Hi, I am Stuart Talley. I am the partner responsible for the prosthetic hip litigation. I am providing an update on the Wright Medical metal on metal hip litigation. There are thousands of filed cases and they are consolidated in Atlanta, Georgia. The first Wright Conserve hip trial takes place on March 9, 2015.
Currently, there are multiple deadlines to prepare for the trial date. The first deadline is “dispositive motions”. Dispositive motion is a motion seeking to dispose all or part of a claim. Dispositive motions are generally filed by the defendant(s). The deadline for filing this motion is January 9, 2015. We fully expect Wright Medical to file a dispositive motion.
The next motion deadline regards a “daubert motion”. Defendants and plaintiffs can file daubert motions. A daubert motion is a special type of motion. It is raised before or during trial, and seeks to exclude expert testimony and the presentation of unqualified evidence to the jury. There are certain circumstances where defendants and plaintiffs will submit expert testimony from doctors or scientists. The daubert motion is employed by a party to potentially exclude testimony. Daubert motion in these cases is important. Expert testimony is critical to a plaintiff’s ability to prove their case.
The next deadline is “motions in limine”. Motion in limine is a motion filed by a party asking the court for an order or ruling limiting or preventing the other side from presenting certain evidence at the trial of the case.
The daubert motions and motions in limine will be submitted at the pre-trial conference on February 26, 2015. The pre-trial conference is a hearing held before the judge. The judge typically rules on the dispositive motions, daubert motions, and motions in limine. After the hearing, you have a good idea how your case looks for the Wright Conserve hip trial. We are confident the motions filed by the defendants will be unsuccessful. The cases are very strong and we think the first case going to trial will be successful.
On September 15, 2014, approximately 800 claims regarding the Conserve hips were filed against Wright Medical Technology Inc. in the ongoing multidistrict litigation (MDL) in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia (In re: Wright Medical Technology, Inc., Conserve Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2329). As trial proceeds, filings continue to grow on behalf of individuals who suffered painful injuries associated with the Conserve hips as well as the Profemur hip replacements. The injuries sustained from the Conserve metal-on-metal hips include early device failure, femoral neck fractures, and metallosis.
The Wright Profemur and Conserve Plus hip lawsuits allege the hips caused serious complications as a result of elevated levels of metal ions, like cobalt and chromium, released from the hips. Currently, the court has selected a case for the litigation’s first bellwether trial scheduled for March 2015.
Recent studies demonstrate patients implanted with the Wright Profemur and Conserve Plus hip replacement systems often experience early failure and femoral neck fractures. Specifically, both these devices are “metal on metal” hips and recently the subject of much controversy. Under certain conditions, metal on metal hips can release metal particles into the hip joint and surrounding tissue. When this occurs, patients may experience significant pain in the hip joint resulting from the body’s reaction to the metal particles released into the hip. This condition is known as “metallosis” and often results in permanent damage to the hip joint.
Hi. This is Stuart Talley with Kershaw, Cook & 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 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 with 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.
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.
We are providing an update on the Wright Profemur and Conserve Plus litigation. At our firm, we represent many individuals with different kinds of defective hips. One of the most recent cases involves the Wright Medical hips: the Profemur and Conserve Plus.
The problem with these implants is leeching metal ions (particles) into the hip joint. Both these hips are composed of two kinds of metal, cobalt and chromium. These metals are released into the hip joint and can cause bone destruction, soft tissue damage, pseudotumors, and destruction of nerves, tendon, and muscles.
Most of our clients tell a similar story. They have the hip and the hip is causing them significant pain. They go to the surgeon who performs an x-ray, and tells them everything looks fine. Sometimes they’re sent to a back doctor, or another doctor, to figure out where the pain is coming from. The real cause becomes apparent when a blood test is done; specifically, testing the blood for cobalt and chromium. Cobalt and chromium is released into the body due to wear and tear from the hip implant. This is detected via a blood test. If the results indicate elevated levels of cobalt and chromium, the next step is having a MARS MRI. A MARS MRI is a special MRI for people with metal implants. The MRI can potentially show if you have a pseudotumor or fluid collection in the hip.
We are handling cases that were filed among several thousand cases now pending in Atlanta, Georgia. Some are also pending in Los Angeles, California. There are trials set for March 2015.
If you have a Wright Medical hip, and are having any problems, give us a call right away. There is a statute of limitations that runs on these cases.
Additionally, patients with increased cobalt and chromium in their blood face the risk of systemic, long-term health issues including hypothyroidism, heart problems, and cancer. The medical community is concerned many patients with metal-on-metal hips experience no symptoms despite having highly elevated cobalt and chromium levels in their blood. In fact, many patients with cobalt and chromium levels more than 100 times normal reported experiencing no symptoms whatsoever. Unfortunately, by the time symptoms develop, it may be too late.
As a result of this situation, many doctors are now recommending all patients with metal on metal hips have their blood levels tested regularly to determine if they are at risk. Health regulators in the UK recently declared all patients with metal on metal hip implants should have their blood levels monitored for the life of their hip replacement.
If you have a metal on metal hip, we strongly urge you to discuss these recommendations with your doctor.
To date, there were hundreds of adverse event reports submitted to the FDA reporting problems with Wright metal on metal hips. More so, a 2008 annual report the Australian National Joint Replacement Registry issued showed the Wright Profemur Hip had a cumulative revision rate of 11.2% at three years; this is more than 3 times the revision rate for comparable hips.
At Kershaw, Cook & Talley, we represent hundreds of hip replacement patients who, for decades, continue to rely on our knowledge and expertise in fighting and winning cases in the mass tort and medical device arenas. Share your story via the contact form, or call us at 888-997-5170 for a free, confidential case review.
At Kershaw, Cook & Talley, we look forward to serving you.