Zimmer agreed in 2016 to spend more than $300 million to settle hundreds of remaining lawsuits over its Durom Cup hip implant. Prior to that, financial documents show the company had spent a total of $479 million since 2008 to resolve Durom Cup lawsuits.
Did you or a loved one suffer complications after receiving a hip implant? You may be eligible for compensation.
Zimmer faced the first lawsuits over its Durom Acetabular Component, more commonly referred to as the Durom Cup, shortly after it arrived on the market in 2006. The company temporarily recalled the device in 2008 after receiving reports that it was failing prematurely in patients.
Zimmer offered to settle most of the lawsuits over its Durom Cup implants in March 2016 for $314 million. The company had faced more than 700 lawsuits in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in a New Jersey federal court. MDLs allow several similar cases to be combined in federal court, allowing them to move more quickly and efficiently through the legal process.
In May 2016, the MDL court issued an order that all plaintiffs were required to participate in the settlement process.
A large number of the plaintiffs were not happy with the settlement offer and resisted taking it. As of August 2018, there were 131 lawsuits still pending in the MDL.
People who filed lawsuits said the Durom Cup caused serious complications requiring surgery to correct the problem. The Durom Cup was designed to fuse to the hip socket without cement or screws, but the implant failed to fuse in some patients, causing complications.
Matthew Cristino claimed he experienced complications such as “extreme pain and weakness” following his surgery. He required multiple revision surgeries. The Cristinos claimed Zimmer was aware of a high rate of failure associated with the device, but failed to warn his surgeon. They sued Zimmer in federal court in California. Their case was later transferred to the New Jersey MDL.
Lucinda Weaver received a total hip replacement in 2007 and suffered loosening and separation of her Durom implant. She claimed that the implant was defective and “did not perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would expect.” She filed a personal injury lawsuit in California state court for damages, including medical expenses and loss of income. The Weavers reached a settlement with Zimmer in December 2010.
People who filed Zimmer hip replacement lawsuits claim that their injuries were caused by the device maker’s negligence. One complaint states that Zimmer continued marketing the Durom Cup even after the company realized three in every 10 devices failed.
The Zimmer Durom cup was the only Zimmer hip implant included in the New Jersey MDL.
Zimmer acquired Biomet in 2015 for $14 billion. At the time, Biomet faced lawsuits, including another MDL, over some of its hip devices, which became part of the new company’s shared responsibility. Zimmer was also involved in an MDL over its NexGen knees. More recently, lawsuits have been expected over Zimmer’s Persona Knee implants after it recalled 11,000 of the devices in 2015.
Zimmer spent several years settling lawsuits over its Durom Cup implants before it went to trial. In March 2016, it sought to settle all remaining lawsuits in the New Jersey multidistrict litigation. The court ordered everyone who had filed suit to participate in the settlement or run the risk of having their case dismissed.
The settlement set the base amount of awards for each Durom Cup plaintiff at $175,000. But several factors could increase or decrease the amount a person would actually receive.
Some people did not qualify for the $175,000 base amount. Instead, they were offered just $25,000. This fixed award was for patients harmed by the Durom Cup, but who did not meet certain revision surgery requirements.
There are currently no Zimmer hip class action lawsuits in the U.S. However, there were three class actions in Canadian courts open to Canadian citizens. All three cases were settled in 2016. The deadline to file a claim was September 5, 2017.
Settlement amounts ranged from $600 (Canadian dollars, equal to $470 U.S.) to $40,000 (about $31,500 in U.S. currency). The amounts were based on whether a patient required revision surgery and varied based on what complications they experienced.
In addition, plaintiffs could claim up to $2,500 (equal to about $1,968 U.S.) for out-of-pocket expenses related to the implants.
A year after the Durom Cup arrived on the market, a doctor who worked with Zimmer warned the company of potential problems with the implant’s design.
Dr. Lawrence Dorr, an experienced surgeon and consultant for the manufacturer, told Zimmer in 2007 that a number of his patients required revision surgery. The doctor stopped using the device and notified the FDA before publicly warning other surgeons in April 2008.
Zimmer eventually issued a temporary recall of the device in July 2008. The company said the recall was to postpone hip replacements involving the Durom Cup until Zimmer could issue new implantation instructions. The FDA stated that the recall was caused by false and misleading labeling.
The company released new surgical instructions, and Zimmer officials said the device would remain available in the United States. However, Zimmer discontinued the product in 2010.
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