Biomet is one of the manufacturers of the much-maligned metal-on-metal hip implants. It makes the M2A Magnum, an all-metal implant that plaintiffs and scientists believe causes serious medical problems, including failure and blood poisoning.
In late June 2012, plaintiffs in several federal Biomet hip implant lawsuits filed a motion with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, asking that all federal Biomet hip implant injury cases be grouped together in one court, before one judge. Specifically, the plaintiffs asked the court to move the cases to the Northern District of California, or the Southern District of New York.
This move is basically a request to open up a metal-on-metal hip implant class action lawsuit. In multidistrict litigation (MDL), all cases of the same type that are filed in federal courts are automatically sent to one judge. That judge oversees the cases and ensures that there is unified (and not duplicative) discovery. The judge may encourage early test trials (called bellwether cases), from which the parties can determine the relative strengths and weaknesses of their cases, as decided by a jury. Those test cases often allow the lawsuits to settle en masse. If they don’t settle, or if an individual plaintiff chooses not to settle with the group, the non-settling cases are sent back to their home federal court for further proceedings, including trial.
The benefit of a hip implant MDL is that it saves money for each plaintiff—they don’t have to perform the same discovery as hundreds of other cases, but can share in a common workload. Additionally, these cases tend to be extremely document-heavy—there are hundreds of thousands, if not more, pages of documents that the manufacturer must produce for review and inspection. For one law firm to inspect all of those documents is nearly impossible—with numerous law firms on the same case, however, the workload and cost can be shared. If hip implant settlements do occur, that means more money in the plaintiff’s pocket. There were at least nine Biomet metal hip implant lawsuits filed by the time the plaintiffs requested consolidation; that number is increasing almost every day.
Our lawyers believe the Biomet hip implants are defective, like all metal-on-metal hip implants that are on the market. Doctors, consumers, and manufacturers have reported 450 complaints about the Biomet M2A Magnum. The evidence suggests that these hip implants are failing at a rate higher than standard hip implants, which often use a metal ball in a plastic cup. Not only do they require early replacement surgeries, but the metal-on-metal devices cause friction which wears away at the metal components and is prone to depositing metal shavings into the surrounding tissue and in the bloodstream. Those metal fragments can cause irritation, inflammation, and metallosis, which is metal poisoning of the bloodstream.
Biomet will have the right to respond to the motion, and will likely either oppose consolidation and/or request that the cases be consolidated in what they consider to be a defendant-friendly venue. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will have a hearing (probably in September) to decide the issue. The ruling could come out at any time after that.
Contact Us For More Information
If you have questions about a hip implant, including whether it was metal-on-metal or whether it is responsible for your injuries, including pain, inflammation, blood poisoning, squeaking or subsequent hip implant surgeries, contact our metal hip implant lawyers at 1.800.553.8082, or online for a free consultation.