On February 19, 2013, plaintiff Robert Davis filed a motion with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to consolidate all federal Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II lawsuits into the District of Minnesota. The motion argued that consolidation is appropriate as the lawsuits involving these hip implants involve common questions of fact and issues for discovery, and consolidation would increase efficiency and reduce the risk of inconsistent rulings.
Though Davis suggested Minnesota because ten of the approximately 30 filed cases concerning the Rejuvenate and ABG II systems are pending there, plaintiffs involved in four other cases have urged the JPML to consider the Northern District of Illinois, instead.
Why the Northern District of Illinois?
Harris Martin Publishing reported on March 13, 2013, that plaintiff Christine Wilkinson, whose case is pending in Illinois, and three other plaintiffs from Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Florida, submitted the motion concerning the location of the potential new MDL on February 22, 2013.
The plaintiffs argue that Judge John W. Darrah, who is currently assigned to Wilkinson’s case in the Northern District of Illinois, is experienced in complex litigation, and would be uniquely qualified to handle the Stryker MDL. Judge Darrah currently is not managing a MDL, and has the time and expertise to oversee the proceedings, according to Wilkinson.
In addition, the court is central to the litigants, and was the location where "many orthopaedic surgeons from Illinois have been trained in the implantation of the Rejuvenate System and have implanted the system in hundreds of patients in Illinois since 2008," according to court documents.
Stryker Rejuvenate Hip Recall 2012
The Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II systems are modular-neck stem hip implants that were voluntarily recalled by the company in July 2012. Having a unique two-piece stem design intended to provide surgeons with more flexibility in treating patients, the implants were later found to increase risk of corrosion and fretting during normal wear and tear.
On April 25, 2012, Stryker Orthopaedics issued a "product correction bulletin" to physicians noting that the device could increase the presence of metal debris around the joint space, which can lead to tissue damage and death, pockets of swelling, bone loss, and premature implant loosening and failure.
In July 2012, Stryker issued a recall of both the Rejuvenate and ABG II systems, stating the products had been linked with reports of corrosion and fretting. Plaintiffs who have filed lawsuits against the company claim they didn’t do enough to test the design before allowing it to be implanted in thousands of patients and failed to provide adequate warnings of the potential health risks.
Stryker Hip Lawsuits Already Centralized at the State Level
In February 2013, the Supreme Court of New Jersey centralized all Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II lawsuits into the Superior Court of New Jersey in Bergen County, in what is termed a "multi-county litigation" or "MCL."
Arguments regarding the possibility of federal consolidation will likely take place at an upcoming JPML hearing session, scheduled for May 30, 2013.
Exclusively focused on representing plaintiffs, especially in mass tort litigation, Eric Chaffin prides himself on providing unsurpassed professional legal services in pursuit of the specific goals of his clients and their families. Both his work and his cases have been featured in the national press, including on ABC’s Good Morning America.