Monday, January 16, 2012

Faulty Zimmer Hip Implant Goes to Court

On October 20, 2011, Tina Muetz filed a lawsuit against Zimmer Inc., alleging that the company's Trilogy Acetabular Hip System had failed. Muetz's case, which will be tried in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota, comes on the heels of similar lawsuits involving a different Zimmer product – the Metasul Durom Cup, which went through it's own Zimmer hip recall.

Zimmer Patient Experiences Total Device Failure

In July 2009, Muetz, then a 34-year old surgical technician, underwent surgical implantation of Zimmer's Trilogy Acetabular Hip System. The plaintiff hoped to return to the active lifestyle she so missed, which included outdoor activities like hiking and fishing.

In January 2010, just six months after surgery, Muetz's hip replacement dislocated for the first time. Over the next four months, Muetz experience five additional dislocations, which caused her "incredible suffering and trauma." Instead of giving her a new lease on life, Muetz's hip replacement had turned into a nightmare. The resulting pain obligated her to leave her job and undergo numerous hospitalizations. On September 29, 2010, just 14 months after she had received her new hip, Muetz checked into the hospital for total revision surgery. Doctors completely removed the Trilogy Acetabular Hip System and replaced it with another implant.

After surgery, Muetz's surgeon commented that, "the polyethylene liner of the acetabulum had fractured… and when the ball would come in contact … it would dislocate." In other words, the Trilogy Acetabular Hip System underwent a similar Zimmer hip failure, causing significant pain, loss of mobility and reduced quality of life.

Muetz Suit Claims Reckless Negligence

In her hip replacement lawsuit, Muetz alleges that Zimmer's label was "misleading and inaccurate," and that the manufacturer exhibited "careless, reckless and wanton" negligence by failing to warn doctors and their patients of "the true risks of the Zimmer hip system."

If Zimmer does not pursue an out-of-court settlement, the plaintiff and her Zimmer hip lawyer will seek actual and punitive damages for Muetz's pain and suffering, as well as emotional damages. Additionally, Muetz asks for compensation of lost wages and future earnings, and also for court costs and attorney's fees.

After the 2008 Metasul Durom Cup recall, Zimmer established a settlement fund to cover payouts to injured plaintiffs. If Muetz's case is successful, Zimmer's corporate coffers, which have reached at least $145 million, may reopen to Trilogy Acetabular Hip System patients.