DePuy Metal Hip Recall Lawsuits: May 2013 Update
The DePuy Orthopaedics ASR XL Acetabular and ASR Hip Resurfacing system hip are all-metal, also called metal-on-metal, artificial hip implants. Nearly 40,000 patients in the U.S. received the DePuy ASR implant from August 2005 through August 2010, when DePuy, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, recalled the device.
On May 16, 2013, Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy unit announced that it is taking all of its metal hip implants off the market. J&J and DePuy, however, continue to deny any legal responsibility to patients who received these metal implants and have had had to undergo often painful revision surgery to replace their defective artificial hips.
On March 8, 2013, in the first trial involving the recalled DePuy ASR hip implant, a California jury returned an $8.3 million verdict in favor of a Montana patient who was forced to undergo revision surgery to remove his defective DePuy implant.
Data from a registry of patients in the United Kingdom indicates that up to 50% of patients implanted with the defective DePuy ASR hip implant may be forced to undergo revision surgery within six years of their original hip replacement surgery.
DePuy also manufactured metal-on-metal hip implants sold under the brand name Pinnacle hip with a metal liner (called the Ultamet metal liner). In many patients, the metal-on-metal version of the Pinnacle hip implant has failed.
DePuy and Johnson & Johnson have not accepted full legal responsibility for the alleged defects and failure of their metal-on-metal hip implants. Lieff Cabraser represents hip replacement patients who received defective metal hip implants in lawsuits against DePuy and J&J to obtain just compensation for their pain, suffering, lost wages, and other losses.
Why the DePuy metal ASR and Pinnacle Hip Implants Are Failing
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stated that there are “unique risks” for metal-on-metal artificial hips because tiny metal ions can wear off and damage nearby tissue. Patients who received all metal implants should be aware of symptoms of a defective metal hip implant. Common symptoms may include:
- Pain in the groin, hip or leg
- Swelling at or near the hip joint
- A limp or change in walking ability
Complaints filed by patients Lieff Cabraser represent allege that the DePuy ASR hips and certain DePuy Pinnacle metal hip implants are defective and fail due to a design flaw for two principal reasons:
- The device slips or the shell does not sit in place in the hip and it resists bone growth.
- Friction within the metal hip implant (the cup and ball, or liner, components are made of metal) causes microscopic shavings and metal debris to be released into the surrounding tissue and blood. This can lead to a condition called metallosis, or an excessive exposure to metal, which is characterized by the painful, inflammatory reaction in the tissue and a high blood metal count.
For further information, read our answers to common questions on the DePuy hip recalls.
2013 DePuy Lawsuits Update
On March 8, 2013, a California jury returned a verdict ordering Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy orthopedics unit to pay more than $8.3 million in damages to a Montana patient for the pain, suffering and other losses he incurred due to the recalled DePuy Articular Surface Replacement, or ASR, hip implanted that was recalled in 2010.
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, records show that some surgeons also urged the device maker to slow sales of the implant or stop them completely.
In the case, evidence was 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. One of the DePuy executives involved in that decision was Andrew Ekdahl, who now heads Johnson & Johnson’s orthopedics division.
Contact Lieff Cabraser
If you or a family member are experiencing problems with your defective DePuy metal hip implant (the ASR or Pinnacle hip with the Ultamet (metal) liner) or have been told your artificial hip must be replaced, please contact an experienced Lieff Cabraser personal injury attorney or call us toll-free at (1) 800-541-7358 and ask to speak to attorney Lexi J. Hazam.
We welcome the opportunity to review your claim. We represent DePuy hip implant patients, nationwide. We will respond promptly and there is no charge or obligation on your part to retain our firm as your attorney. Learn about our record of success representing patients nationwide in defective hip implant and medical device cases. Lieff Cabraser serves on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committees in federal multidistrict court and California state court coordinated proceedings against DePuy.