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Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacement Lawyer & Lawsuits

Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacement Lawyer & Lawsuits

Metal-on-metal hip replacements have recently been associated with serious side effects, including a significantly higher rate of failure compared to other hip implants. The metal-on-metal design may also leak toxic chemicals intoc the body, increasing a person’s risk of metal poisoning and hip implant failure.

What You Can Do & How We Can Help

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting defective hip implant induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured by a metal-on-metal hip replacement, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Medical Device Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

UPDATE: $1 Billion Pinnacle Verdict Cut to $540M

In December 2016, a jury in Dallas, Texas has ordered DePuy Orthopedics to pay $1.04 billion to 6 people who needed surgery when their Pinnacle Ultamet metal-on-metal hip implant failed. Less than a month later, a federal judge cut it to $540 million.

What is the problem?

Since 1975, researchers have known that charged chromium ions are a carcinogen. Many types of metal-on-metal hip replacements are made of chromium-cobalt. When the metal parts of the hip implant grind together, they can shed toxic nano-particles of chromium and cobalt into the body. The metal debris forms an irritating residue around the implant, increasing the risk of inflammation, pain, pseudo-tumors, bone death, and other complications that may require revision surgery. Some particles are highly soluble, and can leech into the bloodstream.

Types of Metal Hip Implants

Some of the most popular metal-on-metal hip implants include:

FDA Safety Warnings

In January 2013, the FDA published a Safety Communication to warn that metal-on-metal hip implants can cause severe side effects in addition to the general risks of all hip implants. When the metal ball and cup slide against each other during walking or running, tiny particles of metal debris wear off and accumulate around the implant. This can damage bone and/or soft tissue. According to the FDA warning:

“Soft tissue damage may lead to pain, implant loosening, device failure and the need for revision surgery (a surgical procedure where the implant is removed and another is put in its place). Some of the metal ions released will enter the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body, where they may cause symptoms or illnesses elsewhere in the body (systemic reactions).”

Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant Side Effects

Side Effects in Other Areas of the Body

According to a January 2013 FDA communication titled “Concerns about Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants,” studies have linked metal hip implants to many serious complications in areas outside the hip. These reactions may be due to high levels of metals (particularly cobalt) circulating in a patient’s bloodstream. Potential risks include:

  • Cardiomyopathy (heart problems)
  • General hypersensitivity reaction (skin rash)
  • Neurological changes including sensory changes (auditory, or visual impairments)
  • Psychological status change (including depression or cognitive impairment)
  • Renal function impairment
  • Thyroid dysfunction (including neck discomfort, fatigue, weight gain or feeling cold)

Jury Awards $500 Million in DePuy Pinnacle Hip Trial

In March 2016, a jury in Dallas awarded $500 million to five people who were seriously injured by the DePuy Pinnacle hip implant with the Ultamet metal liner. It was the second “bellwether” trial out of more than 8,200 pending in federal court in Texas, with the first ending in a win for DePuy in October 2014. Attorneys argued that DePuy knew it was defective in 2001, but failed to withdraw it from the market for over a decade. In May 2013, DePuy withdrew the Ultamet and Complete liners for Pinnacle hip implants. 

DePuy ASR Linked to 37% 5-Year Failure Rate

Over 10,000 lawsuits have been filed by people who were injured by the DePuy ASR, a metal-on-metal hip implant that was pulled off the market in 2010 after being linked to a 12% failure-rat. An analysis conducted by DePuy in 2011 found that the actual failure-rate was nearly 37% within five years. Expert witnesses testified that the ASR failed DePuy’s own safety tests because it released 16-times more chromium and cobalt than the Pinnacle hip implant. Instead of re-designing the ASR, DePuy re-designed the test. Lawyers say DePuy knew about problems with the implant in 2008, but waited 2 years to issue a recall.

Stryker Recalls Rejuvenate and ABG II

In August 2012, Stryker has recalled two modular-neck hip implants, the Rejuvenate and ABG II. The products have a metal-on-metal component in the neck/stem junction, which is prone to corrosion, fretting, and shedding toxic particles of metal into a patient’s body. Over 3,000 lawsuits were centralized in a federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2441) under U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank. In November 2014, the company agreed to pay $1.4 billion to settle about 1,500 of the lawsuits.

Mixed Jury Verdicts in Hip Implant Litigation

The first big win was in March 2013, when a jury in Los Angeles state court awarded more than $8.3 million to Loren Kransky, the first plaintiff to see his ASR hip implant lawsuit go to trial. In February 2015, another ASR trial ended in a $2.5 million award by a jury in Oklahoma.

However, in December 2014, a jury in Illinois cleared Zimmer of wrongdoing in the first “bellwether” trial involving the Durom Cup, a metal-on-metal hip implant that was pulled off the market in 2008.

$240M Settlement in Wright Hip Implant Lawsuits

In November 2016, Wright Medical Technology reached a $240 million settlement to resolve about 2,000 lawsuits involving metal-on-metal hip implants. The largest payouts will go to 1,292 people who needed revision surgery within 8 years — up to $170,000 to people injured by the Conserve Cup, and $120,000 to people with the Dynasty or Lineage metal-liners.

Hip Implant Lawsuit Settlements

In February 2014, Biomet agreed to pay $56 million to settle over 1,000 Magnum M2A hip implant lawsuits, for a base payment of $200,000 per plaintiff. In November 2013, Johnson & Johnson offered a $4 billion settlement for 8,000 people who were injured by the ASR hip implant. One year later, the company settled another 1,000 lawsuits for $250 million. The settlement awarded a base payment of $250,000, plus additional payments for bilateral surgery, re-revisions or extraordinary injuries.

Experts Calling for Ban of Metal Hip Implants

In March 2012, a study published in the Lancet found that metal-on-metal hip implants were significantly more likely to fail compared to other models of hip implants. Though the use of metal-on-metal hip replacements has declined in Europe in recent years, these potentially dangerous medical devices are still common in the United States. British researchers looked at data from 400,000 people who had a hip replacement, of which 31,000 had a metal-on-metal design.

They found the following rates of failure:

  • 6.2% failure rate in metal-on-metal design
  • 2.3% failure rate in ceramic-on-ceramic design
  • 1.7% failure rate in metal-on-plastic design

The experts concluded that the metal-on-metal design had significantly higher risks, but no additional benefit. They are recommending that health authorities ban this dangerous medical device. Soon after the study was published, health officials in Australia recommended regular blood tests for everyone with a metal-on-metal hip implant. In November 2013, hospitals in the United Kingdom banned metal-on-metal hip replacements.

Do I Have a Hip Replacement Lawsuit?

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting defective hip implant induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured by a metal-on-metal hip replacement, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Defective Medical Device Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

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The Schmidt Firm, PLLC has been recognized as one of the nation’s leading plaintiffs’ law firms and handles cases in all 50 states. We are very proud of our legal achievements, but equally self-respecting of our firm’s reputation for providing personal attention to each and every client we represent.

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