Hip Replacement Class Action Lawsuit
or Multidistrict Litigation?


OK, so you're thinking: "Hip replacement class action lawsuit or Multidistrict Litigation"… maybe!

The vast majority of the population of any country does not have legal training, so it is perhaps not surprising that some legal terms that are often used in the media are not fully understood.

There is potential for confusion. The purpose of this page is to provide some simple definitions.

Note that (helpfully!) different terms are used in different countries. So, for simplicity I have based this page on the US system and parlance.

Important: the summary information on this page is for informational purposes only and is intended to provide only a basic overview of multidistrict litigation and hip replacement class action lawsuits - it does not constitute specific legal advice.

You should consult your lawyer for advice as to whether you have a case, guidance on whether you wish to pursue it, and if so the most efficient and effective route through which it should be progressed.

Hip Replacement Class Action Lawsuit

A hip replacement class action lawsuit is where multiple parties that believe they have been injured by a hip implant come together and share in whatever settlement or court award is negotiated or handed down.

Effectively, in a hip replacement class action lawsuit, there is only one plaintiff (the group acting as one); one case; one trial; one verdict; one settlement or court award of damages.

Whatever compensation for loss or injury is agreed will be:

  • Allocated to cover the fees and expenses of the lawyers acting on behalf of the injured parties
  • With any residual surplus shared bewteen the injured parties

An injured party considering joining a hip replacement class action lawsuit should take specific legal advice that is particular to his or her specific situation in order to assess whether joining a class action would be the right decision.

In recent years, there has been some criticism of class action lawsuits on the basis that allegedly, from a financial perspective, the main beneficiaries have been the lawyers involved rather than the injured parties.

Often people search for information against the specific term: 'hip replacement class action lawsuit' when what they are actually seeking is information about hip replacement multidistrict litigation (see below).

Often the injuries and financial losses sustained as a consequence of a defective or recalled hip replacement implant are so specific and unique to individual plaintiff, that many would conclude that a class action is too blunt a tool to use in seeking justice and compensation. Others would hold the opposite view.

Only the injured party working closely with trusted legal professionals can determine the most appropriate type of legal action, on a case by case basis.

Hip Replacement Multidistrict Litigation

A multidistrict litigation can be established when a large number of lawsuits against a one (common) defendant are based on similar facts, issues and / or allegations.

The main benefit of multidistrict litigation is that it reduces the burden on federal (local) judicial systems. Multidistrict litigation streamlines the early stages of litigation - in the US this is referred to as the 'discovery process', by channelling and consolidating these multiple lawsuits in to a single court for those pre-trial proceedings.

Let's take an example. Suppose that 15,000 individual people separately allege that hip replacement product X has caused them injury. In the absence of the option to elect for multidistrict litigation:

  • Each of those 15,000 cases would need to be separately managed and progressed through the discovery process
  • The discovery process will be substantially the same for each of these cases so there would be massive duplication of activity by lawyers representing the injured parties
  • This legion of lawyers would all be facing off to one legal firm acting on behalf of the defendant - which would be very difficult to manage
  • Each of these 15,000 cases would have a separate file lodged with the various local court systems
  • With a distributed approach (i.e. not adopting the multidistrict litigation model) the probability of inconsistent rulings from one local state to another is increased

When a multidistrict litigation is first formed, typically a relatively small number of complaints are on the ticket - perhaps only 30 or 40. The legal authorities determine which district court will lead and manage the multidistrict litigation, and a single Judge will be appointed to oversee the whole process. Once established, often many hundreds or thousands of similar cases will be transferred and added to the multidistrict litigation ticket in that single, nominated district court.

The beneficial outcomes from this consolidated discovery process should be:

  • A shorter duration for discovery
  • Reduced duplication and therefore substantial cost savings for all parties
  • A consistent, common and agreed fact base upon which all individual cases can then be assessed and decided

The key point to note however is that, beyond the discovery stage of the process, each individual lawsuit is judged and determined separately, and is eligible for its own pre-trial settlement or jury award.


If you have suffered injury or loss as a consequence of a defective or recalled hip the implant then you will most likely only get one shot at a legal action.

Therefore, it is of critical importance that you get professional legal advice to support you with making the right decisions, not only about whether you wish to take legal action, but also crucially, what form that action should take:

  • a straightforward solo legal action end to end;
  • join a hip replacement class action lawsuit
  • participate in multidistrict litigation, giving you the efficiency benefits of consolidated proceedings upfront, but allowing your (personal) lawsuit to be settled and determined separately

Sometimes people mis-spell words or use weird grammar (for example: multidistrict litigation hip implants) when using search engines in haste. Please just ignore this box ;o)

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