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Biomet Hip Lawsuit Filed in Indiana District Court

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Over the past several years, the Biomet ball-and-socket hip replacement system has drawn increasing scrutiny from patients, physicians, medical professionals, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Namely, the M2A Magnum Hip Replacement System and the MoM Total Hip Arthroscopy System have come under fire for allegedly cause severe pain, mellatosis, revision surgeries and a mobility nightmare in hundreds of hip replacement patients.

According to a recent Biomet hip lawsuit filed January 16, 2015 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana – South Bend Division, the makers of these hip replacement systems failed to properly and adequately warn patients of known dangers associates with the products, choosing instead to continue marketing the products and turning a profit at the expense of patient suffering.

Accordingly, the plaintiff is seeking damages to not only cover the costs of all medical expenses incurred as a result of the faulty mechanism, but is seeking general damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages in excess of $75,000. In general, civil defendants have 30 days to file an answer to a plaintiff’s allegations – although this time may be extended if the defendant raises counterclaims or challenges to jurisdiction.

Factual allegations asserted against Biomet

The South Carolina-based plaintiff in the latest Biomet hip lawsuit raised a number of factual allegations against the defendant. At the outset, the plaintiff alleged that Biomet had knowledge of – or should have known – that its ball-and-socket hip replacement products posed a health threat to potential patients and should have taken steps to protect consumers from unnecessary harm and injury. The plaintiff compared the Biomet hip systems, which contain three components, to a traditional hip replacement system comprised of four component parts. The plaintiff pointed to defendant’s assertions that the three-part replacement system was “aggressively marketed” toward “young, highly active” patients due to its decreased likelihood of wear over time.

Nonetheless, contends the plaintiff, the MoM and Magnum designs are actually more likely to prematurely fail, as the three-component system is prone to loosen and deteriorate as compared with a four-component design. The plaintiff also pointed to several agencies and entities – including the FDA, Australian Orthopedic Association,  having raised concerns over the design in the past, tending to show that the defendant was aware of the problems and failed to adequately warn consumers.

Biomet hip replacement system complications

The plaintiff received the Biomet Magnum hip replacement system in September, 2006. Over the next several years, the plaintiff recounted experiences with painful and debilitating tenderness in the hip area, resulting in the need for a total revision surgery in 2012. Moreover, blood evaluations revealed a heightened presence of ion metals, including the presence of toxic cobalt-chromium.

The case raised several causes of action against the manufacturer, including:

  • Strict product liability – Failure to warn
  • Strict product liability – Defective design
  • Failure to properly manufacture the product and adhere to quality control
  • Breach of express and implied warranties the product is fit for its intended purpose
  • Negligence
  • Negligent misrepresentation

In addition, the plaintiff launched several state-level claims against Biomet, including violating South Carolina’s consumer protection laws and engaging in deceptive marketing practices.

To date, Biomet hip lawsuits have not been consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL), however it is not uncommon for plaintiffs with similar cases to combine their efforts into an MDL for purposes of efficiency and judicial economy.