The lawsuit was filed by Brian McDonald, an economist at the University of New Mexico who was implanted with a Zimmer M/L Taper Hip Prosthesis with Kinect Technology (NLKT) in 2010.
Mr. McDonald soon began experiencing extreme pain and required two revision surgeries in 2011. Both times, the defective components were removed and replaced, and both times, his symptoms returned.
He was diagnosed with adverse reactions to metal debris being shed by the implant. His bloodstream also had high levels of cobalt metal.
On March 31, Judge Nan G. Nash issued a verdict that Zimmer was liable for manufacturing and selling an unreasonably dangerous device. According to his decision:
“It is never appropriate to design a hip implant system that would create an unreasonable risk of injury to the health or safety of a patient. If a device is throwing off or creating so much metal debris and corrosion that it causes metallosis, that is not an acceptable risk of harm.”
Zimmer has sold about 148,000 of the MLKT hip replacements nationwide since 2007. It is comprised of multiple components, including a cobalt-chromium head and a titanium neck and stem.
Lawyers claim that implant’s combination of metals creates a risk of generating metal debris that can lead to metallosis (metal poisoning). Zimmer is also accused of inadequately testing the device for safety.
Mr. McDonald was awarded a total of $2.02 million, including $1 million in compensation for pain and suffering. He was also awarded $287,000 to pay for another upcoming surgery for his bad hip.
The judge denied compensation for punitive damages or claims of failure to warn, negligence, and breach of warranty claims.