Thousands of people across the country are suing publicly traded Zimmer Inc. of Warsaw, Ind., for allegedly issuing a defective hip implant.
Whispers noticed that one of the recent plaintiffs was prominent Little Rock insurance broker Greg Hatcher, owner of The Hatcher Agency.
According to the suit he filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court in April, Hatcher had hip replacement surgery in 2007, at which time he received a hip implant called a Durom Acetabular Component, or the “Durom cup,” a Zimmer product.
The cup was designed to bond to the patient’s hip bone, but, according to the suit, it instead resists bone growth. This causes the cup to become loose and pop free.
The suit says that Hatcher’s Durom cup in particular caused intense pain and bone loss as the cup rattled around inside his hip, and the subsequent revision surgery was dangerous and complicated.
Allegedly, Zimmer did not conduct proper testing when it imported the cup from Europe, and the domestic version ended up having a slightly different physical makeup.
Because of the physical differences, the cup had a failure rate of 24 percent, the suit says.
It also says that Zimmer sold about $1.28 billion in hip components in 2008, and the Durom cup was implanted in about 12,000 patients since its domestic introduction in 2006.
Sales of the cup were suspended in 2008 after doctors began reporting patients’ complaints.
Hatcher declined to comment on the suit, but his lawyer, Thomas Thrash of Little Rock, said it has since been moved to the U.S. District Court in the District of New Jersey, where it has joined thousands of other similar suits in a multi-district litigation.
Currently, Thrash and Hatcher are engaged in providing Zimmer with medical records to negotiate a settlement if possible. Hatcher is asking for damages yet to be determined.
Calls left at Zimmer’s headquarters were not returned by press time.