ATLANTA, November 25, 2015- 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.
Of the hundreds of cases consolidated in MDL No. 2329, In re: Wright Medical Technology, Inc., Conserve Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation before the Honorable Judge William Duffey in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Ms. Christiansen’s was the first to go to trial.
Pope McGlamry attorneys Mike McGlamry and Kirk Pope led Ms. Christiansen’s trial team, along with Ray Boucher of Boucher, P.C. and Helen Zukin of Kiesel Law, P.C.. Neal Pope, Kim Johnson and Jill Cassert of Pope McGlamry and Cherisse Cleofe of Kiesel Law rounded out the trial team.
In response to the verdict, Mr. McGlamry stated: “This verdict confirms the viability and effectiveness of our civil jury system. We were honored to represent Ms. Christiansen, and we are honored to represent the many other plaintiffs across the country in both the federal MDL and California coordinated proceeding. We appreciate the hard work of the court and the jury in coming to this resolution.”