February 10, 2014 — Biomet Inc. will pay at least $56 million to settle lawsuits involving the defective metal-on-metal M2A Magnum hip replacement. Hundreds of plaintiffs will receive a base award of $200,000, and they could receive more if additional medical procedures are necessary. About $6 million will be deposited into an attorney fee fund.
In 2012, the lawsuits were consolidated into a Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2391) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, the state where Biomet is headquartered. As of January 31, there were 1,012 lawsuits pending in the MDL.
Plaintiffs have until April 15 to participate in the settlement. Lawsuits filed after the deadline could potentially be resolved individually or through another settlement.
The problem with the Biomet M2A Magnum hip replacement is that it has a metal-on-metal design. When the chromium and cobalt components grind together, they can potentially release metal into the patient’s body. Metal debris can form an irritating residue around the hip, causing pain, inflammation, bone loss, soft-tissue growths, and loosening of the hip implant.
Metal ions can also seep into the bloodstream and cause metal poisoning (metallosis) and long-term systemic reactions in other areas of the body. Despite these serious risks, the Biomet M2A was never recalled.