Common Issues Persist and Prevail with Zimmer High Flex Knees

On July 28, 2011, the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation held a hearing to determine whether to centralize the lawsuits involving the Zimmer NexGen Knee Implant Products. Centralization would allow all federal cases involving the Zimmer NexGen high-flex knee replacement patients to work their cases before one judge. The Zimmer NexGen knee replacement patients prevailed in having their federal cases transferred into one court.

Zimmer argued against centralization of the cases involving the Zimmer NexGen knee replacement patients stating that each knee is distinct. However, the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation determined that the Zimmer NexGen Knee Implant patients present cases where there are common questions of fact and that the parts are not as distinct as Zimmer contends. The Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation was presented with Zimmer’s FDA applications for these products, which showed “significant similarities among the subject femoral components.” Counsel for Zimmer NexGen knee replacement patients also presented Zimmer’s surgical technique brochure and Zimmer marketing pamphlet, both explaining that the Zimmer NexGen LPS-Flex and Zimmer NexGen CR-Flex are largely identical components. In fact, the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation found the Zimmer NexGen knee replacement patients’ common issues involved:

allegations that Zimmer’s ‘high-flex’ femoral components (i.e., the Cruciate Retaining (CR) and Legacy Posterior Stabilized (LPS) components, and the ‘Gender Solutions’ versions thereof) 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.

The Court has agreed with the Zimmer NexGen high-flex knee replacement patients that they are having common issues with the Zimmer NexGen knee replacement implants. As argued in the Zimmer NexGen high-flex knee replacement cases, the Zimmer NexGen high-flex knee implant complications may include:

  • Knee complication and knee pain
  • Loosening of replacement knee implant
  • Knee implant failure
  • Revision surgery
  • Restrictions of daily activities
  • Diminished range of knee motion

Therefore, the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation ordered on August 8, 2011 that all federal cases involving the Zimmer NexGen ‘high-flex’ knee be transferred to the Northern District of Illinois and assigned to the Honorable Rebecca R. Pallmeyer.

Judge Pallmeyer is scheduled to having her first hearing on this litigation on September 16, 2011. At this time, Judge Pallmeyer will enter a scheduling order to start organizing the discovery which needs to be presented by each side before a trial may proceed.

Categories: Medical Devices