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On Wednesday, November 2, 2016, Wright Medical Group issued a news release disclosing that its subsidiary, Wright Medical Technology, Inc., reached an agreement to settle approximately 1,300 claims surrounding the company’s metal-on-metal hip products for $240 million.
In the suits that are consolidated in California state and federal court, the plaintiffs allege that they suffered injuries such as metal toxicity, infections and bone and tissue damage after being implanted with Wright’s Conserve, ProFemur, Dynasty and Lineage hip devices. The plaintiffs assert that the metal-on-metal implants were defectively designed and that Wright failed to adequately warn the public and medical community about the risks associated with the products.
According to Wright, the Master Settlement Agreement entered into on November 1 will only apply to plaintiffs with revision claims. Further, the agreement provides that the company will fund approximately $180 million of the settlement from cash on hand, and another $60 million will be funded from insurance recoveries. However, the settlement also includes a provision that gives Wright the ability to terminate the resolution if a minimum participation threshold is not met—requiring that 95% of all eligible claimants opt into the settlement.
In the news release, Robert Palmisano, the president and chief executive officer of Wright, stated, “the settlement will resolve approximately 85% of the known U.S. revision claims that do not have potential statute of limitations issues and removes a great deal of the uncertainty that has been associated with this litigation.”
It is estimated that there are roughly 1,300 claims that will not be included in the settlement—200 with an implant duration of over eight years, 300 that are subject to statute of limitations issues, 700 with non-revision claims and almost 100 others that have claims pending in courts outside of the federal multidistrict litigation and California coordinated proceeding.
The cases are: In Re: Wright Medical Technology, Inc., CONSERVE® Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2329 and In re: Wright Hip System Cases, Judicial Council Coordination Proceeding No. 4710.
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