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.
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.
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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.
Zimmer Durom Cup MDL Court Order, May 2016:
A large number of the plaintiffs were not happy with the settlement offer and resisted taking it. As of February 2018, there were 261 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.
Claims in Zimmer Durom Cup Lawsuits:
People who sued Zimmer over the Durom Cup:
People who filed Zimmerhip 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 Biomet Joint Implants Named in Lawsuits:
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.
Timeline of Zimmer Durom Cup Litigation:
Zimmer Durom Cup arrives on the market in the U.S.
Dr. Lawrence Dorr warns Zimmer of high revision surgery rate among Durom Cup patients
12,000 U.S. patients have received the Durom Cup
Zimmer briefly recalls all units of the Durom Cup on the market
Zimmer returns Durom Cup to market with new implanting instructions and training
Zimmer discontinues the Durom Cup
U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation combines Durom Cup lawsuits into a federal MDL
Zimmer sets up $47.5 million Durom Cup settlement fund, begins settling individual lawsuits
Zimmer wins first state trial over Durom Cup
Los Angeles jury awards Gary Kline $9.2 million for injuries from a Zimmer Durom Cup implant (the amount was reduced to $828,153 on appeal)
Zimmer proposes $314 million settlement for all remaining Durom Cup lawsuits
Deadline for people to register for the settlement
Deadline for people rejecting the settlement offer to schedule mediation
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.
Conditions that Reduced Zimmer Settlement Offers:
Conditions that Reduced Zimmer Settlement Offers:
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.
Durom Cup Fixed Award Qualifications:
As of December 2017, more than 250 lawsuits remained unresolved.
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.
|Class Action Name||Court Location||Date Certified as a Class Action|
|Jones v. Zimmer GMBH et al||British Columbia||September 2, 2011|
|McSherry v. Zimmer GMBH et al||Ontario||September 24, 2014|
|Major V. Zimmer Inc. et al||Quebec||May 6, 2016|
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.
In a letter to the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, Dorr described problems with the device:
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.
Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.
Terry Turner is an Emmy-winning, former television journalist. He is an associate member of the American Bar Association, the ABA’s Health Law group and a member of the Alliance of Professional Health Advocates. He holds six certificates in Health Literacy for Healthcare Professionals from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a Washington-based investigative reporter, he routinely reported on health and medical policy issues before Congress, the FDA and other federal agencies. Terry received his B.A. in Media Arts from Lyon College.
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