Biomet Hip Replacement Class Action vs. MDL

Austin Kirk

By Austin Kirk
Posted August 20, 2012


A petition has been filed in federal court asking for all Biomet M2A-Magnum hip replacement lawsuits to be consolidated as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation. If the request is granted, all cases pending in U.S. District Courts throughout the country will be assigned to one judge for coordinated handling during pretrial proceedings. While many people confuse this process with being a Biomet hip replacement class action, the MDL process is actually different.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) is scheduled to hear oral arguments over the centralization of the federal Biomet hip replacement litigation on September 20, at the next scheduled hearing that will take place in New York, New York.

▸ Biomet Hip Lawsuits Involves Common Allegations

Several plaintiffs, who have filed complaints across the country, have joined the request to centralize the Biomet hip lawsuits as part of an MDL, which is designed to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues involved in all of the cases, eliminate conflicting pretrial orders from different judges and to serve the convenience of the witnesses, the parties and the courts.

There are about 40 Biomet hip lawsuits filed nationwide that allege individuals experienced problems as a result of design defects associated with the M2A-Magnum metal-on-metal hip system. In addition, it is expected that the number of complaints will increase in the coming months, likely involving several hundred cases before the first Biomet hip case reaches trial.

All of the complaints involve nearly identical allegations that Biomet failed to adequately research the design or warn about the risk of metallosis and early failure that may result from the microscopic metal debris released from the artificial hip replacement as the metal parts rub against each other.

Because the cases in an MDL are consolidate before one judge, consumers and even many lawyers who do not regularly handle mass-tort product liability matters, are likely to refer to such coordinated proceedings as a Biomet hip class action lawsuit. However, unlike a class action, where damages may be determined through a class representative, each lawsuit consolidated as part of any Biomet hip MDL will remain an individual case and any damages or settlement awarded will be based on the circumstances surrounding that plaintiff’s injury.

Although discovery and pretrial motions that apply to all cases are handled through the MDL, each plaintiff would still have the burden of establishing that their injury was caused by design defects associated with the Biomet M2A-Magnum hip.

Following the MDL proceedings, if an agreement to settle the Biomet Magnum cases is not reached or the litigation is not otherwise resolved, each lawsuit may be remanded back to the U.S. District Court where it was originally filed for an individual jury trial. Therefore, while many people consider a Biomet Magnum MDL the same thing as a class action, they are very different and each individual plaintiff does not lose their ultimate right to take their case to trial or decide whether to accept a settlement offer.

▸ Biomet Opposes M2A-Magnum MDL

While Biomet has filed a response with the U.S. JPML opposing the consolidation of the cases, it is widely expected that the Biomet Magnum hip MDL will be formed following oral arguments next month. Biomet has opposed the Plaintiffs’ request, arguing that consolidation is not necessary because they have demonstrated a track record or resolving or settling Magnum hip lawsuits “expeditiously”, and they argue that the cases will involve heavily individualized discovery, involving the specifics of each plaintiffs case.

However, the U.S. JPML has already consolidated at least three other hip replacement litigations as part of an MDL, where plaintiffs allege that they suffered various individual injuries as a result of design defects associated with other metal-on-metal hip replacements. These other MDLs include consolidated litigations for the recalled DePuy ASR hip, Depuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip and Wright Conserve hip.

It is likely that Biomet’s opposition is more about influencing where the MDL will be centralized. Plaintiffs have proposed the Northern District of California as the most appropriate forum jurisdiction,with the Southern District of New York as an alternate proposal. Biomet has suggested the District of New Jersey or Southern District of New York if an MDL is established.


The hip replacement lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are continuing to review potential claims for indidivuals who have experienced problems with a Biomet M2A-Magnum hip replacement. Financial compensation may be available for individuals who have experienced:

  • Hip Pain or Difficulty Walking
  • Loosening or Failure of a Biomet Hip Replacement
  • Hip Revision Surgery

To review a potential claim with our Biomet hip replacement lawyers for yourself, a friend or family member, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.

1 Comment • Add Your Comments

  • Sheldon says:

    I am suffering from extreme discomfort because of biomet m2a implant can I sue biomet for my pain and suffering. I am currently unable to work because I can’t sit or stand for long periods of time with out pain and discomfort.

    Posted on February 18, 2013 at 5:26 am

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