As Stryker hip lawsuits continue to pile up (a result of the 2012 Rejuvenate and ABG II Modular-Neck Hip Stem recall) in both New Jersey Superior Court and in Minnesota’s Federal Court, we’re now seeing the process move forward to Phase II Mediation, as part of multicounty litigation underway in New Jersey’s Bergen County. In this continually evolving, nationwide mass tort case, early implementation of Phase II mediation could pave the way for quicker Stryker case resolutions than lengthy, full-fledged trials would allow.
In addition to the federal multidistrict litigation being handled here in Minnesota by Judge Donovan Frank, there are roughly 642 lawsuits undergoing early mediation in New Jersey, home to Stryker’s parent company Howmedica Osteonics Corporation, manufacturer of the Stryker Rejuvenate Hip Stem and the ABG II Modular Hip Stem.
Like the federal litigation, the Supreme Court consolidated these state cases into an MCL, or multicounty litigation, to streamline the process, averting the more tedious proceedings of multiple claims. Superior Court Judge Brian R. Martinotti is overseeing the pretrial mediation in Bergen County.
PHASE I AND II
A case management order from December 16th declared that four of the ten hip lawsuits selected for Phase I mediation in New Jersey have been settled. Mediation was to continue for three of the remaining cases in January. A resolution was unreachable in two of the cases, and one was withdrawn due to the plaintiff’s ongoing medical treatment, according to the document.
The court order also detailed the beginnings of Phase II mediation, which is scheduled to get underway in early 2014. By January 10th, a list of 42 cases was required to be submitted for the early mediation pool. Of those, 10 lawsuits will be selected for Phase II, four chosen by the court, and three by each of the parties.
Roughly 20,000 individuals in the U.S. have been implanted with one of the devices since they hit the market in 2010. Currently, Stryker Orthopaedics faces about 1,000 complaints regarding problems with their hip implants – a number that is expected to increase.
In a Wall Street Journal article from October 23, 2013, Stryker stated that it may spend as much as $1.13 billion on litigation expenses – their previous estimate was nearly half that.
Right now everyone’s waiting to see how the pretrial mediation unfolds, as it will set the stage for what comes next. Hopefully it will continue to go favorably, saving everyone a lot of headache and time.