Hi. This is Stuart Talley with Kershaw|Talley. Bill Kershaw and I are the partners responsible for the prosthetic hip litigation. Many of our clients are asking for a status update on these cases. I am doing this video today to provide an update on the ongoing Wright Medical metal on metal hip litigation.
There are several thousand Wright Medical cases now pending throughout the country. Most were consolidated in Atlanta, Georgia and some were consolidated in Los Angeles, California. There are ongoing settlement discussions in these Wright Medical metal on metal hip cases.
The Wright Medical cases are different than other hip cases we are dealing with. Wright Medical isn’t nearly as large as some of the other metal on metal hip manufacturers that have recently settled cases, such as DePuy ASR. DePuy is a huge company and a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. It produces billions in profits every year. Wright Medical is much smaller than DePuy. It would be difficult for them to pay a large settlement to everyone who has a case, given the number of cases pending. And it would be very difficult for them to pay along the lines of the DePuy ASR litigation.
So far, Wright Medical has made claims to their insurance carriers for compensation for all of the claims that were asserted with respect to their hips. There was an enormous dispute between Wright Medical and their carriers about the extent of the coverage. This concerns when a claim was technically made under the insurance policy for each one of these insurance carriers.
Over the last 6 months, there were extensive negotiations between Wright Medical and their own insurance company about the nature and extent of coverage. This is a critical issue because you need to know the amount of coverage before you can settle the cases. There was a lawsuit filed where Wright Medical actually sued their insurance carriers. My understanding is the issue with respect to the extent of coverage is close to being resolved. There will soon be discussions regarding how much each person will get under a global settlement agreement. Unfortunately, you cannot settle the individual cases until you know the amount of coverage.
I think we are getting very close to some type of settlement resolution in this case. You should listen to some of our other videos if you want some more information about how settlements in cases like this typically work. For Wright Medical, the amount and terms of the settlement are up in the air at this point. However, it does appear that a settlement is close. If the case does not settle, we have trial dates set for early next year.