Plaintiff in New Zimmer Hip Lawsuit Faces Revision Surgery
The complaint in a recently filed Zimmer hip revision surgery lawsuit details the plaintiff’s struggles after undergoing hip replacement surgery, enduring complications that will likely necessitate additional surgery.
Plaintiff Judith A. Kelly filed her lawsuit on September 5 in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of New York (Buffalo) concerning her failed Zimmer hip implant. Kelly v. Zimmer Holdings, et al (case # 1:14-CV-00750) describes how Kelly received the Durom Acetabular Component (known more popularly as the “Durom cup”) on Jan. 17, 2012. Since that time, she has suffered from increased pain and mobility problems that have “restricted her ability to engage in physical activities, and … affected her ability to perform work duties and/or regular activities of daily living.”
Kelly likely faces another surgery, this time to revise the hip implant and replace it with a functional alternative. Unfortunately, the plaintiff appears to have suffered tissue damage when metal fragments from the Durom Cup were released, damaging soft tissue around the hip bone and lessening the chance of a successful revision surgery.
Zimmer hip revision surgery lawsuit
Though Kelly v. Zimmer was filed in New York, according to the complaint, the case is subject to transfer to New Jersey in order to incorporate it into a multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2158) now taking place in Newark. The New Jersey MDL was established in 2010 to accommodate many similar claims filed against Zimmer over the Durom cup in a more efficient manner. Pre-trial discovery will be a shared process, but each plaintiff will be heard individually until all cases reach their conclusion or until an agreement is made over settlements.
Thus far, over 100 lawsuits have already been resolved through settlement agreements totaling more than $400 million; however, over 200 are still set to proceed, with the preliminary (“bellwether”) cases scheduled for later this year.
Allegations concerning Zimmer’s negligence
Lawsuits included in the MDL generally allege that Zimmer provided inadequate testing and monitoring of a defective and dangerous product and failed to warn potential clients of the risks that their product posed.
The Durom Cup is one of several problematic “metal-on-metal” hip implants on the market in recent years that have been subject to a high rate of failure and complications. The FDA has raised alarms about this type of hip replacement, which can have side effects such as loosening, pain, mobility problems, and metallosis (in which metal fragments let loose by the rubbing of the metal components cause damage and/or metal poisoning).
The Durom Cup was cleared for sale in the U.S. in 2006; the complaint alleges that Zimmer should have known of problems with the device as early as 2007, when Dr. Lawrence Dorr, orthopedist and then Zimmer consultant, alerted the manufacturer to the high failure rate of the hip. (Later estimates place that rate at 24% for patients between 2006-2010.) In response, the company waited until 2008 to investigate, and issued only a temporary sales suspension rather than a formal recall of the device. Zimmer maintains that it is surgical error rather than device defect that has caused the hip failures.
- NY Times, F.D.A. Seeks to Tighten Regulation of All-Metal Hip Implants http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/17/business/fda-to-tighten-regulation-of-all-metal-hip-implants.html
- FDA Safety Communication: Metal on Metal Hip Implants, http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm335775.htm
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Questions and Answers About Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants, http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00625