Pope McGlamry: $11 Million Verdict in First Wright Conserve Hip Bellwether Trial
ATLANTA, Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — On Tuesday, November 24, 2015, the jury in the first federal bellwether trial against Wright Medical Technology, Inc. for product liability and misrepresentation claims relating to their Conserve metal-on-metal hip implant device, awarded $11 million in favor of Plaintiff Robyn Christiansen. Following a two week trial and three days of deliberations, the jury found that the Conserve metal-on-metal hip device was defectively designed and unreasonably dangerous, and that Wright Medical made negligent misrepresentations regarding the hip replacement device.
Although Wright Medical asked the jury to consider the possibility that Ms. Christiansen was partially responsible for the device’s failure, the jury assigned 100% of the fault to Wright Medical. The jury awarded a total of $11 million – $1 million in compensatory damages, plus $10 million in punitive damages – finding that Wright Medical’s conduct in regard to the device demonstrated a knowing and reckless indifference to the rights of others, including Robyn Christiansen.
Ms. Christiansen was implanted with Wright Medical’s Conserve Plus metal-on-metal total hip device in April 2006. Despite being promised the device would last a life-time, the device failed after just six years, and in 2012, Ms. Christiansen, a former ski instructor for 47 years, was forced to undergo revision surgery to remove the defective device from her body. During the revision surgery, Ms. Christiansen’s surgeon documented tissue necrosis and fluid buildup, as well as signs of metallosis, all symptoms caused by metallic particles and metal ions generated from the metal-on-metal device and released into the surrounding tissue and bloodstream.