New Jersey Centralization May Result in Stryker Settlements
On March 31, 2009, the New Jersey Supreme Court ordered that each pending and future Stryker hip implant lawsuit alleging injuries from the Trident hip implant systems be filed in the New Jersey Superior Court. Though the centralization was not designated as a mass tort, it is proceeding in Atlantic County and managed by the Honorable Carol E. Higbee.
Patients involved in Stryker hip litigation often complain that their Trident hips failed prematurely, causing bone chipping, bone loss, fractures, and popping and squeaking noises, all of which could lead to revision surgery.
Problems leading to a Stryker hip implant lawsuit
Stryker released the Trident implant systems in 2003. Ceramic-on-ceramic devices, they were originally designed to last longer and provide more durability than other metal-on-plastic or metal-on-metal devices. Starting in 2005, however, the company began to receive complaints.
In March 2007, the FDA sent Stryker a warning letter concerning their failure to maintain adequate procedures for fixing defective products in their Ireland facility. Later, in November 2007, the agency issued a second warning letter, noting the numerous complaints linked to the Trident hip products, including reports that they had failed to function and had poor fixation to the bone.
As a result of these warnings and customer complaints, Stryker implemented a Stryker recall of the Trident Acetabular Cup System and the Trident Hemispherical Cup System on January 22, 2008. The announcement of the recall increased awareness of the problems linked to the devices, encouraging more injured patients to file a Stryker hip implant lawsuit.
Stryker settlements likely in centralized litigation
By early 2009, an application had been made to the New Jersey Supreme Court requesting that the claims made against Stryker regarding the Trident implants be designated a mass tort and centralized in Atlantic County.
A mass tort typically involves large numbers of lawsuits at the state level that are associated with one product. Usually these lawsuits share factual and legal issues, so pre-trial processes can be combined to save judicial resources, increase efficiency, and reduce the likelihood of conflicting decisions. Each Stryker implant lawsuit, however, retains its individual nature. Any Stryker settlements are typically negotiating on a case-by-case basis.
On March 31, 2009, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that though they were not designating a mass tort, they were assigning all pending and future Stryker hip litigation involving Trident hip implants to Atlantic county for centralized management purposes. Judge Carol E. Higbee was assigned to manage the cases.
The first case management conference was held May 21, 2009. The next conference is scheduled for October 16, 2012. So far, there have been no Stryker settlements, but as the litigation continues, the possibility for settlements increases, particularly as Stryker recently announced a voluntary recall of its Rejuvenate Modular and AGB II modular-neck hip stems on July 6, 2012.