“Judge Pallmeyer Orders A Stay On MDL 2242”

By Mark A. York (February 27, 2018)











(MASS TORT NEXUS MEDIA) The Zimmer NexGen Knee Implant MDL 2272 appears to be close to settling after both sides advised Judge Pallmeyer that they were actively pursuing a settlement, potentially ending the litigation which at one point involved nearly 1,800 individual lawsuits, of which most have been dismissed. The judge has previously pressed parties on all sides to negotiate an agreement to resolve the remaining cases.

The next status conference will be March 13, 2018 and the parties will update the court as to settlement negotiations. Zimmer has been on a winning streak after winning three of the prior bellwether trials, which may have contributed to the decision to move forward on settlement, see ZIMMER-BIOMET NexGen-Knee-MDL-2272 Briefcase.

According to the minimal information released by parties, they have reached a confidential settlement in principle that will potentially resolve all of the cases on the docket, with the court order of February 12, 2018 clarifying that settlement is imminent.

In the Feb. 12 order, Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois stayed all consolidated proceedings in the MDL, as well as any proceedings in individual cases in the MDL, including those selected for trial, pending the outcome and administration of the settlement.

The Zimmer NexGen MDL has been the primary litigation over allegations of failed knee implants and based on trial results and exclusion of experts, Zimmer Biomet and the defense team seem to have done very well in this litigation.

The FDA in 2007 cleared the NexGen Flex implant, designed to provide more flexibility than other knee replacement devices. Plaintiffs have not agreed in the thousands of product liability claims that were filed into the NexGen MDL, who’ve alleged that the device can’t withstand that extra flexion, despite the Warsaw, Ind.-based company’s marketing claims. The plaintiffs also allege that a design flaw makes the device more prone to premature loosening requiring revision procedures.

Since the Zimmer NexGen knee replacement system has been on the market, close to half a million people in the US alone have had Zimmer knee implants. However, the Zimmer knee replacement system, the NexGen CR-Flex Porous Femoral component, has been linked to a variety of problems, from loosening of the implant to failure of the replacement knee, requiring revision surgery, as the MDL plaintiffs have alleged.

 Zimmer Biomet denies that the devices are defective and said they have a successful track record; and in support of that stance, Judge Pallmeyer and 3 juries have agreed so far.

If approved, the settlement will end seven years of litigation, during which some 300 plaintiffs alleged the engineering changes that Zimmer made to allow a greater degree of flexibility in its NexGen components in fact caused greater stress on the knee implants. The NexGen high-flex components theoretically allow patients to bend their knees by 155 degrees, while standard NexGen components provide for up to 125 degrees of bending, according to the plaintiffs.

This case is: In Re: Zimmer NexGen Knee Implant Products Liability Litigation, case number MDL No. 2242 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Justice Rebecca Pallmeyer.

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