Stryker (NYSE:SYK) settled a quartet of the raft of lawsuits it’s facing over its recalled Rejuvenate hip implants, but couldn’t reach a deal on 2 other cases under mediation, according to court records.
The 1st phase of mediation under Judge Brian Martinotti of the New Jersey Superior Court for Bergen County involves 10 cases, according to the records, with 6 complete so far. Four of those 6 have been settled for undisclosed terms; another 3 are slated for mediation in January and the final case has been withdrawn from mediation "because of plaintiff’s ongoing medical treatment," according to the records.
Stryker announced the recalls of its Rejuvenate and ABG II devices in July 2012, saying they may be prone to "fretting and/or corrosion at or about the modular-neck junction," which may lead to pain, swelling and adverse reactions in surrounding tissue.
Settling the 4 cases – Mergel v. Howmedica Osteonics Corp. et. al., Seely v. Howmedica Osteonics Corp. et. al., Seeman v. Howmedica Osteonics Corp. et. al. and Dixon v. Howmedica Osteonics Corp. et. al. – at this early stage in the proceedings is a rare accomplishment even though they’re "a tip of the iceberg" in terms of the 100s of pending cases in state and federal courts, plaintiffs’ lawyer Ellen Relkin told the Bergen County Record. A Stryker spokeswoman declined to comment on the settlements, according to the newspaper.
The 2nd phase of the multi-county litigation in New Jersey is slated to involve another 10 cases, with 4 selected by Martinotti and 3 each selected by the plaintiffs and Stryker, according to court documents.
The hip implants aren’t the only recalls plaguing Stryker. In June 2012 the company yanked its Neptune surgical waste management device after receiving reports of serious injuries and 1 death. And earlier this year the FDA slapped its recall of 5 lots of the Oasys midline occipital plate with Class I status, denoting a product that could result in serious injury or death.
The Rejuvenate, ABG II and Neptune recalls combined to push Stryker’s bottom line down nearly 71% during the 3rd quarter. In October the company said the cost of the recalls of its Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implants could top $1 billion, nearly double its prior estimate. The Kalamazoo, Mich.-based orthopedic medical device company said in a regulatory filing that it now expects the recalls to cost between $700 million and $1.13 billion. Stryker’s previous estimate for the cost of the recalls was $400 million to $600 million.