Title: Stryker Rejuvenate Lawsuits: A Look At The MDL Process
The news headlines have been filled with new developments in the Stryker hip recall litigation.This is only one of the unsafe medical devices or dangreous drugs that has been implicated in causing serious harm and even death. The DaVinci Robot is another issue and drug Avandia and vaginal mesh are just some of the others.
I try to keep up on the developments and gets these cases in the hands of the most knowledgeable of attorneys in these various defective drugs and dangerous device area of litigation.
Attempting to find out the latest, I spoke to attorney Jonathan Rosenfeld who is on the front lines handling these complex cases. Here, Jonathan addresses many of the issues people with Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II modular neck hip stems consistently encounter.
What is multi district litigation and why is it being implemented for Stryker lawsuits?
Multi district litigation (MDL) is a judicial tool designed to work when there are numerous claimants with similar complaints in various venues. The lawsuits are consolidated, so that they can be addressed and in one court and take advantage of judicial economy– theoretically reducing the time and expense that would be involved if the cases were to be litigated individually. An MDL is well suited for Stryker hip litigation because there are similarities amongst the individuals with respect to the hip prosethetic devices (Rejuvenate and ABG II) and the alleged side effects.
Upon the motion of several plaintiff’s with pending Federal Court cases against Stryker, the Judicial Panel on Multi District Litigation announced on June 12, 2013 that Judge Donovan W. Frank will be assigned many of the pending cases as well as upcoming Stryker hip recall cases. Judge Donovan will oversee the cases from his courtroom in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.
What benefits, if any, do you see with the newly created Stryker MDL?
One of the most obvious benefits to having a consolidated group of cases is the ‘economies of scale’ or reduced expenses necessary to litigate an individual case. As opposed to each plaintiff (injured party) seeking out their own expert witness, the consolidation allows them to share these costs and others. Considering the complexities of these cases, the number of experts will likely be extensive and expensive, by sharing the costs each plaintiff may realize more proceeds from their case.
From a litigation perspective, having cases centralized before one judge allows for consistency in evidentiary and scheduling. If these cases were to proceed though different court systems throughout the country, there inevitably be many different interpretations of the law by different judges. Ultimately, the splintering opinions would inhibit the litigation from proceeding as plaintiff’s would inevitably see which forums are making more favorable rulings. Similarly, the defense attorneys would likely attempt to get cases removed to venues which were favorable to their client.
As a lawyer who has both DePuy and Stryker hip recall lawsuits pending in MDL’s, I’ve been impressed with the thoughfulness of the judges and attorneys involved in these cases, and believe that there is a sense of unity and desire to adjudicate these cases in a timely manner. I very much doubt that the amount of progress we’ve made on the pending cases had it not been for the leadership of the members of the court.
So, the cases are consolidated, but remain individual?
I know it gets confusing. Yes, in general cases in an MDL are consolidated for purposes of discovery but remain individual for purposes of trial. The ability to have their day in court and be assessed individually is one of the more appealing aspects to an MDL for an injured consumer. Unlike a class action lawsuit, there is more of an individualized assessment of injuries. In this sense, a person with very significant damages or perhaps lost an extended period of work should be compensated accordingly in comparison to a person with more minor damages.
What are some of the common types of complications that patients with recalled Stryker hips experiencing?
It very much depends on the individual. Some patients begin to experience pain immediately after the procedure. Other people may initially have some success with their new hip implant device and then develop pain, ‘clicking’ noises or dislocation of the hip prosthetic after they begin to resume some of their daily activities following the surgery.
One of the most concerning types of medical complications associated with Stryker hips is metal poisoning– when the metals used in the device splinter off and become absorbed by the tissues of the body. In some patients, were seeing impacted tissue decay or develop some abnormal growths with necessitate removal. What’s most distressing about the metal poisoning cases is that there is relatively little known about the long-term implications with this group.
Is there treatment for a person with complications associated with an artificial hip?
Of course, each person’s physician can best address their needs and treatment options. That being said, a sizable percentage of patients with recalled Stryker hip devices, may need a hip revision surgery where the defective device is surgically removed. Because the problematic hip is removed before it’s anticipated life-span, surgeons may have to apply great force remove the hip and impacted tissue. Usually the recovery from a hip revision surgery is longer and more difficult than the initial procedure.
Publisher: Anthony Castelli Attorney. An accident and injury lawyer in Ohio with over 32 years experience in Personal injury. Call 1-800-447-6549 for a free consultation