A Los Angeles jury recently awarded $9.1 million to a California man who
suffered serious complications due to a defective hip implant. The case
involved the Durom Cup implant manufactured by Zimmer Holdings Inc.
The plaintiff, Gary Kline, 59, was implanted with the hip implant in 2007.
He had it removed 15 months later and subsequently endured additional
procedures, all of which resulted in scar tissue, muscle damage, and chronic
pain. His suit alleged that Zimmer had negligently designed the Durom
Cup and failed to warn about its defect.
According to the suit, Zimmer altered the Durom Cup’s plasma coating
prior to entering the U.S. market. However, the device maker failed to
conduct additional testing on the altered product and failed to disclose
that it had made a significant design change to the hip implant. After
a three-week trial, the jury found Zimmer liable for negligent design
and failure to warn, awarding Kline $153,317.94 in past medical expenses,
$2.4 million in past noneconomic damages, including pain and suffering
and mental distress, and $6.6 million in future noneconomic damages.
Zimmer is one of several device manufacturers facing product liability
lawsuits involving defective metal-on-metal hip implants. While plaintiffs
have achieved mixed results, DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. and Stryker Corp.
recently entered into billion dollar settlements.
As we have previously discussed on this San Diego Injury Blog, metal-on-metal
replacement joints fail at higher rates than other types, prompting warnings
from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and several product recalls.
The risk for patients is that as the device breaks down, tiny metal particles
may enter into the space around the implant, harming the surrounding tissue.
Some of the metal ions from the metal implant or from the metal particles
may even get into the bloodstream and cause illnesses in other parts of
the body, including the heart, nervous system, and thyroid gland.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured by a dangerous or
defective medical device, don’t hesitate to
contacta San Diego product liability attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.