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New Case Management Order Re: Stryker Hip Settlements

Stryker Hip SettlementsThe presiding judge in the ongoing state-level litigation process involving allegedly defective hip replacement devices in New Jersey has issued a new case management order with several provisions dealing with Stryker hip settlements.

The order concerns issues related to the mediation process for reaching settlements, the discovery phase of litigation, case management of existing Stryker hip lawsuits, and general stipulations regarding the complaints.

The Honorable Brian R. Marinotti issued the order on August 4 in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Bergen County as part of a group of cases, In Re: Stryker Rejuvenate & ABG II Modular Hip Implant Litigation taking place there as part of a multicounty litigation (MCL).

Case management order provisions related to Stryker hip settlements

Thousands of Stryker hip lawsuits have been filed so far by plaintiffs who contend that the hip implants in question have a high failure rate and have resulted in complications such as pain, mobility issues, hip loosening or dislocation, metallosis (metal contamination or poisoning allegedly stemming from the metal-on-metal hip design), and other serious problems. In some cases, Stryker hip implant patients have had to undergo revision surgery to replace their hip implants with a functional alternative. Litigation began to mount after the Stryker hip recall of 2012, when both the ABG II and Rejuvenate implants were taken off the market.

In addition to the MCL in New Jersey, many of the lawsuits have been consolidated as part of a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL), also in New Jersey, as well as MCLs on the state level in Minnesota and Florida. These litigation processes are designed to streamline legal proceedings by grouping similar cases together in the same court, with a shared process of discovery. The MCLs and MDL were also consolidated in order to facilitate resolution of as many complaints as possible through settlements.

The case management order in the New Jersey MCL reports that of a pool of 21 cases that have completed phase I or phase II stages of mediation, 19 have resulted in settlements, with the remaining cases still involved in the mediation process. Judge Marinotti also determined that the court would select an additional 10 cases to be candidates for stage III mediation, and the deadline for submission of a list of candidates was August 11.

Additional provisions in the case management order

In addition to several provisions concerning requests for documents or photographs of technical reports from the plaintiffs as part of the discovery phase, the case management order included other matters related to upcoming trials of cases that have not yet been resolved through settlement. The order notes bellwether selection process is at the “meet and confer” stage at this point. (“Bellwether” trials are preliminary trials designed to set precedent for future lawsuits that are part of the MCL.)

Plaintiffs who undergo hip revision surgery after filing complaints are also required to notify the court. The order deals with cases filed as part of the MCL that did not specifically relate to Stryker hip products, or which represented duplicate complaints regarding a Stryker hip replacement. And the order concludes with miscellaneous provisions, including the scheduling of the next case management counsel for September 22 of 2014.

  1. NY Times, Hip Makers Told to Study More Data
  2. New Jersey Courts, Stryker Hip/ABG II