A favorable ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert L. Miller Jr., in litigation involving allegedly defectively designed metal-on-metal hip implants manufactured by Biomet will help move hundreds of plaintiffs in the multidistrict litigation toward either their day in court or a resolution of their claims, said Navan Ward Jr., Beasley Allen attorney and co-lead counsel for the Biomet Plaintiffs Steering Committee.
The favorable rulings by Judge Miller involve two bids by Biomet to dismiss certain claims in the multidistrict litigation that alleges the company’s metal-on-metal hip implants cause injuries to patients such as metallosis, a type of metal poisoning. The first bid involves allegations in jurisdictions that acknowledge state-of-the-art defenses. Judge Miller said that considering state-of-the-art laws in 19 different states would slow down the litigation since the laws differ from state to state, and the court would need to conduct a side-by-side comparison of various states’ definitions.
“Time in this court is better spent on matters, with application of state law left to the transferor courts, which more often than not are located in the state whose law provides the rule of decision,” the court said.
The second bid by Biomet involved the company’s Taper, ReCap, or metal-on-polyethylene hip replacements. Biomet claimed that the plaintiffs failed to provide expert testimony on the specific design defect with these devices. Judge Miller disagreed, finding that the plaintiffs’ experts sufficiently argued that the Taper, ReCap and metal-on-polyethylene devices were defectively designed.
The Biomet multidistrict litigation is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.