Plaintiffs Settle First Group of Wright Metal-On-Metal Hip Lawsuits for $240M
After a hard-fought, almost 5-year battle in federal court in Atlanta, Georgia and in California state court, we are pleased to announce a settlement program that will resolve a significant number of claims against Wright Medical. Wright Medical has agreed to settle approximately 1,300 claims of certain Wright Medical metal-on-metal hip implant patient-claimants whose hips were revised at least 150 days and no more than eight years post-implant. There are approximately 2,300 pending claims involving Wright Medical’s Conserve, Lineage, and Dynasty metal-on-metal hips. Plaintiffs’ Leadership Counsel’s retained financial analysts have been evaluating Wright Medical’s ability to settle these cases for years. Based on that analysis, we believe that Wright Medical was not in a position to and therefore could not agree to settle the remaining claims involving revisions occurring after eight years or other cases that it deemed not qualified at this time. During the negotiations with Wright Medical, it was made clear that claims for revised Wright metal-on-metal hips that are not included in this settlement will be part of subsequent settlement programs.
The Wright Conserve Multi-District Litigation (MDL) was consolidated in February 2012 in federal court in the Northern District of Georgia before the Hon. William S. Duffey, Jr., United States District Judge. Additionally, a Judicial Council Coordination Proceeding (JCCP) petition was approved in May 2012 before the Hon. Jane Johnson, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, consolidating California state-court cases involving Wright Medical hip replacement and revision matters, including Wright Medical’s Conserve, Lineage, and Dynasty hip implants. The Hon. Diane M. Welsh (Ret.), led the extended settlement negotiations and tirelessly worked with the parties for several years to help facilitate the settlement.
Wright Medical’s hip and knee division (OrthoRecon) was sold in January 2014, and the successor corporation has a defense that it did not inherit the liability. Our financial analysts’ review further indicated that Wright Medical’s ability to fund this settlement depended largely on insurance coverage and a bond issue used, in part, to raise money for this settlement. Wright Medical has been engaged in litigation in Memphis with most of its insurance carriers and recently finalized an agreement with 3 of the carriers. It remains in litigation or coverage disputes with its remaining carriers. In light of our analysis of Wright Medical’s financial condition, this is a timely and meaningful settlement, offering $170,000 to claimants who had the monoblock Conserve Cup, the device with the most frequent failures, and $120,000 to those who had the metal-liner Dynasty and Lineage devices. An additional, but capped, limited fund is also available for claimants who suffered discrete and defined claims of extraordinary injury. More importantly, the settlement program calls for pre-qualification, without registration, coupled with a very simple administrative process for claimants not pursing extraordinary injury claims that will lead to expeditious payments expected to be largely complete by summer 2017. Counsel for eligible claimants will be notified of their pre-qualification by February 3, 2017.
Plaintiffs’ Leadership Counsel consists of Raymond P. Boucher of Boucher LLP in Woodland Hills, California, firstname.lastname@example.org / 818-340-5400; Michael L. McGlamry of Pope McGlamry, P.C. in Atlanta, Georgia, email@example.com / 404-523-7706; Helen Zukin of Kiesel Law in Beverly Hills, California; Peter Burg of Burg Simpson in Englewood, Colorado; Christopher Yuhl of Yuhl Carr, LLP in Marina del Rey, California; Sean Jez of Fleming Nolen & Jez, L.L.P. in Houston, Texas; and Ellen Relkin of Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. in New York, New York.