Rejuvenate, ABG II Plaintiffs Seek Multi-County Designation for Their Cases Against Artificial-Hip Devices Maker; New Jersey’s Bergen County is Requested Venue – Weitz & Luxenberg
NEW YORK (Sept. 28, 2012) – Weitz & Luxenberg today announced that a number of geographically diverse patients injured by recalled Stryker Rejuvenate Hip Stems and Stryker ABG II Modular Hips have requested the state of New Jersey grant multi-county designation to their separate lawsuits against the devices’ manufacturer.
Multi-county designation will allow their cases to be combined for better management and, if the cases go to trial, they will be conducted in one place – the city of Hackensack in Bergen County, N.J., said attorney Ellen Relkin, Esq., of Weitz & Luxenberg, a preeminent mass-tort and personal-injury litigations law firm at the forefront of medical device and pharmaceutical litigation.
The plaintiffs – 10 in all – hail from New Jersey, Arizona, Florida, and Minnesota. By their counsel, Weitz & Luxenberg, they requested the multi-county designation in order to benefit all parties to the actions and the court system, according to Relkin.
“Multi-county tort management is efficiently conducted through consolidated conferences and hearings between counsel for the parties and the court,” said Relkin, who submitted the designation request in a Sept. 19 letter to New Jersey’s state-court acting administrator, the Hon. Glenn A. Grant.
“New Jersey courts allow multi-county designation of cases, formerly designated mass-tort coordination – in effect, combining them for discovery purposes into a single litigation,” explained Relkin, a nationally recognized authority on actions involving defective drugs and medical devices who was featured in a probing 2011 National Law Journal article about the current wave of lawsuits aimed at hip-replacement systems made by DePuy Orthopaedics Inc.
“This is appropriate when, among other factors, the number of involved parties are many and geographically diverse, the plaintiffs’ injuries and claims share commonalities that raise recurring issues of law and fact, all revolving around the same product,”she said.
“We requested Bergen County as the venue for this litigation because it is convenient to all parties including the defendant, Howmedica Osteonics, also known as Stryker Orthopaedics, which is based in Mahwah, N.J. Hackensack is closer to major airports than are New Jersey’s other multi-county courts. Moreover, the court in Bergen County has the necessary resources to handle what could potentially turn out to be a large litigation, and [New Jersey Superior Court] Judge [Brian R.] Martinotti – who also manages the DePuy ASR Hip litigation – has experience with the problems of metallosis caused by cobalt and chrome hip implants.”
Relkin noted that both the Stryker Rejuvenate and Stryker ABG II devices were recalled by the company on July 3. The reason, according to Stryker’s website was “...the potential risks associated with modular-neck stems....These risks include the potential for fretting and/or corrosion at or about the modular-neck junction, which may result in adverse local tissue reaction manifesting with pain and/or swelling.”
Adverse outcomes include metallosis (a build up of metallic debris), necrosis (cellular death of affected tissues), and osteolysis (death of bone cells), Relkin said. “Any of these events can necessitate revision surgery,” she said, noting that Stryker’s recall “implicated thousands of hip implants. Therefore, we anticipate that many more cases will be filed in the coming weeks and months.”
“We’re interested in hearing from individuals implanted with those,” said Relkin, adding that Weitz & Luxenberg is working alongside Florida law firm Searcy, Denney, Scarola, Barnhart & Shipley to lead the Rejuvenate litigation.
“We, along with our co-counsel, were the first in the nation to file a Stryker hip replacement lawsuit [Pingel v. Stryker Orthopaedics, Sup. Ct. N.J. BER L-005993-1],” said Relkin. “The initial Rejuvenate line has been on the market since at least early 2009, after receiving fast-tracked U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA] approval the year prior.”
She indicated that the fast-track process used was one available to products that are “substantially equivalent” to those already greenlighted for sale by the FDA under standard rules of scrutiny.
However, extraordinary pain and serious injuries from Stryker artificial hips have in some instances occurred just months after surgery, requiring the patient to undergo further surgery to have it removed, she observed.
Significantly, juries in New Jersey state courts have handed Weitz & Luxenberg a number of sizable verdicts against the makers and marketers of defective medications. One such win involving a $13.5 million award (McDarby v. Merck: Sup. Ct. N.J, Docket No. A-0076-07T1) was the nation’s only Vioxx verdict upheld on appeal. Another Weitz & Luxenberg victory in June of this year saw $9 million awarded to Accutane victim Kathleen Rossitto (Sup. Ct. N.J., Index No. ATL-L 7481-10), Relkin said.
About Weitz & Luxenberg:
Founded in 1986 by attorneys Perry Weitz and Arthur Luxenberg, Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C., today ranks among the nation’s leading law firms. Weitz & Luxenberg has secured more than $7.3 billion in verdicts and settlements for its clients. The firm's numerous practice areas include: asbestos and mesothelioma, defective medicines and devices (including defective hip implants http://www.hipimplantfailure.com Fosamax: http://www.femurfracture.us and Actos bladder cancer http://www.actoslegal.com/actos-and-bladder-cancer.html), environmental pollutants, accidents, personal injury, and medical malpractice. Victims of accidents are invited to rely on Weitz & Luxenberg’s more than 25 years of handling such cases – begin by contacting the firm’s Client Relations department at 1-800-476-6070 or at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for a free legal consultation. More information: http://www.weitzlux.com
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