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From Products Liability Law Daily, February 4, 2014

Biomet agrees to $56 million settlement of hip replacement system claims

By Susan Lasser, J.D.

A settlement agreement has been reached between Biomet, Inc., the manufacturer of a metal-on-metal hip replacement system, and patients who alleged injuries by the devices. The agreement provides that Biomet will deposit $50 million in an escrow account to settle eligible plaintiff claims in the multi-district litigation. An additional $6 million will be set aside for common benefit attorneys’ fees and costs. The settlement was approved on February 3 by U.S. District Court Judge Robert L. Miller (In re: Biomet M2A Magnum Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation (MDL 2391), February 3, 2014, Miller, R.).

Background. The multi-district litigation (MDL) concerns Biomet, Inc.’s M2a metal-on-metal hip replacement systems—specifically, the M2a 38 and M2a Magnum hip replacement systems. The plaintiffs in the litigation have asserted claims against Biomet for alleged injuries and damages they allegedly suffered as a result of the hip replacement systems, which were implanted in the plaintiffs.

Settlement agreement. Under the settlement, eligible plaintiffs are described as having cases currently pending in the Biomet MDL. Also included are future cases filed in a federal court on or before April 15, 2014, relating to the matter.

The agreement lays out eligibility and compensation as well. Plaintiffs who have received a Biomet M2a 38 or M2a Magnum hip replacement system as part of an initial hip replacement that was revised more than 180 days after it was implanted will receive a base award of $200,000.00 (subject to certain discounts set forth in the agreement). For patients who received bilateral hip replacements, the agreement provides that each hip will be treated separately. The settlement also provides a process by which disputed cases will be mediated. According to the agreement, Biomet’s obligation to fund the settlement agreement requires 90 percent of the cases qualifying for payments and 67 percent of the “mediation” cases to accept a settlement offered.

Within 30 days of an agreement that, or when the court determines that, any of the 90 percent acceptance requirements described in the agreement’s paragraph relating to Biomet’s funding obligation have been met, Biomet must place $50 million in an escrow account to cover the plaintiffs’ claims. If additional funds are deemed required to cover the claims, Biomet is required to provide sufficient funds to pay accepted and agreed upon settlement payments.

The court also ordered the establishment of common benefit fee and expense funds. The first will be designated the “Biomet Hip Common Benefit Attorney’s Fee Fund,” and the second fund will be the “Biomet Hip Common Benefit Cost Fund.” Both will be subject to the direction of the court. Biomet is required to deposit $6 million into the Common Benefit Fee Fund according to the terms of the agreement.

Although agreeing to the settlement, under the agreement, Biomet did not admit any wrongdoing or concede that the plaintiffs suffered any cognizable injury.

The case number is MDL 2391 (Cause No. 3:12-MD-2391).

Attorneys: Thomas R Anapol (Anapol Schwartz) for Plaintiffs Executive Committee. John D. Winter (Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler, LLP) and John D. LaDue (LaDue Curran & Kuehn LLC) for Biomet, Inc.

Companies: Biomet, Inc.

MainStory: TopStory SettlementAgreementsNews ClassActLitigationNews DamagesNews MedicalDevicesNews IndianaNews

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