New Zimmer Hip Lawsuit Headed for MDL
A new Zimmer hip lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Colorado will be heading to multidistrict litigation in the District of New Jersey for pretrial proceedings. The lawsuit was filed by plaintiff John O’Neal, who claims his Zimmer Durom Cup device resulted in severe pain, reduced mobility and the need for revision surgery.
The complaint was filed in the District of Colorado on May 28, 2013. The case was closed in the Colorado District Court on June 18, 2013, so that it could be transferred into the Zimmer hip MDL for pretrial purposes. Multidistrict litigation, also referred to as MDL, is established when there are multiple cases filed by plaintiffs with similar complaints. The coordination makes early trial proceedings more efficient by preventing duplicate discovery and conflicting rulings in different courts.
Faulty Durom Cup leads to serious complications
O’Neal claims in his Zimmer hip lawsuit that he was implanted with the Durom Cup in 2009 during a total right hip arthroplasty. Shortly after the procedure, O’Neal began experiencing severe pain that left him unable to perform many of his daily activities. O’Neal underwent revision surgery in 2012, at which time the faulty hip implant was removed and a new device put in its place.
Revision surgery is a risky procedure with a lower success rate than the original hip replacement surgery. According to Cedars-Sinai, patients undergoing revision surgery are more likely to suffer from fractures, dislocation and loosening of the joint, primarily because the bone is weaker the second time around. While recovery after revision surgery is similar to that of the original procedure, many patients find the rehabilitation to be more challenging and to require a lengthier period of time.
History of the Zimmer Durom Cup
The Zimmer Durom Cup was first introduced to the U.S. market in 2006. The device was cleared for sale by the FDA through a “fast-track” process known as the 510(k). Through this process, the manufacturer of a medical device can bypass lengthy tests and research on their product by showing the product is similar to others already on the market. However, reports of Zimmer hip complications made some question if the 510(k) process failed to uncover potential risks with this device.
The Durom Cup is somewhat unique from other hip implants due to the way it is implanted into the bone. Instead of using screws or cement to affix the device, the Durom Cup is designed to integrate with the bone by allowing the bone to grow over the device. Unfortunately, some patients experience a situation where the Durom Cup resists bone growth and comes loose from its original location.
Another complaint with the Durom Cup concerns the metal-on-metal components that were designed to allow for more wear and tear on the joint. In some cases, the metal components rub together, creating friction and releasing small metal particles into the surrounding tissue and bloodstream. In January, 2013, the FDA issued a safety communication regarding potential risks associated with metal-on-metal implant devices, including a patient’s potential exposure to metal ions from the components.
Zimmer hip lawsuit alleges agonizing pain, metal poisoning
In his complaint, O’Neal states he and his physician chose the Durom Cup for his initial surgery due to claims by the manufacturer that the device would lead to better stability and range of motion. Instead, O’Neal alleges he suffered agonizing pain and decreased mobility. Tests also showed O’Neal has elevated levels of metal ions in his bloodstream. These complications led O’Neal to undergo revision surgery just three years after his initial procedure.
O’Neal is now seeking compensatory, punitive and exemplary damages from Zimmer to compensate him for his pain, medical bills and lost wages. In his complaint, O’Neal has listed numerous counts against the defendant, including strict liability, negligence, breach of warranty, and negligent misrepresentation.
- United States District Court, District of New Jersey, Master Docket: Zimmer Durom Cup MDL No. 2158, http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/new-jersey/njdce/2:2010cv04716/246615/9/0.pdf
- FDA, FDA Safety Communication: Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants, http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm335775.htm
- Cedars-Sinai, Revision Hip Surgery, http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Programs-and-Services/Orthopaedic-Center/Treatment/Revision-Hip-Surgery.aspx