Zimmer NexGen Knee Replacement Lawsuits Leap Forward

The Zimmer NexGen knee replacement lawsuits were initially scattered in courts around the country, until Plaintiffs with cases in federal courts requested consolidation of all federal cases before the MDL (multidistrict litigation). A hearing was held on July 28, 2011, and Zimmer opposed consolidation. The judicial panel noted:

On the basis of the papers filed and hearing session held, we find that these… actions involve common questions of fact, and that centralization… in the Northern District of Illinois will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of the litigation. The subject actions share factual issues arising from allegations that Zimmer’s “high-flex” femoral components… and/or the MIS Tibial component—all of which are used in knee replacement surgery—are prone to premature loosening, causing affected individuals pain and loss of movement, and often forcing them to undergo revision surgery.

On August 8, 2011 the MDL was approved, designated as In Re: Zimmer NexGen Knee Implant Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2272). There are approximately 117 (as of November 16 ) federal Zimmer NexGen knee replacement cases pending in the MDL in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer is presiding over these cases.

In the MDL, cases are continually being transferred from federal courts around the country. A number of the initial cases are fighting transfer to the MDL, essentially arguing that the cases did not belong in federal court in the first place (if a case should be filed in a state court, it is not eligible for the federal MDL). This is taking up the majority of the court’s time at this point. There have been two status conferences before the judge—the first devoted to selecting plaintiffs’ attorneys to run the show. The second hearing covered issues relating to protective orders and initial discovery plans. In the upcoming months, it is expected that substantive discovery will take place, including the ever-important exchange of documents about the Zimmer knee replacement parts and marketing.

The defective Zimmer components have long-since been recalled by the company, specifically the NexGen MIS Tibial parts.

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