Attorneys from Florida, New York, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts and Minnesota collaborated to secure a settlement in lawsuits involving defective hip replacement devices manufactured by Kalamazoo, Michigan-based medical technology company Stryker.
The multistate legal team guided the settlement with Stryker for damages caused by the recalled LFIT Anatomic CoCr V40 Femoral Head. Their work helped resolve multidistrict litigation in Massachusetts and New Jersey.
According to the federal complaint filed in the District of Massachusetts, the devices used cobalt and titanium, described as “dissimilar metals.” Constant wear and tear between the two materials caused fretting and corrosion, producing “the release of toxic metal particles into the surrounding tissues of the hip” and bodily injury in its users, according to court documents.
“We started seeing our first cases maybe six, seven years ago,” said Joe Osborne, founder of Osborne & Francis Law Firm and a specialist in mass torts involving medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Osborne said he was asked to join the executive committee overseeing lawsuits over the faulty hip device due to his prior experience litigating against the defendant.
“I was on the steering committee for the Stryker Rejuvenate litigation and we had hundreds of cases against them,” he said. That 2014 litigation involved similar allegations over Stryker’s Rejuvenate modular-neck device, and resulted in the international medical device manufacturer compensating thousands of plaintiffs more than $1 billion.
Several of the attorneys involved in the Rejuvenate settlement also helped bring the LFIT V40-related lawsuits. In addition to Osborne, Peter J. Flowers of Chicago law firm Meyers & Flowers, Michael L. McGlamry of Georgia-based Pope McGlamry Kilpatrick Morrison & Norwood, and Ashleigh Raso of Meshbesher & Spence in Minnesota had all represented clients in prior suits against Stryker.
Joining them the most recent round of litigation against Stryker were: Massachusetts attorney Walter Kelley of Bernheim Dolinsky Kelley; Brenda S. Fulmer and C. Calvin Warriner III of West Palm Beach-based Searcy Denney Scarola; Pope McGlamry litigator M.J. Blakely; and Ellen Relkin with Weitz & Luxenberg’s New York office.
Although Osborne said the confidential settlement prevented him from disclosing the number of complaints consolidated in the multidistrict litigation, he said the settlement applies to “hundreds and hundreds” of cases filed across the U.S.
Osborne and the executive committee filed a petition with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to consolidate all LFIT V40 lawsuits against Stryker in the District of Massachusetts in April 2017. After the request had been granted, complaints filed in state court suits were consolidated as multicounty litigation in New Jersey Superior Court in Bergen County the following month, in May 2017.
A representative from Nutter McClennen & Fish, the Boston law firm retained by Stryker in the District of Massachusetts, declined to comment. The company’s media relations did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
Product liability attorneys Kim Catullo and Nora Wolf with Gibbons, who represented Stryker in New Jersey Superior Court, did not respond to requests for comment by press time.