Biomet Inc. announced Monday that it will pay at least $56m as part of an MDL settlement, bringing an end to the metal-on-metal implant litigation that first began in 2012. The company is accused of manufacturing defective metal-on-metal hip implants that corroded and led to patient injury. While Biomet remains adamant that the implants were not defective, the company announced last Monday that it had agreed to fund a multi-million dollar account to pay out to qualified plaintiffs. The agreement was approved by U.S. District Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Patients fitted with the device have reported a range of complaints.
The implants at the heart of the MDL – a type of proceeding that allows cases filed across the country to be heard in a single court – were Biomet’s M2a-Magnum hip implants. Patients fitted with the device have reported a range of complaints, including metallosis, metal poisoning, chronic pain and bone loss. Other companies have also faced lawsuits alleging that their metal-on-metal implants are defective, raising serious concerns that metal-on-metal devices are inherently flawed. In November, J&J paid a hefty $2.5 billion to settle more than 8000 hip lawsuits (J&J's $2.5 Billion Settlement in DePuy ASR Lawsuits). J&J unit DePuy continues to face suits, as do Smith & Nephew and Wright Medical Technology Inc.
Under Biomet’s settlement, patients who required revision surgery will receive a base payment of $200,000, though the exact amount of each plaintiff’s award will vary based on their specific situation. To facilitate the settlement, the company has agreed to place $50 million into escrow – an earmarked account where the money will sit until making its way to the plaintiffs – with the remaining $6 million set aside for the attorneys who worked the case.
Almost 900 cases had been consolidated to Indiana federal court by the time the settlement was announced, although Biomet maintains that injuries and losses suffered by individuals implanted with its devices were not caused by the devices themselves. Were all of these patients just coincidentally hit with related problems? Maybe, but in a statement the company expressed its satisfaction that the suits had found their conclusion, adding that “Biomet appreciates the guidance provided by Judge Miller to bring this litigation to an expeditious and efficient resolution.”
Reuters reported on Monday that the agreement will cover pending and future cases up to and including those filed in federal court on or before April 15, 2014, so you still have time to file a lawsuit if you’ve been injured after receiving a Biomet m2a-Magnum hip implant.