More than 2,700 lawsuits have been filed over Biomet’s M2a Magnum hip implants. The company agreed to settle most of the cases in 2014.
The settlement was available for cases in federal and state courts. People who suffered injuries from their hip implants and wanted part of the settlement had to file claims in court by April 15, 2014.
While the litigation was underway, orthopedic manufacturer Zimmer bought Biomet in 2014 for $13.4 billion. The new company, Zimmer Biomet, became one of the leaders in the hip replacement market in 2016.
Microscopic Metal Particles Led to Complications
The M2a Magnum was a metal-on-metal hip design. According to lawsuits, the metal parts wore against each other and released microscopic metal ions, which caused a wide variety of complications, including metallosis.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration received hundreds of reports of these sorts of complications from doctors and patients who used the implant. However, Biomet never recalled the devices.
As lawsuits mounted, a federal judicial panel in October 2012 centralized the hip implant lawsuits in the Northern District of Indiana.
- Patricia Gill of New York received an M2a Magnum implant in 2005 in her right hip. In a lawsuit, she claimed that friction and wear between the metal components released chromium particles into her blood and tissues, causing severe pain and inflammation. She received revision surgery to replace the implant. She sought compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and punitive damages.
- Christina Kirk of Ohio received an M2a Magnum hip implant when she underwent a total right hip replacement in 2007. She claimed that she suffered severe physical injuries caused by the release of metal ions into her body. She filed a lawsuit in federal court in May 2013.
Determining Individual Settlement Amounts
In January 2014, Biomet agreed to settle all cases for a combined $56 million. That amounted to a base award of $200,000 for each plaintiff.
But, certain factors could have lowered the amount a person actually received.
- $10,000 if the implant was revised more than five years but less than eight years after initial implantation
- $37,500 if the hip replacement was revised more than eight years but less than 10 years after initial implantation
- $10,000 if the implant was initially implanted after August 1, 2010 but before July 1, 2011
- $37,500 if the hip replacement was initially implanted after July 1, 2011, but before January 27, 2012
The settlement also capped the amount at far below the base amount in specific conditions.
- Cases that were revised more than 10 years after initial implantation received $20,000
- Cases involving a hip replacement system implanted after January 27, 2012 received $20,000
- Cases barred by statutes of limitation received $20,000
- Claimants who received Biomet metal-on-polyethylene devices or metal-on-metal hip replacements other than the M2a 38 and the M2a Magnum (M2a Taper, RingLoc, or ReCap) received $20,000
- Claimants who first received any type of hip replacement as part of a revision procedure or who had their implant revised within six months of initial implantation received a payment of $20,000
- Deceased plaintiffs who received a Biomet metal-on-metal hip and who underwent revision but who died for reasons unrelated to alleged complications received $20,000
Biomet said it would only fund the settlement if 90 percent of the qualifying cases accepted the settlement. Plaintiffs had to submit information to the court by June 13, 2014.
Not everyone who sued agreed to the settlement. Instead, some people continued to pursue their lawsuits. In its 2015 annual report, Zimmer Biomet estimated that it would take $33.4 million to resolve pending claims.
As of September 2018, about 400 cases were still pending in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in an Indiana federal court.
Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.