Hip Replacement Lawsuits

Hip replacement lawsuits are being filed by people facing serious complications from their hip replacement devices. More than 29,000 lawsuits have been filed against hip manufacturers, including Stryker and Depuy. Companies have paid more than $7 billion in settlements and verdicts. Several metal-on-metal hips have been recalled.

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Hip Replacement Illustration
Hip Replacement Lawsuit Facts
  1. Injuries Metal poisoning, dislocation, loosening, tissue damage, severe pain, implant failure, revision surgery
  2. Manufacturers DePuy, Stryker, Zimmer, Biomet, Wright, Smith & Nephew
  3. Top Settlement $4 billion

Since 2002, hip manufacturers have paid more than $7.5 billion to settle thousands of hip lawsuits. Recent jury verdicts against manufacturers have totaled more than $1.7 billion. But courts have tossed out or reduced many of those.

While most lawsuits involving metal-on-metal hip implants have been resolved, more than 14,000 hip cases were still pending across the country as of July 2019.

Lawsuits over Stryker’s LFIT V40 femoral head and Smith & Nephew’s BHR and R3 hips have only recently been consolidated in federal and state courts. And law firms have just begun evaluating cases involving Stryker’s Tritanium Acetabular Shells, which are prone to loosen and fail. Meanwhile, trials over DePuy’s Pinnacle hips are still underway, with some verdicts on appeal.

Most large hip replacement actions involve metal-on-metal designs. They were supposed to be more durable, but lawsuits claim the devices shed microscopic amounts of chromium, cobalt or other metals into the body.

According to complaints, the design flaw caused a condition called metallosis, which destroys bone, muscle and other tissue. In addition to creating immediate health problems for the patient, the condition can weaken an implant and cause it to fail.

Lawsuits say several other complications occurred as a result.

Injuries include:

Metal-on-metal implants became popular throughout the 2000s but quickly fell out of favor as reports of complications mounted. This led to hip replacement recalls, lawsuits and FDA actions. In 2016, the FDA strengthened the approval process for metal-on-metal hips.

Not all metal-on-metal hip models with high complication or failure rates were recalled. Manufacturers simply removed some of them from the market. DePuy’s Pinnacle hip was never recalled. But the largest jury verdicts in hip lawsuits have involved Pinnacle hips.

Complications from a Hip Replacement?

Manufacturers and Brands Named in Lawsuits

Six companies dominated the metal-on-metal hip implant market and have been involved in the largest lawsuits. Zimmer acquired Biomet for $13.3 billion in 2015. The merger gave Zimmer Biomet a major share of the $45 billion musculoskeletal implant industry. Wright Medical no longer makes hip implants. This leaves four companies with the lion’s share of this market in the U.S.

Depuy Orthopaedics

DePuy has settled thousands of lawsuits over its ASR Hip Replacements. But it faces more than 9,000 more lawsuits over its Pinnacle device. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation combined the federal lawsuits in two separate litigations, known as MDLs. Settlements and jury verdicts in DePuy hip lawsuits total more than $6 billion.

DePuy Pinnacle Logo
Device: DePuy Pinnacle Hip Replacement
  • Number of Lawsuits: 10,176 filed, 9,893 still pending as of July 2019
  • Litigation Location: Northern District of Texas
  • Verdicts: March 2016 - $502 million (thrown out on appeal, retrial expected)
    December 2016 - $1 billion (reduced to $543 million)
    November 2017 - $247 million (reduced to $245 million)
  • Status of Lawsuits: Active and on appeal
Device: ASR Hip Replacements
  • Number of Lawsuits: 10,237 filed, 1,434 still pending as of July 2019
  • Litigation Location: Northern District of Ohio
  • Settlements: 9,800 settled for $4.42 billion between 2013 and 2015
  • Status of Lawsuits: Settled but the MDL remains active

Smith & Nephew

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation grouped the first Smith & Nephew lawsuits into a single litigation in 2017. The cases are still in the early stages.

Smith & Nephew Logo
Devices: BHR and R3 Hip Implants
  • Number of Lawsuits: 609 filed, 587 still pending as of July 2019
  • Litigation Location: District of Maryland
  • Verdicts/Settlements: No verdicts or major settlements yet
  • Status of Lawsuits: Active, pre-trial stages


Stryker hip lawsuits have targeted several of the company’s products. Lawsuits over the Rejuvenate and ABG II hips were transferred to the same court. Those cases settled in 2014. More recently, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation created a single litigation, or MDL, for cases involving Stryker’s LFIT V40 hip component. Stryker agreed to an initial settlement in those cases in November 2018. Law firms have recently begun accepting cases involving Stryker’s Tritanium Acetabular Shells.

Stryker logo
Device: LFIT V40 Femoral Head
  • Number of Lawsuits: 677 filed, 662 pending as of April 2019
  • Litigation Location: District of Massachusetts
  • Verdicts/Settlements: Initial settlement announced Nov. 2, 2018, details remained confidential
  • Status of Lawsuits: Currently in settlement phase
Device: Rejuvenate and ABG II Hip Replacements
  • Number of Lawsuits: 3,546 filed, 1,216 pending as of April 2019
  • Litigation Location: District of Minnesota
  • Settlement: $1.4 billion between 2014 and 2016
  • Status of Lawsuits: Settled but the MDL remains active
Tritanium Acetabular Shells
  • Number of Lawsuits: Unknown (firms are evaluating cases)
  • Litigation Location: To be determined
  • Settlement: None
  • Status of Lawsuits: Early phase


In March 2016, Zimmer offered to settle lawsuits over its Durom Cup for $314 million. In May of that year, a court ordered that everyone with a case in the multidistrict litigation had to participate in the settlement process. In November 2018, a federal panel combined 21 new lawsuits over other components into an MDL in New York. The new lawsuits involved models of the company’s M/L Taper Hip Prosthesis used with Zimmer’s Versys Femoral Head.

Zimmer Logo
Device: Durom Cup
  • Number of Lawsuits: 750 filed,516 still pending as of July 2019
  • Litigation Location: District of New Jersey
  • Settlement: $314 million to settle all cases
  • Status of Lawsuits: Settled but the multidistrict litigation remains active
Device: Zimmer M/L Taper Hip Prosthesis and Versys Femoral Head
  • Number of Lawsuits: 113 as of July 2019
  • Litigation Location: Southern District, New York
  • Settlement: None yet
  • Status of Lawsuits: Early stages of litigation, MDL created October 2018


A settlement in more than 2,800 Biomet hip lawsuits came as the company merged with Zimmer in 2015. Zimmer absorbed some of the costs of settling the lawsuits, which had been combined in a multidistrict litigation.

Biomet Logo
Device: M2a Magnum Hip Replacement
  • Number of Lawsuits: 2,883 filed, 190 still pending as of July 2019
  • Litigation Location: Northern District of Indiana
  • Settlements: Estimated $89.4 million between 2013 and 2015
  • Status of Lawsuits: Settled but the multidistrict litigation remains active

Wright Medical

Some of the problems that led to Wright’s hip lawsuits didn’t show up until after the company sold its hip manufacturing division. In addition to metallosis-related complaints, people also sued over the devices loosening.

Wright Logo
Devices: Conserve, Dynasty and Lineage Replacements and Related Components
  • Number of Lawsuits: 640 filed, 73 still pending as of July 2019
  • Litigation Location: Northern District of Georgia
  • Settlements: $330 million between 2016 and 2017
  • Status of Lawsuits: Settled; court ordered no new lawsuits may be filed

Timeline of Metal-on-Metal Hip Recalls and Lawsuits

  • 2000
    Sulzer Orthopedics recalls 40,000 hip replacement sockets for dislocation risk.
  • 2001
    More than 2,200 people require revision surgery to replace Sulzer implants.
  • 2001
    Three women win a $15.4 million verdict against Sulzer. The number of lawsuits filed reaches 1,000.
  • 2002
    Sulzer settles 4,000 lawsuits for $1 billion ($200,000 to each plaintiff).
  • 2008
    Zimmer temporarily recalls its Durom Cup hip component.
  • 2010
    The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidates Durom Cup lawsuits into a multidistrict litigation.
  • 2010
    The judicial panel combines DePuy ASR lawsuits into an MDL.
  • 2011
    Lawsuits over DePuy’s Pinnacle hip implants are combined in an MDL.
  • 2012
    Wright Medical, Smith & Nephew and Biomet each issue extensive hip replacement recalls.
  • 2012
    Lawsuits over Wright Medical’s Conserve implants are combined into an MDL.
  • 2012
    Lawsuits over Biomet’s M2a Magnum implants are combined into an MDL.
  • 2013
    The judicial panel combines lawsuits over Stryker’s Rejuvenate and ABG II into an MDL.
  • 2016
    FDA strengthens approval process for metal-on-metal hips.
  • 2016
    Stryker recalls more than 42,000 LFIT V40 femoral head components.
  • 2017
    The judicial panel combines lawsuits over Smith & Nephew BHR and R3 implants into an MDL.
  • 2017
    The MDL panel combines the first federal lawsuits over Stryker LFIT V40 femoral heads into an MDL in Massachusetts federal court. New Jersey follows suit a month later, combining state lawsuits over the device into an MCL in state court.
  • 2018
    A federal judge in Atlanta closes the MDL involving Wright Medical hips following a 2017 settlement.
  • 2018
    Federal panel creates MDL for Zimmer’s M/L Taper Hip Prosthesis including versions with Kinectiv Technology and Versys Femoral Head.
  • 2018
    Stryker agrees to an initial settlement in the LFIT V40 MDL, but details are kept confidential.

Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.

Terry Turner
Written By Terry Turner Writer

Terry Turner has been writing articles and producing news broadcasts for more than 25 years. He covers FDA policy, proton pump inhibitors, and medical devices such as hernia mesh, IVC filters, and hip and knee implants. An Emmy-winning journalist, he has reported on health and medical policy issues before Congress, the FDA and other federal agencies. Some of his qualifications include:

  • American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) and The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates member
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Health Literacy certificates
  • Original works published or cited in Washington Examiner, MedPage Today and The New York Times
  • Appeared as an expert panelist on hernia mesh lawsuits on the BBC
Edited By
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39 Cited Research Articles

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  2. U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. (2017, April 5). Transfer Order. Retrieved from http://www.jpml.uscourts.gov/sites/jpml/files/MDL-2775-Initial_Transfer-03-17.pdf
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  8. Eslinger, B. (2015, September 25). $4.5M Wright Hip Implant Verdict Cut to $1M by Calif. Judge. Retrieved from https://www.law360.com/articles/707545/4-5m-wright-hip-implant-verdict-cut-to-1m-by-calif-judge
  9. Fay Cortez, M. (2014, April 24). Zimmer to Buy Biomet for $13.4 Billion Adding Orthopedics. Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-04-24/zimmer-agrees-to-buy-biomet-for-13-35-billion-including-debt
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  15. Lexis Legal News. (2016, April 4). ‘Majority’ of Zimmer Durom Hip MDL Plaintiffs Said to Reject Mandatory Settlement. Retrieved from https://www.lexislegalnews.com/articles/7302/majority-of-zimmer-durom-hip-mdl-plaintiffs-said-to-reject-mandatory-settlement
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  19. Singer, S. (2013, January 27). Artificial Hips Corrode, Poisoning Some Patients, Local Lawsuits Say. Retrieved from https://www.palmbeachpost.com/lifestyles/health/artificial-hips-corrode-poisoning-some-patients-local-lawsuits-say/LzCZuGGbr9j2X1Wo3GdSpJ/
  20. Stride, M. (2013, February 19). Smith & Nephew Sued Over Painful Hip Replacement. Retrieved from https://www.law360.com/articles/416588/smith-nephew-sued-over-painful-hip-replacement
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  31. Federal Register. (2016, February 18). Effective Date of Requirement for Premarket Approval for Total Metal-on-Metal Semi-Constrained Hip Joint Systems. Retrieved from: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/02/18/2016-03331/effective-date-of-requirement-for-premarket-approval-for-total-metal-on-metal-semi-constrained-hip
  32. FDA. (2016, August 29). Class 2 Device Recall Stryker LFIT Anatomic V40 Femoral Head. Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfRes/res.cfm?ID=149782
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  37. U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. (2018, October 3). Zimmer M/L Taper Hip Prosthesis or M/L Taper Hip Prosthesis with Kinectiv Technology and Versys Femoral Head Products Liability Litigation. Transfer Order. Retrieved from http://www.jpml.uscourts.gov/sites/jpml/files/MDL-2859-Transfer-Order-09-18.pdf
  38. U.S. District Court, DIstrict of Massachusetts. (2018, November 2). Order Aiding Private Settlement. Inre: Stryker LFIT V40 Femoral Head Products Liability Litigation. Retrieved from http://www.mad.uscourts.gov/worcester/MDL2768/2768%20Order%20Aiding%20Private%20Settlement.pdf
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