Litigation over the Biomet hip replacements has resolved in a global settlement. The result is a plan for several-hundred plaintiffs to receive a base award of $200,000 for each hip they have had replaced, according to court papers filed in federal court Monday.
The settlement agreement could cover both state-court and federal court claims. As of Jan. 15, there were 953 cases in which plaintiffs allege they were injured by Biomet’s M2a metal-on-metal hip replacement systems because the design allows microscopic shavings of metal to be released into their bodies and increases the risk of the implants failing. The cases are pending in the Multidistrict Litigation in the Northern District of Indiana.
If every federal case resulted in the base settlement, Biomet would be on the hook for over $190 million. But there are at least 237 federal cases in which no revisionary surgery has taken place, and the parties have agreed that those cases will be dismissed unless surgeries occur or there are other special circumstances.
Moreover, there will be discounts of various amounts for hip replacements made more recently in time and for other reasons. And not all of the cases will definitely result in payouts. The final settlement will be subject to court approval, and the number of cases that will actually result in payouts has to be resolved during the settlement administration process.
If there are cases in which the plaintiffs’ counsel think enhanced compensation is owed or cases in which Biomet thinks there are other explanations for the premature failure of a hip replacement because of trauma, infection or other “objective explanations,” both sides have agreed to firm-by-firm mediations with Thomas Rutter of ADR Solutions in Philadelphia.
The settlement won’t be effective unless 90 percent of “standard” claimants participate and unless 67 percent of claimants whose cases go to mediation participate.
Thomas R. Anapol, of Anapol Schwartz in Philadelphia, and W. Mark Lanier, of Lanier Law Firm in Houston, are the lead counsel of the plaintiffs’ executive committee.
Anapol said settlement is always in the best interests of both sides. For the plaintiffs, the failure rate for Biomet metal-on-metal implants is not as high as in other hip replacement systems, he said. For the defendant, “Biomet recognized they have some issues with this and they want to be done with this,” he said.
Lead attorneys for Biomet include John D. Winter, of Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler in New York, and John D. LaDue, of LaDue Curran & Kuehn in South Bend, Ind.
Biomet said in a press release it is “pleased to have reached this settlement and have the MDL resolved. Biomet appreciates the guidance provided by Judge [Robert L.] Miller [Jr.] to bring this litigation to an expeditious and efficient resolution.”