Zimmer NexGen Knee MDL Prepares for Selection of Bellwether Cases
Nearly two years after all federal Zimmer NexGen lawsuit complaints were consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL no. 2272), the presiding District Judge has released details of the selection process for the initial wave of trials, set to be brought before a jury in early 2015.
Nearly a thousand product liability lawsuits have been filed by plaintiffs across the United States, each alleging that defective components in Zimmer’s range of knee implants caused the systems to fail within a few years. The scale of litigation prompted the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to consolidate cases in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Zimmer NexGen knee lawsuits were coordinated for pre-trial hearings in order to avoid contradictory rulings and prevent duplicative discovery. A small number of ‘bellwether’ cases – intended to help all parties gauge the likely reaction of juries – are currently being prepared for early trial dates.
Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer ordered both sides to select cases for the bellwether hearings no later than June 20, 2013. To be eligible for early trial, a case must have been transferred to the MDL prior to January 25, 2013, and plaintiffs must have provided medically authorized ‘Fact Sheets’ by April 25, 2013.
February 2014 is the proposed date by which cases should be selected for the first trial. Between July 2013 and February 2014, both sides must collect expert witness testimonies. Judge Pallmeyer indicated that the first Zimmer NexGen knee lawsuit will be ready for trial by January 2015. As of May 15 2013, there were at least 988 NexGen product liability cases pending.
Severe Zimmer knee complications alleged
The Zimmer NexGen system was introduced in 1995. Most of the components were approved without extensive clinical trials, as they were considered by the FDA to be “substantially equivalent” to existing medical devices already available and placed on the market via the agency’s 510 (k) fast track process.
However, a number of patients complained of various Zimmer knee complications, including difficulty walking and standing, persistent knee pain, swelling and popping, and crunching and clicking noises emanating from the knee. Some surgeons have suggested that the components can fail to fuse correctly to a patient’s thigh bone. Many patients required revision surgery to correct the problem.
Zimmer NexGen knee lawsuit MDL
When the MDL was established, there were 28 lawsuits on file. Since then, nearly a thousand cases have been transferred to the MDL, and that number is expected to increase as patients continue to file claims against the manufacturer. Plaintiffs who file a Zimmer NexGen knee lawsuit in state courts may end up in the federal system, at the request of Zimmer.
Anyone who has experienced Zimmer knee complications is advised to contact a a product liability lawyer to find out if they qualify for filing a complaint. Litigants with cases currently pending at both a state and federal level are generally seeking any combination of damages for medical expenses; rehabilitation costs and home healthcare; loss of wages; permanent disability damages; damages for pain and suffering.