Defendants Seek to Limit Scope of Zimmer Knee MDL
Fewer plaintiffs will participate in the Zimmer NexGen knee lawsuit MDL (multidistrict litigation) now that four cases have been excluded from proceedings. On May 3, 2012, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation found that four of 14 contested cases should be remanded to the courts where they were originally filed. Cases that are remanded from the MDL proceed to trial or settlement as any other individual case would, irrespective of the consolidated proceedings.
Four cases remanded in Zimmer NexGen knee lawsuit MDL
At issue is the scope of the Zimmer Knee MDL currently underway in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The defendants, including orthopedics-manufacturer Zimmer, have argued that the MDL should be limited to cases involving only the NexGen Flex Femoral Component or the MIS Tibial Component.
The plaintiffs have argued that the MDL was established to handle claims related to alleged Zimmer knee failure involving all “NexGen-branded” knee components. Under the defendants’ view, only seven components would be eligible for consideration, while the plaintiffs contend that all 40 NexGen products should be included in the consolidated litigation. Two of the Zimmer NexGen knee lawsuit actions selected for remand originated from Minnesota. The others are from Pennsylvania and Michigan.
It is as yet unknown whether the ten remaining contested cases will be remanded as well. Zimmer has reportedly argued that some cases involving its “Natural Knee” product line were also mistakenly allowed into the MDL.
Plaintiffs allege NexGen design defects caused Zimmer knee failure
Most traditional knee implants, which generally function for 15 years or more, rely on adhesives to cement the implant to the surrounding bone. Zimmer’s NexGen CR-Flex knee implants were designed to fuse to the patient’s bone naturally, without the aid of an adhesive.
Despite plaintiff allegations, no Zimmer knee recall
After implanting these devices in hundreds of patients, however, orthopedic surgeons found that the bone failed to fuse as expected in some cases, leaving the implant loose and unstable. Loose implants can cause crippling pain, loss of mobility, and damage to surrounding bone and tissue. Some patients who expected years of pain-free activity from their NexGen implants were faced with costly and debilitating revision surgeries within two years of their original knee replacement operation.
Despite allegations from plaintiffs about premature Zimmer knee failure, neither the manufacturer nor the FDA has issued a Zimmer knee recall.