An Atlanta jury slapped Wright Medical with an $11 million verdict in a bellwether trial alleging the company’s metal hip implant was defectively design caused serious injuries.
Plaintiff Robyn Christiansen, a former ski instructor from Utah, filed the lawsuit in 2013 claiming the company’s Conserve hip implant loosened inside her body and damaged surrounding tissue. The lawsuit was heard by U.S. District Judge William Duffey in the Northern District of Georgia.
Christiansen says when she initially consulted with her doctor in 2006 about hip replacement surgery, he recommended Wright’s Conserve implant because its metal-on-metal construction was more durable than traditional ceramic or plastic hip implants. Most artificial hips are designed to last 20 years or more.
However, six years later, Christiansen says she started having severe pain in her right hip. She underwent revision surgery to remove and replace the defective device, during which her surgeon discovered that metal debris from the implant had inflamed and damaged surrounding tissue.
The verdict is an early blow to Wright, which faces hundreds of lawsuits in a federal multidistrict litigation. Wright is one of several medical device companies fighting lawsuits over allegedly defectively designed metal-on-metal hip implants. Christensen’s lawsuit also claims Wright misrepresented the device’s safety.
The jury award includes $1 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages.
Source: Fierce Medical Devices