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DePuy Hip Settlement Payments to Commence

DePuy Hip Settlement Payments to Commence SoonPlaintiffs who have been waiting for litigation to progress in the DePuy ASR hip MDL will begin to see settlement payments very soon. Last fall, the manufacturer of the ASR hip system agreed to a DePuy hip settlement that was estimated to pay out more than $2 billion to 8,000 patients injured by the implant. As the number of individuals involved in the settlement grew to 12,000, a sufficient number of plaintiffs agreed to the settlement terms to allow DePuy to move forward with payouts.

Sufficient plaintiff agreement

The news came in a joint status report issued on June 27. The report noted that more than 98 percent of the plaintiffs currently awaiting trial in the federal MDL have agreed to the settlement terms. The MDL was established in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in 2010 to accommodate the growing number of plaintiffs alleging serious complications with the DePuy ASR hip system. An MDL can be used to streamline early trial proceedings for the convenience of all parties involved in the litigation.

According to the status report, awards are currently being determined on a rolling basis, with the first round of payments expected to go out in August. The defendant is now reviewing payments for the second group of plaintiffs, with all plaintiffs scheduled to receive payments within the next few months. It is now estimated that the total cost of the settlement for DePuy could exceed $4 billion as various costs like medical expense reimbursements are figured into the bottom line.

State lawsuits also pending

In addition to the individual settlements currently underway, DePuy is in the process of resolving medical reimbursement lawsuits filed by states. The company recently settled with Oregon for a total of $4 million to resolve claims of deceptive marketing.

Between 2005 and 2010, 432 DePuy ASR hip systems were implanted into Oregon residents. Ellen Rosenblum, attorney general for the state, told Bloomberg, “Oregonians in need of a hip replacement deserve to know that the artificial hip they are contemplating in fact has the qualities and benefits that a company advertises.”

The Oregon settlement is the first DePuy has negotiated with a state. However, investigations into how the hip systems were marketed are currently underway by a group of state attorneys, as well as the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts.

In addition, DePuy still faces ongoing litigation from individual plaintiffs that did not agree to the DePuy hip settlement and those who received their DePuy hips after the settlement cutoff deadline of August 2013.

DePuy ASR hip complications

The DePuy ASR XL total hip system was introduced to the U.S. market in 2005. Since that time, concerning reports of serious complications, including joint loosening and metal exposure, have been associated with the device.

The device was voluntarily recalled by the company in 2010, after data from the U.K. Joint Registry indicated five-year revision rates for the device could be as high as 13 percent. Revision surgery is a risky procedure that involves removal of the defective device and replacement with a new hip system.

Patients injured by the ASR device began filing DePuy hip lawsuits against the manufacturer, claiming the company did not provide adequate warning about the potential risks associated with the system. Hundreds of those plaintiffs are now involved in the settlement negotiations, where payouts are now imminent. DePuy hip attorneys are still reviewing cases of injured hip recipients to determine their eligibility for legal compensation.