Plaintiffs are claiming they suffered injuries caused by complications arising from Smith & Nephew’s hip resurfacing system. Plaintiffs state that the BHR system uses a cobalt-chromium alloy, which is a “metal-on-metal” design and results in cobalt and chromium ions from the implants migrating into surrounding tissues. This causes pain, metallosis, and bone and tissue necrosis.
Lawsuits were filed in various federal district courts around the country. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (“JPML”) consolidated these cases in the District of Maryland in April 2017, because the lawsuits share factual and legal questions regarding the design, manufacture, marketing, or performance of the BHR system. Thus, the JPML concluded that consolidation would be more convenient for the parties and witnesses involved and would promote the just and efficient conduct of the litigation. The JPML also added a Total Hip Arthroplasty (THA) track to the MDL. As the MDL court website explains, “THA devices are comprised of BHR and non-BHR components and lead to many of the same injuries caused by BHR devices.”
The MDL court just released a status update. There are 80 or so Total Hip Arthroplasty cases pending in the Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hip Resurfacing Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation (MDL 17-md-2775). The Court’s Order notes that there will be a master complaint in the next few weeks and a short form complaint by the end of August. Discovery will be underway by September. There will be a motion to dismiss coming in that same timeframe, likely related to preemption, which is an issue that sometimes arises in medical device litigation. There is also mediation efforts underway.
There are over 300 BHR cases filed within the MDL. Defendants are briefing a motion for summary judgment regarding the statute of limitations. Basically, Defendants will argue Plaintiffs did not file their cases on time. There will be an oral argument at the next conference, which is August 29, 2018. There are some procedurals orders coming down soon that have to do with the use of MDL centrality (software related to filing lawsuits and filing within MDL court dockets) and the protective order to reflect the recent General Data Protection Regulation and foreign data. As one site explained, “The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), agreed upon by the European Parliament and Council in April 2016, will replace the Data Protection Directive 95/46/ec in Spring 2018 as the primary law regulating how companies protect EU citizens’ personal data.”
If you or a loved one has suffered from a BHR Hip Device, there is still time to act. Contact us today at KBA Attorneys. At KBA Attorneys, we have litigated medical devices cases for many years and are here to help.