CHICAGO — The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has moved the bellwether trial against the Zimmer NexGen Knee implant to October of this year.

Jury selection for the multidistrict litigation will start on October 8th, opening statements will be heard on October 13th, and defense witnesses will be called no earlier than October 20th. The scheduling of the trial represents a push to move forward on the key trials that represent more than a thousand cases against Zimmer in the NexGen Knee MDL docket.

Zimmer is one of the largest makers of knee replacement implants and parts. The NexGen system was one the company’s most successful product lines. The product was marketed to younger or more active patients because the NexGen was touted as offering a wider range of motion. Unfortunately, not only did the implant fail at an exceedingly high rate, but patients also found themselves suffering from debilitating and in some cases permanent complications. The most common complications included difficulty walking or standing; chronic pain and swelling; loosening of the implant; and crunching/popping sounds emanating from the knee. The end result for many patients was pain, loss of ability to bend/use the knee, and eventually revision surgery at a much earlier time frame than anticipated.

The problems with the NexGen Knee implant stem from its defective product design. Zimmer is believed to have exaggerated its claims about the device, which is supposed to stay in place without the use of cement. Instead, it has been found that the device does not properly fuse to the patient’s bone thus allowing for fluid and tissue to build up within/near the implant or causing the implant to loosen. The implant has also been found to flake off or release debris into the body. This can result in an allergic or painful immune reaction within the body.

While the rescheduling of the trial to October is frustrating, it is a step forward for the thousands waiting trial in the MDL. This isn’t to say you have to wait around for the bellwether trial to progress if you suffer injuries from a Zimmer NexGen Knee implant. While various products within the NexGen line have been recalled over the years, many patients are seeking compensation for their injury in state or federal court.

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