Metal-on-metal implants have long been criticized for their early failure
rates and dangerous side effects for thousands of patients. Both DePuy
and Stryker—major manufacturers of metal hip implants—have
faced thousands of lawsuits over products like the ABG II, the Rejuvenate,
and other implant components.
However, Stryker may be facing
another round of litigation over yet another product: the LFIT V40 Femoral Head.
The LFIT is a metal ball attachment that can be used with a wide variety
of total hip replacement stems. About 100,000 of them were sold and implanted
between 2002 and 2011. Now, 6-15 years later, patients have come forward
with stories of metal poisoning, inflammation, and bone fractures.
Six of these cases are currently being tried. However, due to the volume
of LFIT V40s that have been sold in the last decade, experts estimate that
thousands of litigants may come forward to sue the medical device manufacturer. In order to prepare
for the high volume of complex cases, the Stryker lawsuits have been consolidated
into a single MDL (multidistrict litigation).
Is an MDL the Same as a Class Action?
No, not at all. While both are legal formats that help consolidate several
cases into a single form, they have vastly different outcomes for plaintiffs.
Class action suits are a single case with multiple (often hundreds) of
plaintiffs. A single judgment is handed down and the reward is divided
among the plaintiffs (sometimes equally, sometimes in the form of a finite
fund and a “first-come, first-serve” format).
A multidistrict litigation, however, still treats each case as unique,
with its own plaintiffs, evidence, and reward. What will happen is that
cases that involve the same issues will all be transferred to a single
court for pretrial proceedings and discovery. The judge will determine
if the case is valid and each case will proceed as normal. Consolidating
into an MDL prevents the inconsistency that occurs when similar cases
are tried in different courts around the country.
If you received an LFIT V40 implant from Stryker, call our firm as soon
as possible. We can tell you if you have a case and provide you with legal
guidance—and a chance for real justice.