Cobalt Chromium Toxicity

Stryker Litigation Update

Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants and Revision Surgery


Patients undergo hip replacement surgery in order to improve their quality of life. Hip replacement surgery is supposed to increase activity levels, improve range of motion, and ease pain and suffering. Unfortunately, after their index (initial) surgeries, individuals soon find their hip replacement is hindering rather than helping. This is often the case with metal-on-metal hip replacements.

Metal-on-metal hip systems such as the DePuy PinnacleDePuy ASRStryker Rejuvenate, Stryker ABG IIStryker AccoladeWright Pro Femur and Wright Conserve, have the highest failure rate compared to any other hip implant. Most individuals experience serious complications and subsequent failure with these implants. Complications from metal-on-metal hips include cobalt-chromium toxicity, metallosis, pseudotumors, infection, loosening and implant wear, joint stiffness, and fracture. These complications cause implant failure. Implant failure requires a second surgery, known as a revision surgery. A revision surgery requires removing the failed implant(s) and replacing with a new device.

Revision surgery is more complex and risky than the index surgery because it is more invasive. Therefore, the risk of complications is greater with a revision surgery than initial surgery. The implants are more likely to loosen, migrate, and fracture since the bone and hip joint are severely manipulated from the previous implant.

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?

October 2014 Stryker Litigation Update



Hi. This is Stuart Talley. Bill Kershaw and I are the attorneys responsible for the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II hip cases. We are providing an update on the litigation status currently pending in Minneapolis, Minnesota before Judge Donovan Frank.  Right now, there are about 4,000 cases filed and that number goes up every day. We receive phone calls from new people every day who are having problems with their Stryker hips. By the next update, there will probably be around 6,000 cases on file.

We have not had a status conference with the court for a couple of months. The next one is set for November 6, 2014. In the interim, there was a lot of paper work filed with the court on discovery issues. Discovery is the process where we get documents from the defendants; we take depositions of the defendants, their engineers, executives, salesmen. The idea is developing evidence we will need for trial.

One of the big battles brewing in this case involves documents. In this case, Stryker informed us they produced all their documents. To date, we received about 700,000 pages. It seems like a lot but in the context of cases like this, it’s really a drop in the bucket. In other hip cases we’ve handled, defendants typically produced anywhere from 20 to 60 million pages of documents.  We’ve looked at Stryker’s documents and discovered enormous gaps in email production. Email production is where you see most of the documents. There are generally millions of emails between engineers, between sales reps, where we find the best evidence for the case. We discovered certain key witnesses produced one email or none at all. From our standpoint, it appears documents were destroyed or simply not produced.

We are trying to get a deposition from a Stryker representative to find out what happened to all the documents. We also want to know if they were destroyed. And if so, is there a way to get them back. Sometimes, emails or deleted documents off a server can be retrieved from backup tapes. Companies often have servers with large amounts of data backed up on tapes. Those tapes are then stored in a separate, safe location apart from the facility with the servers. This ensures that if there is a disaster they can use the tapes to restore data. We hope there are the backup tapes on emails we can use to fill in the gaps.

Stryker does not want us to take that deposition, and filed a motion to quash the deposition. They asked the judge to prevent us asking questions regarding the documents and where they went. This issue will be decided on November 6. If it’s determined Stryker destroyed documents, and they destroyed documents knowing of an impending lawsuit (after the recall), it poses serious consequences for Stryker. If you can show the knowing destruction of evidence, judges have lots of remedies available to punish the party that destroyed the evidence. Judges can impose monetary sanctions, issue sanctions, or jury instruction sanctions. An issue sanction is when the judge has an issue deemed admitted by Stryker. For example, say there are key documents showing Stryker knew about the problems with the hip before it was put on the market. If we can’t prove this as a result of documents that were destroyed, the judge might enter an issue sanctioned so jurors are told at the trial Stryker knew there were problems with the hip before they put it on the market. With a jury instruction sanction, you can have the judge advise the jury that Stryker destroyed evidence in the case, and for purposes of deciding the case, they can assume there were documents that probably would have hurt Stryker down the road.

Stryker Litigation Update: August 2014


 

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

We had a status conference on August 21st. We addressed a number of issues at the status conference. Approximately four thousand cases are filed in various courts nationwide. We were meeting in the multi district litigation (MDL) in St. Paul, Minneapolis. There are two thousand cases pending in St. Paul, and we are currently engaging in discovery. We are taking depositions of corporate representatives on various scientific subjects, and electronic storage of information subjects which are central to the trials. We are also in the process of selecting Bellwether cases or test cases. A bellwether trial is a selection of representative sample of cases tried in front of a jury. Bellwether cases are normally demonstrative of matters which may arise in every injured party’s case. We are picking roughly twelve cases and they will go to trial next summer. Those cases will inform us how to handle many of the other cases pending since thousands of cases cannot be tried. The hope is these cases provide a blueprint how to resolve litigation later on. The Plaintiff’s Steering Committee believes it is critical we obtain discovery and understand what is happening with the cases before we settle.

The next status conference is September 22nd. We have reached an agreement with Stryker with respect to foreign entities to toll the statute of limitations for any claims against those entities so any claims those individuals have might have will be preserved going forward.

Ongoing Updates Regarding Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II Litigation


Attorneys at Kershaw, Cook & Talley are actively involved in the ongoing Stryker Rejuvenate and ABGII Hip Implant Products Liability litigation (Case No. 13-MD-2441) now pending in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. These cases are among more than 2,000 Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II cases occurring throughout the country. Kershaw, Cook & Talley recently launched a litigation update page in order to better advise their clients. The page contains a series of videos from partner, Stuart Talley, concerning the status of the litigation.

In the most recent video, Mr. Talley provides a description of what occurred during the court’s June status conference in Minneapolis. According to Mr. Talley, there are conflicting agendas between the parties. During the status conference,plaintiffs discussed how Stryker was still refusing to produce documents and failed to produce witnesses for deposition. These issues will most likely resolve through a series of motions to compel.

In Mr. Talley’s most recent video update, he provides a more detailed description of these discovery disputes along with his opinions on how the litigation is progressing and what is expected for the future.

Kershaw, Cook & Talley is a Sacramento-based firm representing individuals nationwide in defective medical device cases. The firm generates hundreds of millions of dollars in recoveries for their clients and the classes they represent. Individuals impacted by Stryker’s hip systems are entitled to compensation for wage losses, medical bills, and pain and suffering. For a free case evaluation, and more information about the status of the case, feel free to call Bill Kershaw or Stuart Talley directly at (888) 817-2527 or visit https://www.cobalt-chromium-toxicity.com.

MDL 13-2441: Transcript of Status Conference, June 12, 2014

Broadspire and Hip Recalls


Stryker and Depuy hip manufacturers employ Broadspire, a third party claims administrator, to deal with individuals filing claims concerning their recalled prosthetic hips. Broadspire essentially functions like an insurance claims adjustor. They obtain information confirming people are implanted with recalled Stryker and Depuy hips. Subsequently, they decide the “appropriate” compensation for individuals who accrued out of pocket expenses secondary to their recalled hips.

According to the Depuy website, Broadspire will “address recall-related patient out-of-pocket expenses, such as co-pays, deductible expenses, lost wages, and travel costs.” However, Broadspire does not provide compensation for pain and suffering, or other problems, as a result of revision surgeries for your hip. They will not pay any impending medical expenses or lost wages you will incur. Unfortunately, adverse effects associated with recalled hips frequently arise in the future. Individuals may exhibit signs and symptoms from these adverse effects and require revision surgery in years to come. Broadspire has no legal or monetary obligation related to your pain and suffering.

Stryker and Depuy have no obligation to pay for anything once the statute of limitations expires on your case. The statute of limitations requires individuals claiming an injury from a product file a lawsuit within a certain period of time. Depending on the state, this time period is approximately one to two years. In addition, determining when and how someone is injured is subject to interpretation. Stryker and Depuy may claim you suspected an injury from your hip when you first learned about the recall. These dates were August 2010 (Depuy ASR) and June 2012 (Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II). It is critical to file a lawsuit soon in order to protect yourself, and ensure you will receive medical compensation in the future.

Your health insurance company may partially cover your medical expenses. They have a right to reimbursement for your treatment regarding your injuries. If so, Broadspire does not reimburse the insurance company for any expenses they pay.  Hypothetically speaking, your insurance company pays $60,000 for your revision surgery. Broadspire pays you a $60,000 settlement. The health insurance company can collect the entire $60,000 settlement you receive from your Stryker or Depuy case, leaving you with nothing. This is something to consider before settling your case directly with Broadspire. We highly encourage consulting an attorney prior to dealing with Broadspire.

Broadspire works for the hip manufacturers. At Kershaw, Cook & Talley, we work on your behalf.

June 2014: Stryker Rejuvenate and AGB II Litigation 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 June 24, 2014, I appeared at a status conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The majority of the Stryker Rejuvenate cases are pending in Minnesota. Judge Donovan Frank manages the litigation and tried moving the trial forward to July 2015. Judge Frank addressed several issues at the status conference.

First, he wanted a current status on the number of filed cases. Presently, there are over 2,000 cases filed around the country in various jurisdictions.

He also wanted an update regarding discovery. There was a lot of discussion about discovery. The plaintiffs observe that Stryker is not cooperating with discovery and refusing to produce documents. One of the biggest problems concerned emails. There are thousands of documents produced in the case but very few emails. The plaintiffs’ attorneys discussed how Stryker employees, intimately involved with the design and development of the Rejuvenate hip for years, only produced approximately 100 emails when there should be thousands of emails. At this point in the litigation, the plaintiffs intend to do some discovery to find out what happened to these emails. Were they destroyed? Why were they destroyed? If they were destroyed, were they backed up anywhere? Often, you can retrieve destroyed emails from backup tapes. We are in the process of pursuing this course of action.

Another discussion concerned depositions. Plaintiffs are trying to get dates for depositions of Stryker employees. Stryker is not forthcoming in providing dates for depositions. Stryker is attempting to delay the proceedings in an effort to push out the July 2015 trial date. Judge Frank did not agree with this plan. We expect court orders to discontinue the delay in discovery and slow-play process.

Currently, there are no meaningful settlement discussions. Stryker disclosed they settled roughly 27 cases of the thousands filed. All those settlements are confidential. No one knows the specific amounts or details about the cases. Judge Frank appeared frustrated from this fact and wants an open settlement process. An open settlement process is typically the only way these cases are resolved.

If you have any questions, please contact us via the phone number on the screen or visit our website and send us an email.

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