Wright Conserve Hip Lawsuits Consolidated in Multidistrict Litigation

by NadrichCohenLLP on March 27, 2012

A third multidistrict litigation (MDL) has been established to handle federal lawsuits involving defective metal hip implants. The newest MDL involves lawsuits filed in connection with the Conserve metal hip, manufactured by Wright Medical Technologies.

According to court documents, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation voted to consolidate federal Wright Conserve hip lawsuits on February 8, 2012. The cases will now be heard in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, the Honorable William S. Duffey, Jr. presiding. Consolidation of the federal lawsuits is expected to reduce costs for both sides, as well as streamlining pretrial proceedings.

The plaintiffs allege that the Conserve line of metal hip implants manufactured by Wright Medical caused serious complications, including pain, swelling, tissue and joint damage, as well as loss of mobility. The plaintiffs claim that Wright Medical knew of the potential risks involved with the metal-on-metal hips but failed to adequately warn consumers of the dangers.

Additionally, some of the plaintiffs allege that the all-metal design of the artificial hips caused them to be exposed to high levels of chromium and cobalt, which resulted in further complications. Metallosis or metal poisoning caused by metal hip implants has been linked to further degeneration of the tissue surrounding the hip joint. Some research studies have also indicated that increased levels of metal ions in the blood caused by a metal hip implant may potentially be linked to an increased risk of developing other serious health conditions, including cardiomyopathy and certain forms of cancer.

The Wright Conserve MDL joins an Ohio multidistrict litigation which involves approximately 3500 lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Orthopedics in connection with its ASR metal hip implants. Approximately 93,000 ASR metal hips were recalled in August 2010 after research data from joint registries in the U.K. and Australia indicated that the devices were failing prematurely at an alarmingly high rate. Johnson & Johnson and DePuy also face approximately 900 claims in a Texas MDL that involve its Pinnacle line of hip implants.

The litigation centers on the Wright Conserve hip-replacement system, which includes the Conserve Femoral Surface Replacement, the Conserve Plus Total Resurfacing Hip System, the Conserve Total A-Class Advanced Metal and the Conserve Total Hip System. Similar to the ASR hips, the Wright Conserve hips were approved under the U.S.  Food and Drug Administration’s 510(k) process, which allows for a device to be approved without additional safety testing if it’s substantially similar to a product already on the market. Lawmakers have expressed concern over the efficacy of the 510(k) policy and legislation has been introduced which would allow the FDA to have greater oversight over the medical device approval process.

While the initial number of lawsuits consolidated in the Wright Conserve MDL is small, the numbers are expected to grow as more patients experience problems with their devices. Individuals who have experienced pain, swelling or other complications after being fitted with a Conserve hip implant are urged to speak with an experienced hip replacement injury lawyer to determine whether they may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.



Nadrich & Cohen, LLP is a national law firm specializing in representing victims who've been injured by defective medical devices, harmful prescription drugs, faulty products, transportation accidents and dog bites. For more information, visit http://www.personalinjurylawcal.com.

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