$11 Million Awarded by Jury in Bellwether Conserve Hip Implant Trial

Jury Award Legal decision

On November 24, 2015, after only two weeks of trial, a jury awarded bellwether plaintiff Robyn Christiansen $11 million dollars.

In the lawsuit against Wright Medical Technology Inc., Ms. Christiansen alleged she suffered injuries after implantation of the Conserve Hip Implant System.

The trial, which began November 10 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia before Hon. William S. Duffey, Jr., ended with the jury awarding $1 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages.

Plaintiff’s Failed Hip Implant

In April 2006, Christiansen had the Conserve Hip Implant System implanted. In 2012, six years later, while exercising she felt and heard a crunching sound followed immediately by severe pain in the hip and groin. Diagnosed with a loose and displaced acetabular cup in the hip replacement, she underwent a revision surgery.

It was during this revision surgery that the doctor discovered signs of a metallosis reaction. The displaced cup and soft tissue damaged by the metal debris were removed at that time.

Wright Conserve Hip Implant Lawsuits & MDL

Beginning February 2012, all Wright Conserve cases filed throughout the federal court system have been centralized before U.S. District Judge William S. Duffey, Jr. in the Northern District of Georgia. An MDL reduces duplicate discovery and avoids conflicting pretrial rulings. The cases consolidated to this MDL include four Wright devices: Conserve Femoral Hip Surface Replacement, Conserve Plus Total Resurfacing Hip System, Conserve Total A-Class Advanced Metal, and Conserve Total Hip System.

Judge Duffey established a bellwether program where a small group of cases has been prepared for early trial dates. A bellwether trial is intended to test the legal issues and whether juries will award damages and, if so, how much. Christiansen’s case, filed in January 2013, was the first bellwether test case.

Christiansen’s lawsuit claimed strict product liability, negligence, fraudulent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, negligent misrepresentation, and punitive damages.

There are more than 500 product liability cases currently pending as part of this MDL.

Failing Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants

Although artificial hip replacement systems are expected to last about 20 years, many of the metal-on-metal systems are failing much sooner.

In the case of Wright Conserve, many claim the device is defective; that the ball and socket bearings generate metal debris that, over time, causes damage and death to the surrounding tissue and bone, metallosis and toxicity.

During the trial, Christiansen’s lawyers argued that Wright represented to her physician and doctors in general that the Wright Conserve Metal-on-Metal hip:

  • Was the latest and greatest design in hips
  • Was designed for an active lifestyle
  • Would last a lifetime
  • Had extensively tested the product
  • Solved the metal ion problem and deemed it to be safe

In re: Wright Medical Technology, Inc. Conserve Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2329; Christiansen, No. 13-00297 (N.D. Ga.).

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The attorneys at Nash & Franciskato offer a free, no-obligation case review to individuals who have suffered complications allegedly associated with failed metal-on-metal hip implant systems. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact us today.

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