlement fund in the DePuy ASR litigation. Then, you have to figure out an easy, quick, and verifiable way to apportion the settlement proceeds to people who have a case.

Generally, there is a “formula”, grid, or some process created, where people with severe damages end up with more money than people with limited damages. The formula is also used regarding people with problematic cases that may be difficult to win because of prior health conditions, or other factors, versus cases where someone doesn’t have those issues. So, you have a formula or grid, and you might start off with a certain amount of money that a plaintiff receives if they had a revision surgery. Then you would take a deduction of a certain percentage if they were a smoker, or a deduction if they have weight issues, or there might be a deduction if they’re older patients. There are different deductions that may be rational based on what the defendants believe make a good case or a bad case, and others may not be rational. Typically, there is some kind of formula that’s created to either bring somebody down from the base award, or up from the base award.

Modifications that increase base award are usually for extraordinary injuries. For instance, say you had your hip replaced and 3 months later you are up and running, and have no residual, permanent injuries; you would get the base award. Whereas, you might get more than the base award if you ended up with dislocations after your revision, or you had an infection and had to have 2 more surgeries, or you end up with nerve damage and have a limp or drop foot for the rest of your life.

The most important thing to understand is that you do not have to take the settlements in these cases; these settlements are not done deals. The case is an individual for every person who has a case against a hip manufacturer. This means only the plaintiff can settle the case. So, if there is a settlement fund, a way of apportioning money, at some point your lawyer is going to contact you and say, “If you take this settlement, here is how much you will get.” At that point, you are free to either take or reject the settlement. But you are not required to accept a settlement that’s offered to you. If you reject the settlement, then your lawyer will continue litigating your case, and hopefully get a trial date in your case, or do something to move your case forward. So, defendants will hopefully pay more than what you might be awarded under a global settlement.

If you have a recalled or defective hip, a metal on metal hip, give us a call toll free at (888) 817-2527 whether or not your case is settled. We can provide you with information about how settlements work. We can also tell you at the end of the case whether we believe a settlement is adequate or not for you.

Hip Surgery: The Importance of Doctor-Patient Communication


An open and honest dialogue with your doctor before surgery contributes to better outcomes. This means providing your physician with a comprehensive medical, surgical, and social history. This also ensures the doctor gives you the best care in creating a plan that fits your specific needs. Before any surgery, it is essential to voice any questions or concerns you might have.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) created a list of questions which may help in discussions with your doctor:

  • What are your experiences with specific hip implant devices and how often do you use one over the other?
  • What are the risks and benefits of different devices (metal-on-metal, metal-on-polyethylene, ceramic-on-polyethylene, and ceramic-on-ceramic devices)?
  • If applicable, what is the surgeon’s personal experience and outcomes with the respective devices?
  • If your surgeon recommends a certain device, ask why that hip implant is the best for your situation.
  • What are the major and/or most frequent complications of surgery?
  • Is the skill and experience of the orthopaedic surgeon more important than the device or procedure?
  • Can you give me any information on outcomes and complication rates?
  • If I do not have surgery, what is the risk?
  • How much pain can I expect, and how will it be managed in the hospital and after I go home?
  • How long will the device last, and what can I do to make it last as long as possible?
  • What are the pros and cons of minimally invasive (mini-incision) surgery? Does it really make a meaningful difference in the result, or does it pose unnecessary risks?
  • What will I be able to do/not do after my total joint replacement?
  • Is therapy necessary after surgery?
  • How long will I be in the hospital?
  • Will I be able to contact you after the surgery if I have a question or problem?

What if you do not have a recalled hip?


What if you do not have a recalled hip?

Over the past 6 years, medical device manufacturers have been flooded with lawsuits involving defective prosthetic hips.  Some of these lawsuits involve hips that have been recalled, such as the DePuy ASR and Stryker Rejuvenate.  However, there are many other cases involving hips that have not yet been recalled.  These other, less publicized cases, involve what are commonly referred to as metal on metal hips.  These are prosthetic hips that do not have a plastic liner in the cup, but instead, have metal cups that rub directly on a metal ball.  Although, at one point, these hips accounted for nearly 1/3 of all hip replacements used in the United States, today they are no longer being used at all.

do you have a recalled hip

The reason for this is that doctors have discovered that as these metal on metal hips shed metal particles (cobalt and chromium) into the patients who have them.  These particles cause, pain, pseudotumors, and irreversible soft tissue damage in the hips of patients who have them.  As a result, many cases are being filed on behalf of anyone who has a metal on metal hip; regardless of whether the hip has been recalled.

The manufacturers of metal on metal hips that are the subject of significant litigation include:

Wright Medical

DePuy

Biomet

If you have any kind of metal on metal hip, even if it’s not a “recalled hip” you should contact an attorney right away.  At Kershaw, Cook & Talley we represent hundreds of individuals with non-recalled hips in litigation throughout the country and are happy to provide a free consultation

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