Hip implant device manufacturer Wright Medical Group announced on November 2, 2016 that it will pay $240 million to settle approximately 1,300 lawsuits filed against the company. For five years, Wright has been the subject of multidistrict product liability litigation across the country, and plaintiffs claim the manufacturer’s Conserve Cup is prone to failure, serious injury and other complications.
Wright Reaches $240 Million Settlement in Hip Implants Claims
Two years ago, Wright sold the knee and hip implant division that manufactured the allegedly defective hip replacement devices to a Chinese firm. Now, Wright will settle lawsuits filed by patients whose Wright-made hip implants allegedly failed in a time frame ranging from 150 days to eight years following hip replacement surgery, according to the lawyers for the plaintiffs.
As part of the agreement, Wright will pay $120,000 to each claimant fitted with either a Lineage or Dynasty replacement hip and $170,000 to each claimant implanted with the Conserve Cup device. Wright also agreed to establish a fund to reimburse patients who suffered from severe or “extraordinary injury” due to implant failure.
The settlement affects consolidated litigation in Los Angeles Superior Court in California and multidistrict litigation currently underway in federal court in Atlanta.
According to plaintiffs counsel, Wright Medical’s ability to reach and fund a settlement with the plaintiffs has been hampered by a disagreement with its insurers, which was resolved in part in early 2016. Eventually, the company used a bond and negotiated payouts from three of its insurance providers to finance the most recent settlement announced in November 2016.
Wright Accused of Defective Hip Replacement Devices
According to plaintiffs and experts in the medical industry, the hip implant devices featured a metal-on-metal design that caused it to wear. Due to normal wear-and-tear, rubbing of the metal components against one another caused the implant to shed metallic debris into the surrounding tissue, leading to a condition known as metallosis. As a result, patients suffered from poisoned and inflamed tissue as well as dissolved bone that anchored the implant in place. Court records indicate that this metallosis ultimately caused the implant to fail.
Moving Forward Following the Settlement
In a news release, Wright said that it would fund $180 million from “cash on hand” and that its insurers have agreed to pay an additional $60 million to finance the settlement. According to the company’s chief executive officer and president, Robert Palmisano, Wright Medical is pleased to have reached an agreement. While the settlement only addresses approximately 85 percent of the claims filed against the company in the U.S., Palmisano maintains that it removes a great deal of the uncertainty that has surrounded the litigation.
The most recent Wright hip settlement follows an $11 million jury verdict, including punitive damages of $10 million, in a bellwether case against Wright Medical that was tried in Atlanta federal court in late 2015. Eventually, the U.S. District Court judge reduced the jury’s initial punitive damages award to the 73-year-old ski instructor to $2.1 million. Despite the verdict, plaintiffs feel the win was important as it showed the manufacturer that plaintiffs had meaningful, viable cases alleging injury, metallosis and severe health complications.
Contact a Medical Device Injury Lawyer Today for More Information
If you or a loved one was fitted with the Wright Conserve hip replacement device and you are suffering from pain, difficulty moving, swelling or other complications, consider working with a medical device injury lawyer to learn more about your rights. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your condition, you could be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation from the manufacturer. Contact us today for a free consultation, and we can help you determine if you are eligible to recover damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and more.