Cobalt Chromium Toxicity

stryker hip recall litigation

March 2014 Stryker Hip Recall Litigation Update


Hi, I’m Stuart Talley with Kershaw|Talley.  I’m the partner here responsible for providing an update on the status of the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II hip litigation.  We are happy to report that the court has recently set several important deadlines that will begin moving this case forward at a fairly rapid pace. This is the latest update for March 2014 Stryker Hip Recall Litigation Update.

As previously reported, we have had a very difficult time getting Stryker to cooperate in discovery.  To date, they have only produced a small fraction of the documents we have requested and have not yet produced any witnesses for deposition.  At the same time, Stryker is repeatedly advising the court that it is settling cases in other jurisdictions.  It appears its strategy is to convince the judge that no discovery should take place in our case since all of the cases will eventually be settled through its “settlement program.” Entire blog →

Stryker Hip Recall: Cancer Study


Hi, I’m Stuart Talley with Kershaw, Cook & Talley. Bill Kershaw and I are the partners responsible for providing updates on the Stryker Rejuvenate and Stryker ABG II litigation case.

I am providing an update concerning recent developments about cobalt and chromium toxicity. The developments discuss whether or not high doses of the metals can cause or increase the risk of cancer. Recently, there was a scientific study issued from Finland. In the paper, the scientists examined individuals with metal on metal hips who had high cobalt and chromium levels. They compared these individuals with others implanted with metal-on-plastic hips. This specific research is ongoing since people continue to experience issues with metal on metal hips, and the release of cobalt and chromium ions from their hip joint.

So far, there are no studies suggesting a correlation between elevated levels of cobalt and chromium in the blood and an increased risk for cancer. However, this does not negate the fact that there may be a link; there is just no current evidence to substantiate a link.

In the Finland study, doctors analyzed 10,000 patients with metal on metal hips and compared them to 18,000 patients with conventional metal-on-plastic hips.  They found no statistical increase in the rate of cancer between the two groups from their previous study in 2012. Europe is making a conscious effort to monitor patients with metal on metal hips and metal-on-plastic hips in order to assess the risk of cancer. The link between metal on metal hips and an increased risk for cancer may become apparent in the future.

We represent hundreds of individuals with various metal on metal hips including Stryker Rejuvenate and Stryker ABG II. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us, toll free, at (916) 520-6639 or visit our website www.defectivehipsettlementcenter.com and fill out the contact form for a free evaluation.

Stryker Hip Recall Lawyer: Statue of Limitations


Hi, I’m Stuart Talley with Kershaw, Cook & Talley. Bill Kershaw and I are the partners responsible for the Stryker Rejuvenate and Stryker ABG II litigation cases. Today, I am providing information about the statute of limitations on some cases.

The statute of limitations is a very important issue concerning the litigation.  The Stryker Rejuvenate and Stryker ABG II hips were recalled in July 2012. Stryker can potentially argue the statute of limitations for their recalled hips begins to run on that date. In most states, the statute of limitations is two years. The statute of limitations could run on your case in July 2014; even if you haven’t undergone revision surgery or experienced any symptoms.

If you have a Stryker Rejuvenate or Stryker ABG II, get in touch with an attorney immediately to ensure your case gets on file or have an agreement with Stryker stopping the statute of limitations from running. We are currently discussing a tolling agreement with Stryker. A tolling agreement is an agreement with the defendant stating you don’t need to file a lawsuit and the statute of limitations will stop the day you enter the agreement.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call us, toll free, at (916) 520-6639 or visit our website at www.defectivehipsettlementcenter.com  and fill out the contact form for a free evaluation.

Stryker Hip Recall Attorney: Questions to ask your doctor


At Kershaw, Cook & Talley, we represent hundreds of individuals with defective hips. After reviewing thousands of medical records, and speaking with numerous orthopedic surgeons, we discovered alarming variations in the way orthopedic surgeons deal with patients implanted with Stryker Rejuvenate or ABGII hips. There are surgeons who are aggressive in their treatment and opt for revision surgery. Others, err on the side of caution and closely monitor their patients via repeat blood tests, XRAYS, and physical examination. In addition, many surgeons have little information on the most recent science regarding cobalt and chromium toxicity, and the impact these metals can have on your body.

For your convenience, we compiled a list of questions every Stryker patient should ask their surgeon. This ensures your clinician is taking the appropriate steps necessary for your treatment while aiding an understanding of his or her opinions with respect to your hip. We hope these questions are helpful. If you have any comments or concerns about your doctor’s answers to these questions, please feel free to contact us at (916) 520-6639 or by email at [email protected] and [email protected]

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR DOCTOR

  1. What is your understanding as to why the Rejuvenate or ABG II was recalled?
  2. What types of tests do you believe should be performed to make sure that metal ions from my Stryker hip are not causing tissue damage in my hip?
  3. What types of complications can result from tissue damage?
  4. What types of things do you look at when deciding to recommend revision surgery?
  5. Should I be getting a blood test to determine the amount of titanium in my blood, in addition to blood tests for cobalt and chromium?  Are there any known risks associated with titanium?
  6. How much cobalt and chromium in my blood is too much?  Do I have to be worried about any long term health issues such as cancer, thyroid disorders, or heart issues?
  7. What do the most recent studies say about the health impacts of having high levels of chromium and cobalt in my body?
  8. What is your understanding of the revision rates for the Stryker ABG II and Rejuvenate hips?
  9. If you think my hip is likely to fail in the future, is there any reason to wait until the metal ions have caused damage to my hip before having surgery?
  10. If I don’t have revision surgery, should I be getting my blood tested for cobalt and chromium on a regular basis?  If so, how often?
  11. If I don’t have revision surgery, should I be getting MRIs performed on a regular basis?  If so, how often?
  12. What are the risks of having revision surgery?
  13. What does revision surgery entail?  Will you be removing all of the hardware?
  14. How many revision surgeries have you personally performed where the stem had to be removed?  What is your complication rate with these surgeries?
  15. After revision surgery will the rehab be different than my first operation?
  16. Do I need to be more concerned about fracturing my femur during rehab since you are replacing the stem?
  17. In what percentage of the revision surgeries performed by you, were you able to remove the stem without fracturing the femur?
  18. What type of hip would you use to replace the Stryker Rejuvenate or ABG II?
  19. How long is the recovery period expected to be after revision surgery?

Stryker Hip Recall Lawyer: Does the Doctor need to be named in the Lawsuit


Hi, I’m Stuart Talley with Kershaw, Cook & Talley. Bill Kershaw and I are the partners responsible for the Stryker Rejuvenate and Stryker ABG II litigation cases.

Today, I am answering a frequently asked question concerning whether or not you need to sue your doctor. The answer is no. Your doctor does not need to be named in the lawsuit. We highly recommend against naming your doctor in any of these cases; we have not named a doctor in any of our hundred cases.

The primary reason is that the doctor is not at fault. The Stryker Rejuvenate and Stryker ABG II were provided to the doctor under the false pretense that the hips were not defective. Both the doctors and patients are innocent victims. Another reason is the doctor is often a very important witness in these cases. You want the doctor to provide positive testimony and be on your side. You would only want to name the doctor in rare circumstances. The goal is to hold Stryker responsible since they are at fault.

If you have a Stryker Rejuvenate and Stryker ABG II, please call us, toll free, at (916) 520-6639 or visit our website at www.defectivehipsettlementcenter.com  and fill out the contact form for a free evaluation.

February 2014: Stryker Hip Recall Litigation Hearing Update


Hi, I’m Stuart Talley with Kershaw, Cook & Talley. Bill Kershaw and I are the partners responsible for providing a status update on the Stryker Rejuvenate and Stryker ABG II litigation case.

On February 20, 2014, the court in the Stryker Rejuvenate MDL held a status conference to discuss the status of the litigation. It was reported to the court that there are now more than 1,500 individual Stryker lawsuits that have been filed throughout the United States.  Judge Donavan Frank, the judge assigned to hear these cases, reported that he had reached out to several state court judges who are presiding over cases in other jurisdictions to discuss coordinating their efforts to ensure that the cases are litigated as efficiently as possible.

The second issue that was brought up at the hearing involved a discussion of efforts at settlement.  Stryker reported to Judge Frank that in New Jersey it had successfully reached settlement agreements in 9 cases.  However, because the settlements are ”confidential” the amounts of the settlement are unknown and the facts underlying each plaintiffs’ case are unknown.  Judge Frank reported that he would be sending a magistrate judge to New Jersey to meet with the mediators who helped settle the 9 cases. The purpose of this order is to examine whether it’s possible that a global settlement program could be put in place with respect to all the pending cases.

At this point, plaintiff’s counsel advised the court that they were very concerned that Stryker was using the prospects of settlement as a means of delaying the progression of the litigation. Specifically, it was reported that Stryker had only produced a small fraction of the several million pages of documents that have been requested by the plaintiffs and has refused to provide any timeline or dates for the depositions of Stryker employees and executives.  The plaintiffs are very concerned that Stryker is trying to ram through a settlement before the plaintiffs are able to fully discover the facts which led to the eventual recall of the Stryker Rejuvenate hips.  Judge Frank advised the parties to meet and confer on the discovery issues and then bring any unresolved issues to the magistrate’s attention before the next status conference.

The next status conference in the case is set for March 20, 2014.  We will be providing an update after this conference.

If you have a Stryker hip and you want more information about the litigation, how it’s progressing, or you need a legal advisor to evaluate your case, feel free to give us a call. You can reach us at (916) 520-6639 or through our website at www.defectivehipsettlementcenter.com

 

VIDEO: HOW TO SETTLE A STRYKER REJUVENATE OR ABG II CASE WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY


Recently, we received several phone calls from individuals who do not have legal representation. They informed us that Stryker, through its third party administrator Broadspire, is attempting to settle claims arising from the Stryker Rejuvenate or ABG II recall. The settlement process is extremely complicated and full of pot holes.   Therefore, we highly recommend you do not settle your case without a lawyer.  However, if you decide to go this route, there is a lot you need to know.

Understand That Any Settlement With Stryker Will Be Final

In order to settle your case, Stryker will insist that you sign a “release.”  A “release” is a formal legal document where you agree to give up all of your rights to sue Stryker for any issues related to your failed hip.  It is important to understand that the release will extinguish all your rights; including claims that may arise in the future.  For example, if you recently had revision surgery and settle your case and then 6 months from now your revised hip becomes infected, you will have no right to obtain reimbursement.  All additional Settlements are final.

This is especially important to know if you recently had revision surgery.  You do not want to settle your case until you are fairly confident you have fully recovered from your surgery.  This way, you will know the full extent of your damages.  However, as noted below, it is critical not to delay too long as this could impact your statute of limitations.

Watch Out for Medicare or Insurance Liens

If you had revision surgery and Medicare or private health insurance paid for any part of your surgery, they will have a “lien” on your case.  What this means is that they are entitled to part of your settlement reimbursement for all amounts they paid for your revision surgery and subsequent treatment.  In some cases, they can also make claims for future expenses they are likely to incur for your treatment down the road.  If you settle your case and do not pay these insurance/Medicare liens, you will be personally liable for the amount of those liens.   In many cases, these liens can exceed several hundred thousand dollars!

For example, if you settle your case with Stryker for $225,000 and it turns out that Medicare paid $300,000 for your revision surgery and subsequent treatment, you could be personally liable to Medicare for the entire $225,000.  This means that you would end up receiving nothing from your settlement.

Therefore, before reaching any settlement with Stryker it is important to contact Medicare or your insurance carrier to find out how much they are claiming on their lien.  This is the only way you will be able to adequately evaluate Stryker’s settlement proposal.  Also, once you find out how much your insurance carrier is claiming, it is often possible to negotiate a substantial reduction.  Once you agree on a lien amount, it is critical that you obtain something in writing from Medicare or your insurance carrier confirming the amount they are willing to accept to resolve the lien.  It is critical that you do all of this before settling your claim with Stryker.

Be Aware of the Statute of Limitations

Every state has a statute of limitations that requires you to file a lawsuit within a certain period of time.  In some states that time period is as little as one year.  Unfortunately, the time your statute “starts to run” can be very complicated to pinpoint.  In some states, it could start running from the date your hip was first installed. While in others, it will not start running until you were advised that your hip was recalled.

However,  if you wait too long to settle your case with Stryker or negotiations become extended, it is possible that the statute of limitations could run on your case.  Once the statute runs, all of your claims will be extinguished and Stryker has no obligation to pay you anything.  Do NOT take solace in that fact that a deal with Stryker “is in the works.”  You do not have a deal until a signed settlement agreement from Stryker is in your possession.

How Much Should I Settle My Case For?

This question is extremely difficult to answer.  There are  many factors evaluating the settlement value of a Stryker Rejuvenate case: your age, the amount of tissue damage caused by the hip, the extent of any complications following revision, whether you have any permanent disabilities resulting from the revision, and the extent of any lost earnings.  In other hip litigation, settlement values have ranged from $20,000 to more than a $1,000,000.  The primary reason we recommend not settling your own case is that you do NOT know what your case is worth.  An experienced attorney in hip litigation will know the value of your case and have an idea how much Stryker is willing to pay to settle your case.  Without the knowledge of an attorney, most people will undoubtedly “leave money on the table.”  We expect Stryker to negotiate settlements with unrepresented patients.

AN ATTORNEY, NOT STRYKER, WILL LOOK OUT FOR YOUR BEST INTEREST.

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