A Biomet hip implant system is the latest metal-on-metal hip replacement device facing the specter of a massive products liability litigation.  In a Transfer Order dated October 2, 2012, a panel of federal judges ordered that all Biomet Magnum M2A Hip Replacement Implant lawsuits now pending in federal courts be designated a multidistrict litigation (MDL) and transferred to the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana. All of the Biomet hip implant lawsuits will be presided over by U.S. District Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr.

The new MDL, entitled In re: Biomet M2a Magnum Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation – MDL No. 2391, involves claims that the Biomet hip implant is prone to shedding dangerous amounts of metal debris into surrounding tissue and recipients’ blood streams. This phenomenon can lead to serious complications, including early failure of the Biomet hip implant, destruction of tissue and bone, pain and swelling, and an adverse local tissue reaction known as metallosis. Plaintiffs in Biomet hip implant lawsuits allege the device maker knew about the problems associated with the metal-on-metal hip implant for several years, but concealed them from doctors who used the devices.

According to the Transfer Order issued by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on October 2, eight Biomet hip implant lawsuits are pending in six federal jurisdictions. There are potentially another 57 claims pending that make similar allegations. Two plaintiffs had petitioned the panel in June seeking the consolidation. Though Biomet opposed the centralization, the Panel asserted in its Transfer Order that the establishment of the MDL “will avoid duplicative discovery on such complex issues as the design, testing, manufacturing, and marketing of the M2a Magnum system and related motion practice.”  In choosing the Northern District of Indiana  as the venue for the Biomet hip implant lawsuits, the Panel noted the close proximity to Biomet’s Warsaw, Indiana, headquarters.

Biomet M2A Magnum Hip Implants have been the subject of an increasing number of adverse event reports to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) relating to acetabular cup loosening, metallosis, chronic pain, osteolysis (bone loss), effusions (liquid around the hip joint), the development of pseudotumors, and metal poisoning.  In 2011, data from the Australian National Joint Registry indicated that the Biomet M2a Magnum, when used in conjunction with the M2a cobalt chromium metal head, had a yearly cumulative revision rate of 7.2% after just seven years.

The entire class of metal-on-metal hip replacements has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years, as evidence has grown that these devices can shed large amounts of chromium and cobalt metal ions through wear. As this metal debris accumulates in the surrounding tissue and blood stream, patients can experience loosening of their implant, pain and swelling, heavy metal poisoning, and other complications that often lead to risky revision surgeries to replace the failing hip device. The FDA is currently reviewing metal-on-metal hip replacements as a class, and over the summer, an advisory panel the agency convened to look into the issue agreed that there were few reasons for using metal-on-metal hips.  The same panel also recommended that patients already fitted with metal-on-metal hip implant devices undergo regular imaging and blood tests to ensure their devices are not failing.

In addition to Biomet, several other manufacturers of metal-on-metal hip implants are facing large product liability litigations over their products’ alleged defects.   DePuy Orthopedics, which in 2010 issued a worldwide recall of its ASR hip implants, is named in a multidistrict litigation over those devices in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio.  DePuy is also embroiled in lawsuits over a metal-on-metal version of its Pinnacle hip implant in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas. Wright Conserve hip implant lawsuits are also consolidated in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia.

If you suffered serious complications following hip replacement surgery with a Biomet M2a Magnum Hip Implant, you may be eligible to file a metal-on-metal hip replacement lawsuit against the manufacturer. The attorneys at Bernstein Liebhard LLP are currently investigating and evaluating Biomet hip implant lawsuit claims on behalf of individuals who experienced early implant failure, metallosis, or other complications associated with metal-on-metal hip replacement devices. More information regarding Biomet M2a Magnum Hip Implant complications is available on our website, or contact us directly at (877) 779-1414.

Published October 3, 2012 by