Pittsburgh lawsuit joins hundreds of others over failed hip replacements

By Karen Kidd | Feb 27, 2019

PITTSBURGH — A Braddock couple are suing an orthopedic firm, claiming a man underwent a failed hip replacement following the recall of components used in the surgical procedure.

James and Frances McKelvia are suing HowMedica Osteonics Corp. in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court over the alleged failure of James McKelvia's hip replacement, which was implanted in October 2009. According to their 31-page complaint filed Feb. 12, the McKelvias are seeking damages that include medical expenses, and costs associated with disfigurement, pain and suffering, and loss of past and future earnings.

In 2016, James McKelvia developed pains in his hip and leg, groin, buttock and lower back. Early the following year he was referred to an orthopedic surgeon, the suit says. In March 2017, James McKelvia was diagnosed with metallosis after an MRI "revealed a metal artifact at the left hip, as well as debris at the left pseudocapsule," the suit says.

James McKelvia underwent corrective surgery in August 2017 but alleges that he continues to experience pain and weaknes in his left leg, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims HowMedica Osteonics was negligent in the design, manufacture, assembly, inspection, testing, approval, distribution, sale and supply of the components that went into James McKelvia's replacement hip. HowMedica Osteonics also allegedly failed "to warn physicians and Mr. McKelvia of any and all dangers associated with corrosion, fretting, metallosis, trunnionosis, taper lock failure and disassociation that would result from use of the LFIT Anatomic V40 Femoral Head with the Accolade TMZF Femeral Stem," the complaint said.

The McKelvias' complaint is similar to hundreds of cases filed against HowMedica Osteonics. In November, attorneys litigating about 450 hip replacement lawsuits against Howmedica Osteonics over the recall of the Stryker LFit CoCr v40 femoral head reportedly were nearing settlement in those cases. Those cases were consolidated in pretrail proceedings as each made similar claims that the chromium cobalt femoral head was defective, causing hip replacements prematurely fail.

Stryker previously agreed to pay about $1 billion to settle similar hip cases over its Rejuvenate and ABG II components, which were recalled in 2012.

The McKelvia case was filed by attorneys from the Pittsburgh law firm Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky.

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