The New Jersey Supreme Court granted a motion to consolidate state court lawsuits in connection with Stryker LFIT Anatomic Cobalt Chromium V40 femoral heads filed against Howmedica Osteonics Corp, a division of Stryker Corp. The consolidated multi-county litigation (MCL) has been assigned for centralized case management to Bergen County Superior Court Judge Rachelle Harz, who also is presiding over MCLs involving the Stryker Rejuvenate Hip Stem and Stryker ABG II Modular Hip Stem. The case is In re: Stryker LFIT Anatomic CoCr V40 Femoral Heads Litigation, Case No. 624.
In April 2017, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) granted a request by plaintiffs to consolidate federal lawsuits involving the Stryker LFIT in a Massachusetts federal court. Consolidation in federal court is referred to as multi-district litigation (MDL). In 2016, Stryker recalled certain lots of the Stryker LFIT V40 hip implant device manufactured before March 2011, citing “higher than expected” complaints of taper lock failure, which is when the femoral head fails to lock into the stem at the stem-head taper junction.
In both the federal MDL and the New Jersey MCL the courts rejected Stryker’s request to limit the litigation to specifically recalled lot numbers. In both instances, the plaintiffs pointed out that there are reports of numerous Styker LFIT V40 device failures of non-recalled femoral heads. Moreover, it is plaintiffs’ theory that the problem with the Stryker LFIT V40 design is not limited to the femoral head design, but also its intersection with Stryker titanium alloy (TMZF) stems (e.g., Accolade, Meridian and Citation stems). Plaintiffs allege that the problem with the devices involves fretting and corrosion in the junction where the femoral head connects to the femoral stem. Corrosion at that junction has led to the systematic release of metal particles into surrounding tissue and bone, putting patients at risk of metal poisoning and other medical conditions that may require revision surgery.
The device also has been associated with sudden disassociation of the femoral head from the femoral stem. Excessive corrosion at the head-neck junction causes the femoral head to break off from the neck of the stem, become loose in the body, and separate from the acetabular cup where it is supposed to articulate as part of the joint. Disassociation requires immediate revision surgery and replacement of the entire femoral stem and femoral head.
The role of the combination of dissimilar metals (TMZF in the stem and chromium cobalt in the head) is discussed in an earlier blog at this site entitled, “Strkyer Accolade TMZF and LFIT V40 Chrome/Cobalt Hip Replacement Defects.”
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