Thousands of lawsuits have been filed over Stryker’s Rejuvenate hip implant system since the device was recalled, along with the ABG II, in July 2012. The metal-on-metal hip systems were leading to complications, including early failure and revision surgery, in a number of patients. The flawed design, lawsuits allege, causes metal particles to be released into the body when the surfaces of the implant rub together. Now, eight Stryker Rejuvenate lawsuits have been settled in Bergen County Court.
Close to 1,500 Rejuvenate lawsuits have been filed across the country, with more than half filed into a multi-county litigation (MCL) in the Bergen County court under the Honorable Brian Martinotti. Judge Martinotti ordered a mediation process involving 10 cases, although one was delayed. Out of the remaining nine cases, eight have now been settled.
In an MCL, each lawsuit gets reviewed on its own, although all cases are looked at by the same judge and follow a shared discovery process. This differs from a class action lawsuit, where many plaintiffs are making the same claim against a party.
Outside of the New Jersey litigation, nearly 600 Rejuvenate lawsuits have been consolidated in federal court as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL) before the Honorable Donovan Frank in the District of Minnesota. There might be a mediation process for these lawsuits as well, depending on whether or not more cases are settled in the second round of mediation in New Jersey. If not, bellwether cases will likely be selected in order to help determine how the rest of the litigation will play out.
Patients with the recalled metal hip systems may experience pain, inflammation, infection, damage to muscle, bone and nerves, squeaking and popping sounds and impaired mobility. These complications may eventually lead to early failure, forcing the patient to undergo a second surgery, known as a revision surgery. Even though hip replacements are typically expected to last 15 to 20 years, some patients have had to replace their devices in as little as two years.
Metal-on-metal hip implants as a whole have raised a number of safety concerns, especially after Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy unit globally recalled its ASR metal hip systems in 2010. The devices were originally thought to be more durable than the traditional metal-on-plastic systems, but as it turns out, this is not the case. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned that metal-on-metal hip implants have additional risks compared to traditional metal-on-plastic implants, and advised measures such as imaging, metal ion testing and physical follow-ups for these patients.