July 18, 2013 — The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (JPML) issued an update (PDF) on July 10, 2013, which reported that the Biomet M2A Magnum Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation now involves 494 hip implant lawsuits.
The Biomet M2A Magnum is a metal-on-metal hip replacement. Plaintiffs’ claims focus on alleged defects of this design, including the propensity to shed toxic particles of metal ions, which can cause metal poisoning (metallosis) and premature failure of the implant.
The JPML established the litigation against Biomet under Judge Robert L. Miller in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. Lawyers are currently establishing protocol for pre-trial discovery proceedings and the selection of cases for bellwether trials.
The FDA has issued several warnings about metal-on-metal hip implants. Although the implants were intended to last longer than plastic and ceramic implants, studies have shown that they tend to fail earlier. This may be because the metal design introduces unique risks in addition to the risks of all hip implants.
The problem with metal-on-metal hip replacements is that the metal parts grind together whenever a patient moves. This can lead to corrosion, flaking, and chipping of tiny pieces of metal. Toxic metal debris in the body can cause pain, inflammation, swelling, soft-tissue growths, and metal poisoning.