New litigation alert: Zimmer Biomet, maker of knee replacement device, sued over implant recall

A recalled knee replacement system sparked new product liability litigation in Georgia after a recipient claimed parts of the medical device “sheared” inside his knee.

And this isn’t the first time the medical device company has been accused of producing faulty instruments.

As spotted on Law.com Radar, Shawn Smithson’s Product Liability combination filed in Gwinnett County Superior Court against medical device company Zimmer Biomet Inc. was referred to U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.


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Timothy K. Hall.  Photo credit: John Disney. Timothy K. Hall. (Photo: John Disney / ALM).

Represented by Tim Hall and Adam Collins of Hall & Collins Injury Law in Athens, Smithson has filed a four-count suit against Biomet alleging product liability, failure to warn, and breach of express and implied warranty.

“We’ve dealt with, I think, over 20 of these cases, so far,” Hall said.

He said Smithson’s case stood out because of the severity of his injury from the knee replacement.

“The problem with him is that he had some very serious infections with the revision surgery where they had to go in and take out his entire knee implant, and leave it without one for a while while they had it. were filled with antibiotics, ”the lawyer said. noted.

“Floating in bulk”

According to the complaint drafted by Hall, Smithson had “a defective Regenerex Series A patella installed in his knee” as part of a total knee replacement in 2016.

“About a year later, Mr. Smithson began to experience knee discomfort, which continued to worsen gradually,” the complaint alleged. “Mr. Smithson received a letter in the mail informing him that [Biomet] recalled the defective Regenerex Series A patella in his knee. He returned to see his doctor the following week and x-rays revealed that the ankles had “sheared” and the implant was floating in his knee.

During Smithson’s revision surgery in 2019, the complaint alleged that his surgeon discovered that the “three defective ankles” of the knee implant had been “sheared off” and that there was “blackening of the synovium” , indicating a type of metal poisoning called metalosis.

“The defective and recalled implant caused Mr. Smithson a serious knee infection and required him to undergo multiple surgeries, medical treatments and numerous hospitalizations in the months and years following his revision surgery.” , alleged the complaint. “Mr. Smithson is bringing this personal injury and product liability lawsuit against the Defendants seeking redress for the damages he suffered as a result of [the] the accused’s failed, defective and recalled knee implant.

David Norden of Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders in Atlanta takes care of the defense of Biomet.

Norden declined to comment on the dispute on Thursday.

‘Faulty or not’

In addition to a product liability claim, Smithson’s attorneys sought damages for “pain and suffering, emotional distress, financial loss and loss of earnings,” claiming that Biomet had violated its express and implied warranty. .

“[Biomet’s] actions and decisions regarding the design, manufacture, marketing, labeling, packaging and sale of Regenerex® 3-Peg Patella show willful misconduct, malice, fraud, debauchery, ‘oppression, or this total lack of care which would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to the consequences, thus authorizing the award of punitive damages ”, alleges the complaint. “[The] the defendant’s implied warranty regarding the Regenerex® 3-pin patella was false because it was dangerous, non-merchantable and unfit for the ordinary purposes of its intended use …[The] the defendant’s breach of its implied warranty of merchantability resulted [in] an unreasonably dangerous and defective product implanted in Mr. Smithson’s body, putting his health and safety at risk.

Hall said Thursday that he did not anticipate any obstacles to litigation, but that Biomet’s litigation strategy remains unclear.

“It will be interesting to see what position they take as to whether this was flawed or not, given that they have called it back,” Hall said.

This is not the first time that Biomet has been sued for its recalled knee implant devices.

In fact, other lawyers have taken Youtube to reach customers in the same situation.

“This is just another example of a company putting profits before safety,” Indiana-based Wagner Reese partner Jeff Gibson said in a video. “Zimmer Biomet knew, or should have known, that people to whom the device had been surgically implanted were at risk of unreasonable and dangerous injury. “

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