Plaintiffs and defendants involved in Stryker hip lawsuits prompted by the recent recall of certain LFIT Anatomic CoCr V40 femoral heads are at odds over a proposal to consolidate the federal docket in a single U.S. District Court. While plaintiffs claim that creation of a multidistrict litigation will promote judicial efficiency, a brief filed earlier this month by Howmedica Osteonics Corp. argued that centralization is not warranted.
Howmedica manufactures LFIT Femoral Heads for use with several Stryker hip replacement devices, including the Accolade TMZF, Accolade 2 Stems, Meridian Stems and Citation Stems. Last August, Stryker issued an “Urgent Medical Device Recall Notification” warning that certain LFIT CoCr V40 femoral heads manufactured prior to 2011 had been associated with a”higher than expected number of complaints involving taper lock failure of the recalled femoral heads.” While the notification advised doctors to monitor patients fitted with the affected LFIT V40 femoral heads for problems possibly related to taper lock failure, it did not seek return of the devices and or direct surgeons to notify patients. In November, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) designated Stryker’s action a Class II recall, its second most serious type of safety notification.
About a half-dozen lawsuits have been filed in federal courts around the country by individuals who allegedly suffered serious complications related to the LFIT V40 femoral head recall. Last month, plaintiffs named in some of these claims filed a petition with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) seeking centralization of the cases in the U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts. Read More
“These femoral heads have been used in at least six different modular hip replacement devices manufactured by Stryker,” the petition stated. “The estimated number of Stryker LFIT V40 femoral heads that have been implanted into patients is in excess of 100,000 units.”
“Plaintiffs contend that Stryker knew for years that the LFIT V40 femoral heads were defective and dangerous but instead chose to downplay the risk of using each device and failed to properly warn the hundreds of physicians implanting these devices into thousands of patients across the country,”
In its February 3rd opposition brief, Howmedica explained that the recall only involved seven of the more than 26 different versions of the LFIT femoral head currently available. The company also contends that because the devices are used in conjunction with numerous Stryker hip replacement systems, “individual facts will predominate over common ones.”
If the JPML does decide to grant the plaintiffs’ petition, Howmedica suggested that the docket be transferred to the Honorable Brian R. Martinotti in the U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey. Prior to his appointment to federal court, Judge Martinotti presided over several Stryker hip lawsuits that involved LFIT V40 femoral heads.