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Hip Implant Lawsuits

$2.5 Billion Settlement Offer

$2.5 billion has been offered to resolve thousands of defective DePuy ASR hip implants manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. On November 19, 2013, Johnson & Johnson announced its agreement to pay at least $250,000 per qualified claimant who underwent revision or removal surgery more than 180 days after the hip original implantation. The surgery must have been before August 31, 2013. An additional benefit is that most medical insurance liens will also be assumed by the manufacturers. Details in the settlement  are listed on the court website at MDL 2197 DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., ASR Hip Implant Products .

The award may be adjusted depending on whether or not the patient received multiple surgeries or revisions, thrombosis, strokes, or heart attacks suffered as a result of revision surgery. Reductions in payments may occur based upon comorbid factors, such as, smoking or obesity and other conditions regarding the life of the implant and whether or not there were previous hip implants.  Hip implant patients who have not had the implant revised or removed before August 31, 2013 are not eligible for this settlement.

$2.5 Million Verdict in Depuy Hip Implant Trial

On February 3, 2015, a jury in Tulsa County, Oklahoma returned a $2.5 million compensatory damage verdict in favor of Plaintiff Andrea Smith and against defendants DePuy Orthopaedics and DePuy International. Mrs. Smith was implanted with DePuy ASR XL hips on both sides of her body. The first implant surgery was in October 2006 and the second in February 2007. She underwent revision surgeries to remove and replace both of the ASR devices in 2011 and 2012. She had significantly elevated metal ions before the revision surgeries.

$8.3 Million Verdict against Johnson and Johnson

On March 8, 2013, a jury in Los Angeles ordered J & J to pay more than $8.3 million in damages to a Montana man in the first of more than 10,000 lawsuits pending against the medical products maker in connection with a the recalled Depuy A.S.R. hip implant. In its decision, the panel ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay the plaintiff, a retired prison guard, Loren Kransky, $338,000 to cover his medical expenses and $8 million to cover his pain and emotional suffering. Thousands of the individual cases have been consolidated into a large proceeding in a Federal District Court in Ohio and a resolution of that action could provide a framework for settling the bulk of the cases and determining awards to patients.

The A.S.R. belonged to a class of once widely used hip replacements whose cup and ball components were both made of metal. Sold by DePuy in 2003 outside the United States for use in an alternative hip replacement procedure called resurfacing. Two years later, DePuy started selling another version of the A.S.R. for use in the United States in standard hip replacements that used the same cup component as the resurfacing device. The A.S.R.’s design caused the cup and ball to strike against each other, resulting in the shedding of metallic debris that inflamed and damaged tissue and bone, causing pain and injuries to patients. Today, all-metal hips like the A.S.R. are rarely used by surgeons because most models suffered from similar problems. But data from orthopedic registries suggests that the A.S.R. was far worse than many competing products.

An internal Johnson & Johnson document  estimated that close to 40 percent of patients who received an A.S.R. will need to undergo a second operation within five years of the first to have the implant removed and replaced. In a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Johnson & Johnson said that there are 10,750 A.S.R. lawsuits. Traditional artificial hips, which are made of metal and plastic, are expected to last 15 years or more before needing to be replaced, and the normal replacement rate for early unexpected failures is about 5 percent after five years.

Internal Johnson & Johnson documents that became public during the trial indicated that company executives were told by surgeons, who were also paid consultants to the device maker, that the design of A.S.R. was flawed. In addition, some surgeons also urged the device maker to slow sales of the implant or stop them completely, records show. In the case, evidence was also presented that showed that Johnson & Johnson considered redesigning the A.S.R. to reduce its problems, but then abandoned the project because the implant’s sales did not justify the costs of the redesign.

DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System

On August 24, 2010, 93,000 defective hip implants were recalled by the manufacturer, Depuy Orthopedics, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson. Patients with the ASR™ XL Acetabular System and DePuy ASR™ Hip Resurfacing System implanted since July 2003 may be entitled to compensation. At least 13% have required surgical revision or removal within five years of receiving the implants and thousands more may be required.

Injuries and Warnings

The recall followed a study which showed that some patients receiving the hip implants suffered from:

  • severe pain
  • stiffness and swelling
  • popping and grinding sensations
  • metal component release

All of these symptoms interfered with the patients’ ability to walk, stand, or sit and worsened over time resulting in severe disability often requiring a second hip replacement, called revision surgery. Some claim that the metal components of cobalt and chromium are released from the metal-on-metal hip device and shed metal particles which lead to inflammation and bone loss.

Defective Design and Failure to Warn

The Plaintiffs advocate that DePuy Orthopedics defectively designed the ASR hip implant systems. Specialists believe that the acetabular cup may be the problem since it is shallower than other proven hip implants. Tiny metal shavings and debris may damage the surrounding tissue causing painful complications and impeding the chances of a successful revision surgery. According to the DePuy Recall Packet, the defects also include component loosening and misalignment, dislocation of the elements, infection, fracture of the bone, metal sensitivity, and pain.

The Plaintiffs believe that DePuy failed to adequately test the product before placing it on the market and they failed to issue immediate warnings once they became aware of the serious problems. DePuy received complaints for at least two years and recalled these hip implants in Australia in December 2009.

Depuy ASR Hip Implant Litigation – MDL No. 2197

The DePuy ASR Hip implant cases have been centralized in Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) No. 2197 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio with the Honorable Judge David Katz presiding. These  actions share factual issues as to whether DePuy’s ASR XL Acetabular Hip System was defectively designed and/or manufactured, and whether DePuy failed to provide adequate warnings concerning the device, which DePuy recalled along with another ASR device, the ASR Hip Resurfacing System in August 2010. All claimants have individual lawsuits which are filed in this federal court to centralize and streamline the litigation process.

DePuy Pinnacle Hip Litigation – MDL No. 3:11-MO-02244

The DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implant cases are centralized in Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) No. 3:11-MO-02244 in the Northern District of Texas with the Honorable Judge Ed Kinkeade presiding. James Stanton has been appointed Special Master. Other DePuy cases are filed in New Jersey, California and Illinois.

DePuy ASR California Trial

In January 25, 2013, the first ASR hip replacement trial against DePuy Orthopaedics began in Los Angeles. The plaintiff, Loren Kransky was chosen first to be tried because of the additional diagnosis of cancer. Damaging internal DePuy documents have been produced and the Associated Press reports that jurors were shown pictures from a surgery depicting black material in the patient’s hip socket which the plaintiffs allege is the material from pieces of metal that flaked off of the implant causing a form of metal poisoning. Attorneys for Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary, DePuy Orthopedics, contend that Loren Kransky had many pre-existing medical ailments, including, exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

The artificial hip was sold for eight years to approximately 35,000 people in the U.S. and more than 90,000 people worldwide. New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson stopped making the product in 2009 and recalled it the following year. However, documents unsealed in court indicated that Johnson & Johnson officials were aware of problems with the device at least as far back as 2008. Testimony from a DePuy official revealed a 2011 company review of a patient registry concluded that more than one-third of the implants were expected to fail within five years of their implantation.

Johnson & Johnson has put aside around $1 billion to deal with the costs of the recall and lawsuits. Last year, British experts at the world’s biggest artificial joint registry said doctors should stop using metal-on-metal hip replacements after a study found that, after five years, about 6 percent of people who had used them needed surgery to fix or replace them compared with just 1.7 to 2.3 percent of people who had ceramic or plastic joints.

Your Rights as a Hip Implant Patient

Whether you experienced injury or are concerned about future injuries, if you have received a hip replacement implant, whether or not it is subject to a recall and regardless if your case has been rejected by another law firm, please contact us for a free medical legal consultation at 1-800-814-4540.

Statute of Limitations

There are statutes of limitations in every state that may limit the time you may file a claim, so call us toll free now at 1-800-814-4540 or fill out the contact form to preserve your legal rights.

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