By Emily Cox
A new lawsuit indicates that Zimmer hip problems with its M/L Taper replacement system caused it to fail prematurely, necessitating a California man to undergo revision surgery in both hips.
Glen Davis and his wife filed the complaint July 20 in the Northern District of California. The couple allege that Zimmer Biomet, Inc. knowingly designed, manufactured, and sold a dangerously defective hip replacement system with metal-on-metal components that posed a high risk of significant harm to recipients.
In December 2007, Davis received a Zimmer M/L Taper Hip System during right hip replacement surgery. Surgeons used the same system during a subsequent procedure for his left hip in August 2008. Both implants included Zimmer Versys cobalt-chromium femoral heads. In January 2017, Davis underwent revision surgery for his left hip. Surgeons removed his right hip in March 2018. Surgeons from both procedures noted that adverse local tissue reactions from corrosion caused the extensive hip problems. Normally, manufacturers specifically design these implants to prevent these types of reactions.
“The mechanism of failure in Plaintiff’s device was exactly the same mechanism of failure that Defendants had marketed and warranted would not occur because of the Zimmer M/L Taper Hip System design and composition,” the lawsuit notes. “It was also the same failure mechanism that the medical and scientific community had been studying and documenting in modular device designs since the 1990s.”
Zimmer Hip Problems Litigation
Currently, Zimmer faces dozens of similar complaints over hip problems involving the company’s metal-on-metal designs. All of the lawsuits allege that the Zimmer M/L Taper Hip Prosthesis and the Zimmer VerSys Hip femoral head are patently defective and dangerously incompatible with a tendency to fret and corrode, generating toxic metallic debris that accumulates in nearby tissue and the bloodstream, leading to blood poisoning, pseudotumors, and the body rejecting the implant. Consequently, the implants fail prematurely, necessitating risky removal surgery.
More than 100,000 patients have received these Zimmer hip replacements throughout the nation. As more individuals realize that Zimmer could have prevented their life-changing hip problems, many expect that the size of the litigation will continue increasing rapidly.
A group of patients filed a motion this past month to centralize all Zimmer lawsuits over hip problems from the VerSys, M/L Taper, and M/L Taper with Kinectiv Technology, requesting the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to consolidate the claims before District Judge Donovan Frank in the District of Minnesota to streamline pretrial proceedings.
The Zimmer hip problems lawsuits are the latest to emerge in a number of litigations over dangerously defective metal-on-metal hip replacement systems that the JPML has already centralized as their own separate MDLs. These litigations involve the DePuy ASR, DePuy Pinnacle, Biomet Magnum, Wright Converse, Stryker LFit v40, and Stryker Rejuvenate among other systems.
Metal-on-metal hip designs have enjoyed increasing popularity in recent years. However, the hip components carry high rates of failures and hip problems that often result in the need for revision surgery within a few years of implantation.