Though numerous manufacturers have been implicated in ongoing litigation over hip implants, Stryker Corporation is among the most notable. Recalling its widely-used ABG II and Rejuvenate models in 2012, Stryker attempted to stem the growing tide of damage to its corporate reputation, though thousands of individuals were already suffering from the effects of its device failures and had initiated litigation.
Widespread Failures Alleged in Stryker Hip Lawsuits
Common allegations in Stryker hip lawsuits filed in recent years include claims that:
- The device maker failed to conduct thorough and accurate pre- and post-market testing of its hip implant products
- Hip devices were marketed by Stryker corporation as providing a universal and perfect match to the needs of younger patients, thus erroneously indicating to physicians that these products represented a certain superiority over other similar implants
- Stryker and its affiliates did not warn of known dangers that included metal poisoning and fragmentation in the Rejuvenate and ABG II hip replacement models
- Stryker and its marketing affiliates breached warranties, both express and implied to both patients and medical professionals
The metal toxicity at issue in Stryker’s recall of defective hip implants has the potential to cause serious harm to patients, including:
- Thyroid issues
- Decreased kidney function, including the likelihood of renal failure if left untreated
- Increased likelihood of visual problems, including the possibility of functional blindness
- Rashes and other dermatological complications
- Cognitive impairment, otherwise known better as confusion
- Cardiomyopathy, or abnormal changes to the patient’s heart muscles
Patients who received Stryker implants exhibiting the types of failures that have formed the basis of lawsuits have additionally reported experiencing symptoms such as pain in the hip region, noticeable swelling around the hip, grinding sounds emanating from the joint replacement, and finally, significant to complete loss of mobility.
2014 Stryker Hip Replacement Lawsuit and Settlement Agreement
In a major device litigation development, Stryker agreed in late 2014 to a settlement involving thousands of claims relating to both hip implant models. While the agreement called for Stryker to pay $1.43 billion to those harmed by its products, that figure is not subject to a cap and is likely to rise once anticipated future claims arise. The settlement agreement is designed to address cases in the existing multi-county litigation in New Jersey state court, as well as the federal multidistrict litigation situated in Minnesota. Specifically, the federal multi district litigation and settlement process for Stryker hip replacements covers any claims made by US residents from any state.
Plaintiff recoveries pursuant to the settlement will vary depending on the specifics of their injuries, the type of complications suffered, and whether the patient required multiple surgeries to address the effects of their device failures. The settlement is intended to compensate individuals who received hip replacement surgeries implanting Stryker hip replacement devices prior to 11/3/2014, with further claims expected to arise as these devices fail in additional patients over time.
Recourse for Other Victims of Stryker Hip Implant Failures
It is important for hip replacement patients to realize that the Stryker settlement agreement reached at the end of 2014 is not meant to apply to patients whose revision surgeries occur after November 3 of that year. That is not to say, however, that the flow of new claims from hip replacement patients has ebbed. If the company does not enter into additional agreements concerning settlement for uncounted plaintiffs in the pre-existing litigation cases, Stryker may find itself the subject of a new wave of litigation and trials.
Though the failure of a major medical device such as a hip implant is a devastating experience, the law provides victims the ability to seek compensation through the courts, something of which growing numbers of individuals have taken advantage. Plaintiffs in most Stryker hip lawsuits seek to recover damage amounts necessary to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and to provide compensation for the emotional and physical trauma resulting from their hip replacement experience. Many patients may also wish to obtain punitive damages, which are a viable legal claim, as a way to send a message to Stryker and other device manufacturers that this type of negligent hip replacement product manufacturing cannot be tolerated.