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JPML Hears Arguments on Consolidation of Biomet M2A Magnum Lawsuits

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Will federal lawsuits concerning the Biomet M2A Magnum hip implant be consolidated into one court? The outcome of a hearing before the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on September 20, 2012 may reveal the answer.

At least 40 Biomet lawsuits have been filed in federal courts around the country. Plaintiffs allege that the M2A Magnum causes metal poisoning and premature loosening, which lead to complicated revision surgeries. On June 27, 2012, plaintiffs Leyda Ching and Diane Winningham brought a motion to transfer all Biomet M2A Magnum hip implant lawsuits to the Northern District of California or the Southern District of New York.

Biomet, opposes centralization and feels the cases are too different from one another to benefit from coordinated proceedings.

Those Seeking Consolidation Note Similarities

On September 20, the JPML heard arguments on both sides of the issue. Plaintiffs advocating for centralization presented evidence of similar cases which were consolidated, such as litigation involving the DePuy ASR hip implant, the DePuy Pinnacle hip implant, and the Zimmer Durom Cup.

The Biomet M2A Magnum, the Zimer Durom Cup, and Depuy Pinnacle and ASR are all metal-on-metal implants with a metal ball inserted into a metal cup. Each has been linked to serious complications caused by the metal components rubbing against one another. Friction between metal components results in shards of cobalt and chromium coming off the implant and enterring the bloodstream. Metal contamination from cobalt and chromium can cause premature loosening of the implant, tissue damage, bone loss, pseudotumors, pain, and instability that leads to required revision surgery.

In 2011, the Australian National Joint Registry reported that patients implanted with the Biomet M2A Magnum had an unacceptably high yearly revision rate of 7.2 percent.

Those Opposed Note Differences

In opposing centralization, Biomet noted that the components implanted in patients are often different from one another. Different M2A Magnum sizes and designs may be used in combination with components made by other companies. Such differences, they argued, will require different testimony and supporting facts and details.

In addition, Biomet asserted their ability to handle the various lawsuits brought against them, because they have a track record of efficiently resolving cases in the past through out of court settlements.

Biomet Lawyers Predict Panel Will Consolidate

Biomet lawyers believe the JPML will consolidate these cases, as the similarities between the cases are likely to be seen as more prevalent than any minor differences. Consolidation would increase efficiency for all parties involved, conserve judicial resources, and reduce the risk of inconsistent rulings and duplicative discovery.

The location of the potential future Biomet MDL remains unclear. If cases are centralized in the Northern District of California or the Southern District of New York, other current lawsuits will likely be transferred in from Louisiana and Texas.