Metal-on-metal implants have long been criticized for their early failure rates and dangerous side effects for thousands of patients. Both DePuy and Stryker—major manufacturers of metal hip implants—have faced thousands of lawsuits over products like the ABG II, the Rejuvenate, and other implant components.
However, Stryker may be facing another round of litigation over yet another product: the LFIT V40 Femoral Head. The LFIT is a metal ball attachment that can be used with a wide variety of total hip replacement stems. About 100,000 of them were sold and implanted between 2002 and 2011. Now, 6-15 years later, patients have come forward with stories of metal poisoning, inflammation, and bone fractures.
Six of these cases are currently being tried. However, due to the volume of LFIT V40s that have been sold in the last decade, experts estimate that thousands of litigants may come forward to sue the medical device manufacturer. In order to prepare for the high volume of complex cases, the Stryker lawsuits have been consolidated into a single MDL (multidistrict litigation).
Is an MDL the Same as a Class Action?
No, not at all. While both are legal formats that help consolidate several cases into a single form, they have vastly different outcomes for plaintiffs. Class action suits are a single case with multiple (often hundreds) of plaintiffs. A single judgment is handed down and the reward is divided among the plaintiffs (sometimes equally, sometimes in the form of a finite fund and a “first-come, first-serve” format).
A multidistrict litigation, however, still treats each case as unique, with its own plaintiffs, evidence, and reward. What will happen is that cases that involve the same issues will all be transferred to a single court for pretrial proceedings and discovery. The judge will determine if the case is valid and each case will proceed as normal. Consolidating into an MDL prevents the inconsistency that occurs when similar cases are tried in different courts around the country.
If you received an LFIT V40 implant from Stryker, call our firm as soon as possible. We can tell you if you have a case and provide you with legal guidance—and a chance for real justice.