Record-Setting Mediation Settlement Sees More than $1 Billion Awarded to Recipients of Faulty Hip Replacements
Wednesday, November, 12, 2014
A dispute over faulty hip replacement parts sold by Howmedica Osteonics has resulted in not only a record-setting settlement of more than $1 billion, but in a surprisingly fast and streamlined mediation process.
The two devices at the center of the controversy are metal-on-metal hip replacements sold to patients in need of hip replacement surgery as upgrades from standard hip replacement parts. However, the two models made by Howmedica were faulty in design and corroded and degraded quickly after implantation, requiring further surgeries to fix the problem. Howmedica’s parent company Stryker recalled the implants in 2012.
More than 4,000 lawsuits were filed all across the country, which were consolidated into a single court action. The federal judge in charge of this consolidation, considering the age and health of the individuals involved, appointed an official mediator to initially hear 21 cases. This forced company representative to sit face to face with the victims.
This motivated Stryker to settle quickly, in order to minimize the pain and suffering of the victims, and a settlement was reached in an unheard-of four months.
The settlement is also designed to be open-ended as the company expects more hip replacements using these implants to fail over time, and has committed to compensating all patients who suffer these complications. As a result, the settlement may grow to an enormous size over time, breaking all records – and setting a precedent for speed and size of award in the process.