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Plaintiffs Move to Consolidate Stryker LFIT V40 Femoral Head Lawsuits

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Plaintiffs who have filed claims against Stryker regarding issues with its LFIT V40 femoral head would like to see the growing number of Stryker lawsuits consolidated before one court for pre-trial proceedings.

They filed a motion on January 13, 2017, with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to centralize all pending and future federally filed cases into the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts.

All Stryker LFIT V40 Femoral Head Lawsuits Involve Common Questions of Fact

The motion for transfer currently involves six product liability actions pending in three jurisdictions around the country. All of these cases involve similar claims against Stryker, including that the company failed to provide adequate warnings about the risks associated with the LFIT V40 femoral head.

This device has been used with a number of different hip replacement systems, including the Stryker Accolade TMZF, the Stryker Accolade 2, the Meridian and the Citation hip systems.

The femoral head is the component that sits on top of the femoral stem, which goes into the thighbone. The head then fits inside the acetabular cup, which lines the hip socket. The problem with the device is that it is made of cobalt and chromium, the same metal materials as the acetabular cup in many instances. When the two parts rub against one another during normal wear and tear, they can shed tiny metal shards into the joint and the surrounding tissues, causing inflammation, swelling, pockets of fluid and other problems that gradually lead to hip loosening and eventual hip replacement failure.

Stryker Recalled Several Sizes of the LFIT V40

In August 2016, Stryker recalled certain sizes of the LFIT V40 femoral head that were manufactured prior to 2011, because they had received “higher than expected complaints of taper lock failure.” The “taper lock” is the part of the implant that connects the femoral head to the femoral neck. Potential hazards related to the LFIT V40 include disassociation of the femoral head from the hip stem, and excessive metallic debris.

A number of studies have illustrated that corrosion can occur at the head-neck juncture of these types of hip implants. In a recent 2016 study, for instance, researchers reported about nine cases of total hip implant failure related to metal wear debris in this area of the implant. Patients suffered from abnormal levels of cobalt and chromium in the bloodstream, as well as tissue damage and hip implant failure. They all had to go through revision surgery to repair the implant.

Plaintiffs Suggest Massachusetts for Stryker MDL

In their motion for consolidation, the plaintiffs note that the Stryker LFIT V40 femoral head was designed to be mated to a variety of femoral hip stems, but that its design is flawed. The femoral head is supposed to lock in place on the stem, but the taper lock often fails because of excessive movement between the head and stem.

The plaintiffs assert that Stryker knew that these components were defective for years, but continued to downplay the risks. They add that each case concerning the component presents “common claims arising under product liability laws” with a common core set of facts, which means the parties would be served by consolidation.

They recommend the District of Massachusetts as the best location for the Stryker MDL because it provides an easily accessible location, can handle the expected high number of cases and has very experienced judges. Transfer will prevent duplicative pre-trial rulings, reduce the costs of litigation and allow cases to proceed more efficiently to trial, the plaintiffs state.