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1. Which DePuy hip replacement implants were recalled?

On August 26, 2010, DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, announced the recall of its hip implants known as the ASR XL and ASR Hip Resurfacing systems. DePuy has not recalled its Pinnacle hip implant with a metal liner, also called the Ultramet metal liner.

2. How many patients received DePuy ASR hip implants?

More than 93,000 hip implants were sold worldwide before DePuy stopped production in 2009. The latest information we have been able to obtain is that approximately 40,000 were implanted in the U.S. from sometime before the FDA approval in August 2005 through August 2010, the date of the recall.

3. How many persons are likely to have their DePuy ASR implants fail?

The most current data comes from the United Kingdom, where there is a national registry of patients. The UK Registry indicates a failure rate of the ASR implants for as many as one in two patients within six years of their surgery.

In March 2011, the British Orthopaedic Association and the British Hip Society reported data on the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System from four surgeons showing the rate of second operations, or revisions, ranged from 21 percent after four years to 49 percent after six years. John Skinner, an orthopedic surgeon and chairman of the group’s expert advisory group, stated that this information was “probably the best indicator so far of what the failure rate is likely to be.”

4. Why are the DePuy metal hip implants failing?

The ASR implant is a metal-on-metal implant. The DePuy Pinnacle hip with the Ultamet metal liner is also a metal-on-metal artificial hip.

Two issues have emerged with metal-on-metal implants: one, the devices slip or the shell does not sit in place in the hip acetabulum and it resists bone growth. Two, the friction of metal-on-metal wear causes microscopic metal shavings to be released into the surrounding blood and tissue. This release of metal can cause metal poisoning and elevated blood levels of cobalt and chromium, which can cause “metallosis,” or an inflammatory reaction to the elevated metals in the tissue and the blood.

DePuy has informed physicians that patients should undergo blood tests to determine the presence of certain metals, including cobalt released from the metal-on-metal implants.

5. What should I do if my DePuy hip implant is failing?

We recommend you consult with an attorney. You have the right to discuss with an attorney your legal rights and claims against DePuy, as well as the legal deadlines applicable to filing a complaint. Many attorneys, including those at Lieff Cabraser, are willing to provide free consultations without obligation.

We recommend that you not sign any documents given to you by a DePuy investigator, lawyer, or agent until after you have consulted with an independent law firm such as Lieff Cabraser that is working for patients, not DePuy.

6. What types of claims may I be eligible to bring?

The law in most states provides individuals with legal claims including the right to compensation for past injuries they suffered as a result of a medical device that is defective or fails to perform as advertised under certain circumstances. These damages may include past and future medical expenses, past and future lost earnings, other out-of-pocket expenses, and damages for pain and suffering.

7. What recovery will I receive?

If DePuy is found liable or settles with you out-of-court through your attorneys’ representation of you, you should expect a settlement or judgment that will fully compensate you for your medical bills, your pain and suffering and humiliation, and other financial losses. If you suffered a personal injury, the defendant will be responsible for paying for your medical care, both past and to be incurred in the future that is attributable to the defective device, your past and future lost earnings and any limitations on your ability to earn money, and compensation for pain and suffering. Your spouse also might be entitled to an award of loss of services and emotional support.

We have economists on retainer who specialize in evaluating injuries and losses and in calculating the lump-sum amounts necessary to determine a fair monetary compensation for your economic damages.

8. Can I receive any money from DePuy without prejudicing my claim?

It is important to carefully read and study any and all such offers to make sure there are no hidden costs or waiver of rights. Consulting with an attorney prior to signing any legal documents can often help guide appropriate action and reveal potential problems.

9. How quickly must I hire an attorney?

You should not feel pressured to make an immediate decision about hiring counsel. Focusing on restoring your health should take precedence over legal issues at this difficult time. However, keep in mind that there is a deadline for filing lawsuits, known as the statute of limitations. The deadline varies from state to state. Some states have only a one-year statute of limitations.

10. What is Broadspire and should I work with Broadspire?

Broadspire is a third party contractor hired by DePuy and Johnson & Johnson to deal with claims for medical bills of DePuy hip implant recipients. We advise our clients not to work directly with Broadspire. If it is in the client’s best interest, your attorneys can work with Broadspire on your behalf.

Broadspire is offering only to pay patient out-of-pocket medical costs, meaning that the patient’s insurance company (whether private, Medicaid or Medicare) will have to pay most of the medical costs. Broadspire is not offering to pay for all the non-medical expenses or losses that may be associated with the defective device, or for the pain and suffering of patients.

DePuy may require that patients wishing to contact Broadspire sign a medical authorization allowing DePuy to access the patient’s medical records and to take possession of the removed ASR device, if the patient has had revision surgery. When you are represented by your own attorney, DePuy may only access your medical records or removed ASR device under the attorney’s supervision. This ensures that your right of privacy is protected and that evidence relevant to your claim is properly handled and remains accessible to you.

11. Will I have to pay a fee for your review of my case?

There is no charge for Lieff Cabraser’s review of your case. If we decide we can represent you, we will discuss our contingent fees (calculated as a percentage of the recovery we obtain) and then provide a written contract to be agreed upon with you in writing.

12. How long will a lawsuit take?

We cannot give any guarantee as to when any case will be resolved. In some instances, a case will settle to our client’s satisfaction shortly after it is filed, or perhaps even before. In other cases, a final resolution may take two years or more.

Lieff Cabraser works swiftly and efficiently to obtain the maximum compensation for our clients and to bring each case to a successful conclusion as quickly as possible, while at the same time ensuring that all legal steps are vigorously pursued. We do not charge our clients hourly fees and earn no compensation for ourselves until you receive your recovery.

13. Do I need a lawyer? Why don't I just contact DePuy and work it out with their insurance company?

It is usually not advisable to try to resolve on your own a case involving a defective medical device causing substantial and prolonged injuries. An attorney can be critical to properly evaluating your case and advising you of your rights. Without counsel, and the experts counsel hires, you may never know the true value of your case.

It is important to understand that a company like DePuy and its insurers employ the services of lawyers who seek to minimize the legal exposure and financial payments that will be made to the victims of this defective device. In contrast, our duty is to maximize the compensation that our clients are entitled to receive.

14. How do I select an attorney to represent me?

In deciding on representation, you should seek a law firm with substantial experience in successfully prosecuting similar cases. It is important not only to verify the reputation and experience of the law firm as a whole, but to be sure that your case will be handled by lawyers with appropriate experience. You should choose a law firm with sufficient financial resources to conduct a thorough investigation to prosecute the case through trial and appeal if necessary.

15. What is Lieff Cabraser's track record in defective medical device cases?

Lieff Cabraser has successfully represented thousands of clients across America with defective medical devices in individual lawsuits. We helped hundreds of people who were forced to undergo revision surgery to remove defective hip and knee implants manufactured by Sulzer Orthopedics. We played a significant role in negotiating a settlement with Sulzer valued at more than $1 billion.

We are currently co-lead counsel in the federal coordinated In re Zimmer Durom Cup Product Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2158 (SDW), which is pending in the federal District Court in New Jersey. In January 2011, the Court overseeing all DePuy recall lawsuits in federal court appointed the leadership team of plaintiffs’ counsel for the organization and coordination of the litigation. The Court appointed Lieff Cabraser attorney Wendy R. Fleishman to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee. In July 2011, in the coordinated proceedings in California state court, the Court appointed Lieff Cabraser attorney Robert J. Nelson to serve on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee.

We have retained experts to assist us in the investigation and prosecution of the DePuy ASR and DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant litigation. We are actively representing over 180 injured DePuy hip patients nationwide.

16. If my faulty hip device was made by Stryker Corporation and not DePuy, what are my legal options?

Lieff Cabraser represents hip replacement patients nationwide who received the recalled Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II modular hip implant systems and their Stryker hip implant has failed and/or they have suffered tissue damage and have high metal particle levels in their blood stream.

Patients with failing Stryker Corporation Rejuvenate or ABG II hip replacement systems should visit our Stryker Hip Systems Recall page page for comprehensive information about Stryker hip injury lawsuits and the legal rights of patients injured by failing Stryker hip systems.