According to Court documents, the judge overseeing all federally-filed Wright Conserve hip replacement lawsuits has scheduled pretrial motions as well as other proceedings leading up to the first bellwether hip implant trial involving the metal-on-metal replacement device, which is scheduled to begin in Atlanta on March 9, 2015.
If you or a loved one was fitted with Wright Conserve or other metal-on-metal hip implant and suffered complications, you may be able to pursue a claim against the manufacturer to hold the company responsible for your condition. Among the complications allegedly associated with metal-on-metal hip replacement devices are:
- Metal toxicity
- Severe pain
- Bone deterioration
- Implant dislocation
- Early device failure
Wright Conserve Complications
Currently, more than 400 product liability lawsuits have been filed against Wright Medical Technology in federal court. According to plaintiffs, the Wright Conserve Total Hip System, which features an all-metal design, caused adverse complications and early device failure within one to two years after the patient is fitted with the implant.
In February 2012, the Wright Conserve lawsuits were consolidated into a federal multidistrict litigation in the Northern District of George before U.S. District Judge William S. Duffey, Jr. Given the similar legal and factual allegations raised in the claims, the lawsuits have been centralized to avoid similar rulings from separate judges, to reduce duplicative discovery, and to make the legal process more efficient for witnesses, the parties, and the courts.
A final pretrial conference is scheduled for February 26, 2015, according to a scheduling order issued December 23, 2014, and the first bellwether hip implant trial will begin on March 9, 2015. The bellwether program in which a select number of cases are prepared for early hip implant trial dates help both parties to predict how future claims might be resolved if they proceed to trial, which can in some cases encourage the parties to settle and avoid the costs of additional trials.
While the outcome of the bellwether hip implant trials may not be the same verdict for other Wright Conserve claims, lawyers involved in the metal-on-metal hip implant litigation will be closely watching as they may prompt the manufacturers to settle claims and avoid the need to send the remaining hundreds of individual lawsuits to trial.
The lawsuits in the Wright Conserve hip implant litigation raise similar claims against the manufacturer, arguing that the metal-on-metal design of the system was unreasonably dangerous and defective and carried an increased risk of implant loosening that could ultimately cause the device to fail earlier than anticipated. Most of the claims allege that the device’s metal socket and ball bearings can rub together, generating metal debris, which can subsequently spread to and harm nearby healthy tissues and bones.
As a result of the allegedly defective design, individuals who were fitted with the Wright Conserve metal-on-metal hip implant may suffer debilitating lack of mobility, toxicity, metallosis, inflammation causing damage or death to surrounding bone and tissue, and unnecessary pain and suffering. Additionally, the complications may often result in the need for revision procedures to replace the implant, causing additional suffering, pain, an increased risk of complications, and a prolonged recovery time, according to the complaints.
Other Manufacturers Named as Defendants
Allegations of complications brought forth involving the Wright Conserve hip implant are not unique. In the past several years, out of an estimated 332,000 total hip replacements that are performed each year in the U.S., nearly one-third involved metal-on-metal hip implants, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recent studies indicate that these types of devices wear quickly due to the friction between the metal components, and while all-metal implants are intended to last for 15 years or longer, WebMD suggests that they have higher than average failure rates.
The complications caused by metal-on-metal hip implants may include metal toxicity, loosening of the implant, deterioration of bone, dislocation of the implant, severe pain that occurs with or without movement, inflammation and swelling at or around the site, resulting in the need for additional corrective hip surgeries. Additionally, should the metal components cause debris to accumulate in the blood stream, a condition called metallosis may develop and cause dangerous side effects such as infections, confusion, emotional issues, gastrointestinal system complications, nervous system complications, headaches, dizziness, and cobalt poisoning.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently investigating whether its 510(k) clearance process, the method by which all many metal-on-metal devices had been previously approved, is currently safe. According to critics, this particular approval process does not require medical device manufacturers to submit new products for clinical testing and trials so long as the companies can demonstrate that the metal-on-metal implants are similar in design and function to another product currently on the market.
Other manufacturers have also been named in lawsuits throughout the U.S. and are currently facing litigation as additional plaintiffs seek compensation for injuries and adverse side effects. These medical device manufacturers and the implants in question include:
- Stryker, Inc: APEX ARC, Rejuvenate, ABG II
- Biomet: M2a Magnum
- DePuy: ASR, Pinnacle
- Smith & Nephew: R3 Acetabular System
- Zimmer: Durom Cup
While some settlements have been reached between these manufacturers and plaintiffs, patients can still pursue a claim for compensation if they have a case and wish to be involved in a hip implant trial. Additionally, in some cases, patients may currently be living with a metal-on-metal hip implant and not yet developed any symptoms or signs of complications, so it is important that all metal-on-metal hip replacement device recipients remain aware and alert of the potentially adverse effects that could develop in the near future.
Can I Participate in Hip Implant Litigation?
At Attorney Group, we understand how difficult it can be when patients are fitted with devices intended to improve their quality of life only to be further injured instead. We can review your case with no obligation and at no out-of-pocket cost to help you determine whether you have a claim. If you do, you may be entitled to recover damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses such as additional surgeries, and any lost wages that may have resulted from your condition. Contact Attorney Group to learn more about whether you may be eligible to participate in a metal-on-metal hip implant litigation.