The Zimmer Durom Acetabular Component is a newer type of artificial hip part which is designed for use in combination with Zimmer’s Metasul Metal-on-Metal Tribological Solution Large Diameter Heads (LDH). The Zimmer Durom cup hip replacement is a monoblock of cobal chromium alloy which was introduced in Europe in 2003 and approved in the United States in 2006. In May 2008, Zimmer sent a letter to healthcare providers indicating that they were initiating an investigation into the complaints of Zimmer Durom Cup complications. After reviewing data on over 3,100 cases, Zimmer suspended sales of the Durom artificial hip component in July 2008. All federal lawsuits over problems with Zimmer NexGen knee replacements have been consolidated for pretrial proceedings as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, which will be centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Shortly after the Zimmer Durom Cup lawsuits were centralized, U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo granted defendants an extension of time for responding by motion or answer to complaints that were filed and issued a stay for all outstanding discovery proceedings. The action was taken so that settlement negotiations could continue in individual cases, as mediation had been successful in resolving many cases before the MDL was formed. In an order issued on May 3, Judge Arleo lifted the stay with respect to the seven non-settling Zimmer Durom Cup lawsuits, allowing the parties to begin the exchange of information needed to prepare the cases for trial. The parties have also been permitted to proceed with depositions with respect to common issues and case-specific issues in the non-settling cases after June 15, 2011. In addition, a status conference has been scheduled for June 29.
In October 2008, Zimmer disclosed that they had set aside $47.5 million to settle Durom Cup claims, and they indicated during their fourth-quarter of 2008 earnings report that the reserves had been increased to $69 million. The $75 million reported last year appears to be in addition to that amount. More lawsuits are expected over the coming years, the New York Times said, and some experts believe the litigation surrounding “all-metal hips may emerge as the largest product liability cases of this decade.”