When the DePuy hip implants were recalled back in August 2010, there was a huge amount of fanfare. By that point, the New York Times had already published two articles about the numerous problems with the hips, and lawsuits had started to mount. In contrast, when Stryker Orthopedics announced a recall of their Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck hip stems in July 2013, there was hardly any coverage at all.
The financial press wondered how it would affect the company’s earnings (if you're curious, as of January 2013 Stryker has set aside $133 million to defend and potentially settle the lawsuits), and lawyers of course begin advertising heavily for potential clients, but there weren’t any investigative reports and only a handful of newspapers wrote stories about the complications these patients were suffering. Maybe this was a matter of sheer numbers: there were over 93,000 DePuy ASR hip implants, compared to 20,000 Stryker Rejuvenate implants. But I think part of it was caused by “news fatigue,” when the media gets tired of a particular issue and some moves on. They had already reported so much on the DePuy hip implants that they just didn't want to address the Stryker implant; I think that's a pity, because it short-changes those patients, and it masks some of the very real differences between the cases, and fails to inform the public that all metal-on-metal hip implants are dangerous, not just the DePuy hips.
If you have one of these hip implants are trying to figure out what to do next, read on.
First, get yourself checked out. Even if you don’t have any symptoms of pain or swelling, you should schedule follow-up appointment with the orthopedic surgeon who implanted your Stryker Rejuvenate. They may want to perform certain blood tests (to look for metal poisoning or metallosis) or radiological studies like x-rays, MRIs, or ultrasounds (to see if your hip implant has damaged tissue around the implant).
Second, make sure your payments are in order. Your orthopedic surgeon should be familiar with the recall, and thus should tell you about Broadspire, the third-party company Stryker hired to evaluate and pay for testing, treatment, and revision surgeries. This is the same process, and same company, that DePuy hired for a similar function. Just don't be fooled into thinking Broadspire will offer you a fair settlement for your claim - Broadspire’s sole purpose is to pay for treatment the company admits were caused by the failing hips, and they won’t even try to pay you for your other damages, like lost income from time missed from work, or pain and suffering.
Third, research lawyers to file a claim on your behalf. As of January 2013, there are no class actions, and no consolidated multidistrict litigation involving the Stryker rejuvenate implants. Thus, as a legal matter, the cases are no different from a car accident or a slip and fall, in which each individual needs to file their claim before the statute of limitations runs. In many states, including Kentucky, Louisiana, and Tennessee, the statute of limitations in product liability lawsuits is a mere one year, and the clock might start taking with that recall notice. In other words, patients with Stryker Rejuvenate hips might lose the right to sue as early as July 2013. In most states, the statute of limitations for negligence and strict liability lawsuits, including product liability lawsuits, is two years, but there’s really no benefit waiting.
How do you find a good lawyer? In many ways, it’s the same way you find a good doctor or mechanic: most of what they do isn’t going to be obvious or apparent to you, so you need to look around and compare several options, talk with the ones you like, get a sense of how trustworthy they are, and then trust your instincts. We personally feel that clients are best served by law firms that have a long record of taking cases to trial, because it’s the threat of trial that causes insurance companies and corporate defendants to offer more to clients, because they know the law firm isn’t afraid of going the distance with the case.
We handle Stryker Rejuvenate claims for clients across the country, and we’re happy to review your case free of charge, and without signing an agreement with us. If you like us and we like your case, we’ll represent you on a contingent fee, where we advance all costs on your case and we are paid out of any settlement of the claim.