Judge Rules in Favor of Defense in Zimmer Biomet Defective NexGen Flex Knee Replacement Bellwether Lawsuit
Last month, Zimmer Biomet, a company that manufactures medical devices, won a lawsuit against a plaintiff who alleged that he suffered serious injuries as a result of being implanted with Zimmer Biomet’s NexGen Flex knee replacement device. The federal judge presiding over the Illinois lawsuit declared that the plaintiff had failed to establish that the product suffered from a design defect.
In 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for regulating medical devices, among other things, approved the NexGen Flex device. It is designed to offer greater flexibility than other devices designed for knee replacement.
Since then, thousands of lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturer, alleging that the device is unreasonably dangerous because it cannot withstand the force of extra flexion. The company, which is based in Warsaw, Indiana, denied that the device is unable to withstand this extra flexion in marketing materials associated with the device. Other plaintiffs have alleged that the device is susceptible to premature weakening because of a design flaw, leading to multiple revision surgeries to correct the errors.
In the proceedings and trials that have occurred regarding this litigation, the company has denied all of the claims against it, including both design defect and failure to warn claims. The first bellwether trial to go forth in the multi-district litigation proceeding for NexGen Flex products resulted in a jury returning a defense verdict. The jury concluded that the plaintiff failed to satisfy her burden of showing that the product was defectively designed and that the company failed to warn her about the potential dangers.
A multi-district litigation proceeding is used to consolidate cases that have similar factual allegations and legal theories. Unlike in a class action, however, each plaintiff must still prove his or her own damages. A bellwether trial is an initial case that is tried to help predict the common issues in the class and to gain a sense of what the damages may be.
In the second bellwether trial, the judge concluded that the plaintiff failed to meet his evidentiary burden on his claim that the design of the device caused it to loosen. The judge excluded testimony from one of the plaintiff’s expert witnesses, a physician who had treated the plaintiff. According to the judge, the evidence was excluded because the expert failed to offer any new conclusions and because he used inconsistent foundations for reaching his conclusions. The judge also noted that the plaintiffs did not offer evidence of a safer alternative design that Zimmer Biomet could have used.
If you or a loved one have suffered injuries as a result of a defective medical device, you may be entitled to compensation. At Moll Law Group, we have a diligent team of forceful and knowledgeable Biomet lawyers who have assisted victims throughout the United States, including in Illinois, California, Florida, and Texas. We offer a free consultation to help you learn about your rights and how our team may be able to assist you. Call us now at 312-462-1700 or contact us online.
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