In the first trial against Wright Medical regarding the company’s metal-on-metal Conserve Hip device, an Atlanta, Georgia jury unanimously awarded $11 million in damages. The jury found that Wright defectively designed the Conserve model hip device and negligently misrepresented the design features, resulting in Ms. Christiansen’s harm. Congratulations to Kiesel Law’s own Helen Zukin and Cherisse Cleofe, as well as Ray Boucher, Michael McGlamry and Kirk Pope for their excellent and hard work during this two week trial.

All Wright Metal on Metal Hip Replacements are Subject to Early Failure


Several studies have determined that the Wright Medical Conserve® Cup implants have been failing for various reasons such as cup loosening, metallosis and high levels of cobalt-chromium ions in a patient’s body. New data presented at the British Hip Society Annual Conference in March 2011 revealed a failure rate of 21% at 4 years and 49% at 6 years! This means a patient with an Wright Medical Conserve® Cup device has an almost 50% chance of needing a revision surgery to replace it after only 6 years.

The Wright Conserve® Hip Implant System is a metal-on-metal design, which consists of cast cobalt chromium molybdenum that provides the receptacle for the cobalt chromium molybdenum femoral head. The metal femoral head rotates within the metal monoblock Conserve® Cup, without a liner, resulting in the release of metal particles that can cause metal toxicity in the blood, soft tissue and bone. This can result in metallosis, tissue necrosis, pseudotumors and other serious health problems.

FDA Safety Communication: Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants

Date Issued: Jan. 17, 2013


Orthopaedic surgeons
Health care providers responsible for the ongoing care of patients with metal-on-metal hip implants
Patients who are considering or have received a metal-on-metal hip implant
Medical Specialties: Orthopaedics, General Medicine, Family Practice, Radiology, Radiologic Technology, Clinical Laboratory Managers and Directors

Metal-on-metal hip implants consist of a ball, stem and shell, all made from cobalt-chromium-molybdenum alloys.

There are two types of metal-on-metal hip implants1:

Traditional total hip replacement systems
Resurfacing hip systems
Purpose: In February 2011, the FDA launched a metal-on-metal hip implant webpage2. The FDA is providing updated safety information and recommendations to patients and health care providers. This new information is based on the FDA’s current assessment of metal-on-metal hip implants, including the benefits and risks, the evaluation of the published literature, and the results of the June 2012 Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Devices Advisory Panel meeting.

Summary of Problem and Scope:
Metal-on-metal hip implants have unique risks in addition to the general risks of all hip implants3.

In metal-on-metal hip implants, the metal ball and the metal cup slide against each other during walking or running. Metal can also be released from other parts of the implant where two implant components connect. Metal release will cause some tiny metal particles to wear off of the device around the implant, which may cause damage to bone and/or soft tissue surrounding the implant and joint. This is sometimes referred to as an “adverse local tissue reaction (ALTR)” or an “adverse reaction to metal debris (ARMD).”

Soft tissue damage may lead to pain, implant loosening, device failure and the need for revision surgery (a surgical procedure where the implant is removed and another is put in its place). Some of the metal ions released will enter the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body, where they may cause symptoms or illnesses elsewhere in the body (systemic reactions).

Presently, the FDA does not have enough scientific data to specify the concentration of metal ions in a patient’s body or blood necessary to produce adverse systemic effects. In addition, the reaction seems to be specific to individual patients, with different patients having different reactions to the metal wear particles.



Paul Kiesel, City of L.A. Special Counsel


Proposed Settlement Deal In Class-Action Suit Against LADWP

Overcharged ratepayers are one step closer to getting their money back.  Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle requested that certain revisions to the settlement agreement be made before approving the deal.  “If you’ve been over-billed and there will be an independent monitor to determine if that’s happened, you will get a credit on your bill. And if you’re no longer a Department of Water and Power customer, you’ll get a check in the mail. You don’t need to do anything else,” said Paul Kiesel, City of L.A. Special Counsel.  Kiesel said “The settlement will provide for 100 percent refunds for every ratepayer, who has been over-billed improperly.”  Thousands of DWP customers were issued faulty bills following an upgrade of the utility’s billing system. For more details, see following story.




City of Los Angeles Files Lawsuit Against PricewaterhouseCoopers




PricewaterhouseCoopers fraudulently misrepresented its ability to implement a new billing system for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in order to secure a $70-million municipal contract and subsequently failed to deliver, according to a civil lawsuit filed Friday by the city attorney’s office.  According to the city attorney’s complaint, PricewaterhouseCoopers “overstated its knowledge, expertise and skills necessary to convert” the existing system and launch a new software platform.

The alleged misrepresentation began after the L.A. utility issued a request for proposals in an effort to modernize its nearly 40 years old customer care and billing system.  As a result of PricewaterhouseCoopers’s lack of skills and experience to perform the work stipulated in the contract, the LADWP’s system was unable to properly tally service bills for tens of thousands of customers.

Kiesel Law LLP is acting as special counsel for the City of Los Angeles.


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