As previously reported, a number of consumers filed suit earlier this year against Exactech after it recalled the polyethylene liners in certain hip, knee, and ankle implants. As of February 2022, Exactech’s recall applied to hundreds of thousands of Connexion, Optetrak, Truliant and Vantage brand hip, knee, and ankle replacement liners manufactured as far back as 2004. According to Exactech, the polyethylene liners were packaged in non-conforming vacuum bags that lacked an additional protective layer and allowed air to come into contact with the inserts and increase the risk that the devices would fail once implanted in a patient.
On June 14, 2022, a group of plaintiffs filed a motion with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to consolidate all Exactech join replacement lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The consolidated case would include over two dozen lawsuits about injuries from Exactech’s knee and hip systems and an undisclosed number of future cases that plaintiffs intend to file over Exactech’s ankle systems.
Plaintiffs insist that premature failures in the hip, knee, and ankle devices are all “inextricably related,” because whether Exactech used the same deficient liners with their knee inserts, or instead, a more protective liner with the secondary barrier layer containing ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH), is an issue that “will certainly overlap.” In mid-August, JPML announced that it would hear oral arguments over the consolidation issue on September 29 in St. Louis, Missouri. The JPML has yet to issue an order on plaintiffs’ motion to consolidate.