October 15, 2015 — The federal judge overseeing hundreds of lawsuits involving the Wright Conserve metal-on-metal hip implant has scheduled the first “bellwether” trial for November 9, 2015.
Wright Medical Technology is facing 539 lawsuits involving the Conserve, according to an update (PDF) today from judges overseeing the federal litigation.
The lawsuits are centralized in MDL No. 2329 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia under Judge William S. Duffey, Jr. In an order (PDF) dated September 21, he instructed parties to file motions and set the pretrial conference for November 2.
Plaintiff Robyn Christiansen is a resident of Utah who was implanted with the Wright Conserve in April 2006. Six years later, she developed complications and required revision surgery. She filed a lawsuit in January 2013 and her case selected for the first “bellwether” trial.
Christiansen claims the Conserve is defective because it lacks a polyethylene (plastic) liner. Instead, the metal femoral ball pivots inside a metal acetabular cup. The metal-on-metal component released toxic particles of chromium and cobalt into her body, causing tissue inflammation and premature loosening of the implant.
Christiansen’s doctor said he was told the Conserve was a good option for Christiansen because she was physically active. He claims Wright also marketed the Conserve as superior to hip implants with a polyethylene liner. Instead, studies have shown that metal-on-metal implants fail much faster than plastic or ceramic implants.
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