Litigation to Proceed Nationally Against Stryker Implants
Lawsuits can now proceed against Stryker Corporation for defective hip implant devices sold in Oregon and throughout the U.S. from 2009 to 2012. Late yesterday (November 5, 2013), Lake Oswego attorney Jeff Bowersox was named to the plaintiffs’ steering committee for the nationally coordinated lawsuits against the hip implant manufacturer. U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank, St. Paul MN, yesterday named a select group of attorneys to lead the nationwide litigation against Stryker Corporation. Judge Frank appointed committees for the plaintiffs’ lead counsel, liaison counsel and steering committee, as well as defendants’ lead counsel and liaison counsel. Frank is in charge of the multi-district litigation (MDL) set up to coordinate the thousands of lawsuits brought against Stryker by hip implant patients across the country.
“What’s important is the people who were injured now know the wheels are turning,” said Bowersox. “With the naming of the committee members, the litigation can move forward. The end is in sight for our clients and they can see a day coming when they will be compensated for their injuries.”
Bowersox says he represents over 100 Oregonians who received Stryker implants and have been dealing with the effects of having the defective devices in their bodies. Stryker began selling its Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implants in early 2009. As patients started walking around with their new hips, doctors began receiving complaints of serious complications, most involving pain from metal contamination of the decomposing device. Both products were recalled in July 2012.
The Stryker hip implants bypassed the FDA’s rigorous product approval process through a special “exemption” application that allowed the Kalamazoo MI-based manufacturer to sell the devices without normal FDA testing. Bowersox points out the defective devices were sold without any human testing whatsoever and Stryker purposefully avoided the detailed FDA testing process that some other hip devices had to undergo before sale in the U.S.
“My clients, the people who received these implants, have had their lives tragically altered,” said Bowersox. “First they went through the pain and agony of a deteriorating hip, then the replacement surgery, which is a painful ordeal. They’ve dealt with the pain and poisoning of the metal deterioration inside their body. They will all need additional surgery to remove and replace the bad implant, and that surgery is much more difficult and more complicated than what they’ve already been through.”
Bowersox estimates there were 30,000 Stryker hip implants sold nationally and he expects a large percentage of those to become cases against the manufacturer. When several similar cases arise against a common defendant, the federal courts step in and form a multi-district litigation or MDL to coordinate and manage the legal process. Bowersox said the MDL is for the liability portion of the case, not the injuries or damages, as those are different for each individual.