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DePuy Hip Lawsuit

About 12,000 Americans have sued Johnson & Johnson due to defective hip replacement systems. Johnson & Johnson, parent company of DePuy Orthopaedics, is one of the globe’s largest manufacturers of orthopedics and other medical products. The company, ranked number 41 in the list of Fortune magazine’s top 500 corporations in 2013, recalled its ASR hip replacement systems in 2010.  At the time, an estimated 93,000 people worldwide had them implanted.

By the end of 2015, Johnson & Johnson will have agreed to pay more than $3 billion to settle thousands of DePuy ASR hip lawsuits.

Claims of durability fall far short

Marketed as lasting longer than prior hip replacement devices, possibly lasting 15 or more years, the ASR hip replacement system may experience early failure, in some cases within two years of initial surgery. The Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System, ASR Hip Resurfacing System and the ASR XL Acetabular System are associated with design flaws resulting in complications, including premature loosening, immobility, excruciating pain, joint dislocation, bone deterioration and metallosis (excessively high levels of metal ions).

Patients with defective hip implants will likely need premature revision surgery, where the implant will be replaced.  The manufacturer voluntarily issued a Depuy hip recall in the summer of 2012 following studies conducted after the hips were cleared for the market that showed a higher than expected 13 percent five-year failure rate. The Pinnacle hip device continues to be available to U.S. consumers.


DePuy hip replacement lawsuit claims

In DePuy hip implant lawsuits, plaintiffs normally seek monetary compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, medical expenses and diminished quality of life. Lawsuits concerning both the Pinnacle and ASR hip products encompass similar accusations against the defendant, and cite equivalent injuries experienced by plaintiffs.

People have filed a DePuy hip lawsuit after experiencing a variety of problems and/or injuries, such as:

  • Metal poisoning (metallosis):  The femoral “ball” and acetabular cup lining are both made of metal. As they move and grind together during normal use, small cobalt and chromium particles may flake off and into nearby tissue and from there reach the patient’s bloodstream. If severe enough, metallosis can injure nearby bones, and inflame tissues.
  • Bone fracture:  Weakened or fractured bones can be caused by deteriorating bones and dislocation of the implant’s component parts.
  • Implant dislocation: Intense pain and immobility can be caused if the femoral head, or “ball” component, separates permanently from the device’s complementary cup socket.
  • Implant loosening: The hip implant may loosen quickly if the “cup” fails to fuse correctly with the hip recipient’s natural bone.
  • Premature revision surgery: When irreversible hip device failure occurs, revision surgery is necessary to explant the malfunctioning components and install a replacement device. Revision surgery not only comes with more serious health risks for the patient, but also requires a longer period of recovery post-surgery. 

Voluntary recall and FDA warning

The ASR implant was voluntarily recalled by Johnson & Johnson and DePuy on August 24, 2010. In January 2013, the FDA, after receiving thousands of complaints concerning the hip replacement system, released a safety communication to warn orthopedic surgeons, healthcare providers and patients of the potential risks related to metal-on-metal hip devices. The FDA warned these implants have “unique risks,” (including metallosis) and that more research into the topic is needed.

History of DePuy hip lawsuits

In May 2011, DePuy Pinnacle lawsuits pending in federal courts were centralized into MDL No. 2244 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. In the second bellwether case to go before a jury, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $502 million in damages to five plaintiffs who alleged that the company concealed defects in the Pinnacle metal hips. The trial concluded on March 17, 2016, and marks J&J’s first loss over the Pinnacle Ultamet device.

In the aftermath of the ASR recall, thousands of DePuy hip lawsuits were filed in federal court and soon consolidated in multi-district litigation (MDL No. 2197) located in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio. Thousands more ASR cases were filed in state courts, including those consolidated in multicounty litigation in the Superior Court of New Jersey.

In an ASR hip replacement trial in April 2013, a state court jury in Chicago found for defendant DePuy in a case brought by an Illinois nurse.

In March of 2013, California jurors chose to award plaintiff Loren Kransky, a former prison guard, $8.3 million. Filed in state court, the lawsuit claimed that the ASR hip design was defective and directly caused his injuries. In a trial that lasted over a month, Kransky’s attorneys argued that DePuy insufficiently tested the hip implant prior to its release in 2005, and that the joint maker intentionally suppressed reports from orthopedic surgeons about complications with the ASR hip. The jury, despite the award, found that the plaintiff failed to prove claims that DePuy acted negligently in regard to warning patients and orthopedic surgeons about the dangers posed by its hip products.

As media reports accumulated indicating that Johnson & Johnson was preparing settlements for more than 11,500 cases, the federal bellwether suit resolved out of court for an undisclosed settlement amount.

DePuy pays billions to settle ASR hip lawsuits

Within a month of this out-of-court settlement, Johnson & Johnson announced a wide scale accord that would resolve over 8,000 ASR hip lawsuits. The settlement was proposed in November 2013 and would provide a base financial award of roughly $250,000 to each plaintiff who had revision surgery for their ASR device between August 31, 2013 and January 31, 2015. The DePuy ASR settlement would be one of the largest ever for a defective medical device in U.S. history.

In February 2015, J&J agreed to push back the settlement claim deadline, allowing as many as 1,400 additional ASR hip plaintiffs to file claims through January 31, 2015. Each case would receive approximately $300,000 under the original 2013 settlement terms. With the addition of the 2015 settlements, more than 90% of current ASR hip-removal claims pending against DePuy will be resolved, should claimants wish to participate.

More DePuy hip lawsuit information

If you have questions about your hip replacement and possible litigation, talk to an attorney.  A lawyer can examine your medical records and evaluate your eligibility for filing litigation or recovering settlement monies. Many issues must be evaluated before a lawsuit can be filed, including the medical history of the patient, pertinent statutes of limitation, and whether or not the patient can provide detailed medical documents confirming his or her injuries.