March 7, 2017
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) will hear plaintiffs’ motions to consolidate Stryker LFIT V40 lawsuits, according to a JPML Notice of Hearing Session. Howmedica Osteonics Corp., had filed an opposition to the motion to consolidate but plaintiffs argued that their claims regarding the Stryker LFIT V40 femoral head are similar enough that they should be consolidated for pretrial proceedings.
Plaintiffs File Motion for Consolidation of LFIT Lawsuits
In January 2017, plaintiffs who were involved in Stryker LFIT litigation filed a motion to consolidate the lawsuits for pretrial proceedings. Those lawsuits were filed after patients reportedly had their LFIT V40 femoral head devices fail, resulting in severe pain and hip weakness, and often require patients to endure revision surgery to take out the failed hip component.
In August 2016, U.S. healthcare professionals were notified about “higher than expected complaints of taper lock failure” linked to specific LFIT V40 units. The same month, Health Canada announced a Type II LFIT V40 recall due to taper lock failure.
Patients who experienced failure of their LFIT V40 femoral head then filed lawsuits alleging they were not warned about the risk of complications linked to the hip replacement device components. Shortly thereafter, a motion to consolidate the lawsuits for pretrial proceedings was also filed.
Howmedica Opposes Motion for Consolidation
On February 3, 2017, Homedica Osteonics Corp., opposed the motion to consolidate and transfer LFIT V40 lawsuits arguing the motion was premature because only a small number of lawsuits have currently been filed and because the LFIT V40 femoral heads are used in various hip replacement systems, meaning there are unique facts to each lawsuit.
“Plaintiff cannot meet the heavy burden to demonstrate that transfer of a small number of individual actions involving a myriad of different products, circumstances, and injuries into an MDL is appropriate,” Howmedica wrote in the memorandum.
The company went on to argue that each plaintiff would have to undergo an evaluation to determine how the LFIT femoral head relates to the specific product line implanted in the patient, as well as the materials and injuries caused. It’s opposition memorandum, however, did note that the company was aware of complaints about taper lock failure.
“As part of its ongoing post-marketing surveillance, [Howmedica] received a higher than expected incidence of complaints describing harm secondary to failure of the femoral head to fully lock onto the stem at the stem-head taper junction, i.e., ‘taper lock failure,’ for specific lots of certain catalog numbers of LFIT femoral heads manufactured before March 4, 2011,” Howmedica wrote. “This can result in the head dissociating from the stem.”
Following the August medical device notification, Howmedica sent an updated recall notification on October 11, 2016, and a product correction on November 9, 2016. In all, the company noted, seven of its versions of the LFIT were affected by the voluntary recall.
Judicial Panel to Hear Arguments Regarding Consolidation
On February 14, 2017, the JPML issued its Notice of Hearing Session for March 30, 2017, in Phoenix, Arizona, at which it will hear oral arguments regarding consolidation of the LFIT V40 lawsuits.
The proposed MDL is In Re: Stryker Orthopaedics LFIT V40 Femoral Head Product Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2768. In its opposition to the consolidation of lawsuits, Howmedica argued that Stryker is not the proper defendant to the lawsuit and the caption of the MDL should be “HOC [Howmedica Osteonics Corp] LFIT V40 Taper Lock Litigation.” The JPML Notice of Hearing Session, however, still refers to the MDL with Stryker as the defendant.
LFIT V40 Lawsuit
Taper lock failure and hip implant recall can be devastating for patients who have had hip replacement devices implanted. Read our LFIT V40 FAQ for more information about taper lock failure and concerns linked to hip implant devices.