Those affected by allegedly faulty 'metal on metal' replacement hips are urged to seek advice as the cut off point for a group legal action fast approaches

The lead lawyers for alleged victims of faulty ‘metal on metal’ hip replacements have urged those affected to seek urgent, independent advice amidst concerns they may be unaware of a cut-off point that could see them unable to claim for compensation.

It is believed that almost 2000 UK patients have been implanted with an implant known as the Zimmer Durom resurfacing system since 2003.

However, many more patients may have been implanted with a total hip replacement system that also incorporates the Zimmer Durom cup, as well as the Zimmer Metasul Head.

The legal action being brought against the manufacturers, Zimmer, covers both types of implant. Many have had to undergo an early revision of the allegedly defective implant and continue to suffer significant pain caused by damage resulting from it.

A Group Action to recover damages is being brought, led by Leigh Day, under the Consumer Protection Act – which requires legal action to commence within ten years of a product being put into circulation.

The judge has now ordered that the Group Register be closed on 30 October 2015. This means that any individuals who have been harmed by the Zimmer Durom or Metasul device will be unable to join in this Group Action litigation after that date.

Gene Matthews, a partner in the firm’s Consumer Law and Product Safety team, explained that it is essential that anyone who wishes to join this Group Action must contact a solicitor in good time before the 30 October 2015 in order to be considered for inclusion in the Group.

Mr Matthews said: “We would urge anyone affected as a result of a metal-on-metal hip replacement, irrespective of the manufacturer or where they underwent the surgery, to seek independent legal advice, with a view to establishing whether they can still make a claim for damages for the harm they have experienced.”

Zimmer Background

The UK National Joint Registry has identified that the Zimmer Durom resurfacing system has a failure rate of 9.41% at 10 years in comparison with the ‘gold standard’ conventional components, which have a failure rate of approximately 2.5 % over the same period.

The claims allege that the design of the systems is defective in that they have a propensity to cause an Adverse Reaction to Metal Debris (ARMD) and fail prematurely. It is also alleged that the design of the Zimmer Durom cup is defective as it fails to integrate correctly with patients’ bones, resulting in loosening and early failure.

The Group Litigation Order

A GLO is similar to a class action suit in the US and is normally made where the Court is faced with claims by multiple Claimants whose cases give rise to ‘common or related issues of fact or law’.

The GLO allows for the claims to be heard together rather than on an individual basis, making the litigation far more efficient.

The Zimmer Durom Metal on Metal Hip Litigation GLO will:

  • Establish a group of Claimants who have suffered personal injury, loss and damage as a result of their implantation with the Zimmer Durom hip system;
  • Ensure the maintenance and publication of a group register of Claimants;
  • Establish a formal steering committee;
  • Make provision for the sharing and consequential limitation of costs both to the Claimants and the Defendant.

Leigh Day have been appointed as Lead Solicitors by the Court and are currently acting on behalf of almost 40 Claimants who were implanted with Zimmer Durom hip systems that failed, necessitating early revision surgery.