What happens when cases are consolidated into a multidistrict litigation?
On February 14, 2017, a Massachusetts plaintiff requested that the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) consolidate the rising number of Stryker V40 lawsuits into a singular multidistrict litigation (MDL). When a large number of people are injured in a similar way by the same product the creation of an MDL can serve as a way to expedite pretrial processes. Since cases are only consolidated for pretrial purposes, each claim is able to maintain its individual status. This means that if a settlement is reached, the amount of money each individual receives varies based upon the circumstances of their own case.
What prompted the request for consolidation?
The request for consolidation comes following an urgent medical device recall issued by Stryker on August 29, 2016, regarding its LFIT Anatomic CoCr V40 Femoral Heads manufactured before 2011. The V40 is one of many options for femoral heads used in modular hip replacement systems. It is often paired with other commercially available Stryker femoral stems including the Accolade TMZF, Secur-Fit Mas, Citation TMZF, and Hipstar.
What is the Stryker LFIT Anatomic CoCr V40 Femoral Head?
The LFIT V40 is made of heavy cobalt-chromium material and was designed to be larger in size than other femoral head products offered on the market. Unfortunately, the design of the LFIT V40 has resulted in higher than expected occurrences of taper lock failure. Stryker attributes the product failure to excessive movement between the femoral head and femoral stem. When this happens patients implanted with the LFIT V40 report experiencing:
- Loss of mobility
- Adverse local tissue reaction (ATLR)
- Joint instability
- Broken bones surrounding the hip components
- Need for revision surgery
Has the Stryker V40 been recalled outside of the United States?
Prior to Stryker issuing the recall in the United States, Health Canada and the Australian Government Department of Health issued hazard alerts for LFIT V40 CoCr Femoral Heads in 2016 citing similar complications. The United Kingdom’s medical device safety agency had also issued an urgent field safety notice to surgeons asking that internal inventory is checked for all LFIT V40 heads so they can be quarantined and returned to Stryker.
Cases continue to be filed across the country.
There are more than 15 product liability actions regarding the Stryker V40 pending in various federal courts across the country. Cases continued to be filed. Plaintiffs claim that Stryker knew about the potential dangers associated with the LFIT Anatomical CoCr V40 Femoral Heads but chose not to warn patients and physicians.
For more information continue to read our blog as the story progresses.