A Massachusetts hip replacement patient has requested that the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) consolidate litigation against Stryker Orthopaedics over its defective LFIT V40 Anatomic Femoral Head devices, of which more than 100,000 units have been implanted into patients.
The new wave of litigation arises after Stryker Corporation issued an urgent medical device recall on August 29, 2016 related to the Stryker LFIT Anatomic CoCr V40 Femoral Head commonly used with the Stryker Accolade Hip replacement system as well as other models and brands of hip replacement products.
At the moment, six product liability actions over the LFIT device are pending in three jurisdictions, prosecuted by at least 10 different law firms. Plaintiff attorney Walter Kelley of Kelley Bernheim & Dolinsky LLC in Plymouth, MA, proposed that new MDL. No 2768 be located in federal court in Massachusetts before Judge Joseph L. Tauro, Judge Patti B. Saris, Judge Richard Saylor or Judge Indira Talwani.
The JPMDL has created MDLs in the court in Boston for litigation over GranuFlo/NaturaLyte, Zofran, Nexium, Neurontin, Celexa and Lexapro.
Stryker is already the target 1,800 lawsuits in MDL 2441, supervised by US District Judge Donovan W. Frank in Stryker Rejuvenate in ABG II Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation and in Stryker Trident Hip Implants New Jersy State Court.
The prosthetic hip used in a total hip arthroplasty, more commonly known as total hip replacement, generally consists of several components – a femoral stem, a femoral head or ball, and an acetabular cup with liner. The Stryker LFIT V 40 Anatomic Femoral Head represents one part of a hip prosthesis and can be used across many hip replacement femoral hip stems manufactured and marketed by Stryker.
Stryker explains in its marketing materials that the “LFIT Anatomic CoCr Femoral Heads are compatible with Accolade TMZF, Secur-Fit Max, Citation TMZF, Hipstar, and most commercially available Stryker femoral hip stems.”
During hip replacement surgery, the femoral head is impacted onto the taper, in this case a V 40 taper, where it is supposed to lock in place. The failure of that taper lock causes excessive movement between the femoral head and the stem and ultimately leads to product failure.
On August 29, 2016, Stryker sent an “Urgent Medical Device Recall Notification” letter to surgeons that implanted or reported problems with certain Stryker LFIT V40 femoral heads manufactured prior to 2011. The letter explained that Stryker had received a higher than expected number of complaints involving taper lock failure of the recalled femoral heads.
In the letter, Stryker outlined the failure of the Stryker LFIT V40 femoral head and enumerated the reported problems associated with the device:
- Dislocation of the femoral head from the hip stem
- Hip stem fractures
- Excessive metallic corrosion leading to cobalt and/ or chromium poisoning
- Insufficient range of motion
- Loss of implant/bone fixation strength
- Excessive wear debris
Simultaneously, the Canadian public health agency issued a recall concerning the Stryker LFIT V40 and the Australian Government Department of Health published a Hazard Alert regarding the same devices.
The plaintiffs contend that Stryker knew for years that the LFIT V 40 femoral heads were defective and dangerous but instead chose to downplay the risk of using such device and failed to properly warn the hundreds of physicians implanting these devices