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DePuy Lawsuits

Johnson & Johnson/DePuy Lawsuits Summarized

State Court DePuy ASR Hip Trials

In the first of the DePuy metal-on-metal hip implant cases that went to trial, a California jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $8.3 million. The plaintiff, Loren Kransky, alleged that DePuy ASR hip’s defective design was the cause of his injuries and subsequent revision surgeries.

Although the jury believed Johnson and Johnson was negligent, there were no punitive damages ordered because the jury did not believe DePuy acted with fraud or malice. Johnson & Johnson reportedly is planning to appeal the jury’s decision that Kransky’s injuries were caused by a design defect of the ASR system.

The second lawsuit against DePuy occurred in Illinois state court in Chicago. It ended in April 2013 with a defense verdict. DePuy argued that the plaintiff was hypersensitive to its metal hip since after the DePuy ASR implant was removed, and another hip implanted, the new artificial hip also failed.

Federal Court ASR Hip Trials

A DePuy injury case was set for September 2013 in the DePuy ASR Multi-District Litigation in federal court in Ohio. A bellwether case is one selected by the parties and the court as typical of the litigation and therefore useful in allowing the parties to test their arguments, with the goal of moving the overall litigation towards resolution.

The start of the trial was postponed by the Court on September 20, 2013. With the settlement announced by J&J in November 2013, we do not expect any bellwether trial to be scheduled for federal court, if at all, until well into 2014.

Background on the J&J/DePuy Hip Replacement Recall Lawsuits 

Patients represented by Lieff Cabraser have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics seeking compensation for their pain, suffering, and other physical injuries, the cost of replacement surgery, and other financial difficulties as a result of the failure of their DePuy hip implant. The complaints charge that J&J and DePuy concealed from patients and physicians that their ASR hip implants and Pinnacle metal-on-metal artificial hip implants were defective.

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.

The J&J and DePuy hip replacement recall lawsuits charge that the DePuy ASR hip implant and the DePuy Pinnacle hip with a metal insert (also called the Ultramet metal liner) suffer from one or more similar design or manufacturing defects. These alleged defects cause excessive amounts of metallic particles, cobalt and chromium, to wear from the surface of the acetabular insert or from the femoral head.

 

Anatomy of a hip implant

The Anterior Hip Joint examined

The cobalt and chromium particles prompt the body to reject the artificial hip. The symptoms of a rejected hip implant are often pain, looseness, dislocation, and some cracking and popping sounds. Inside the hip joint, the metal reaction often causes fluids to accumulate and soft tissue and bone to die.

DePuy Lawsuit Updates

State Court DePuy ASR Hip Trials

In the first of DePuy metal-on-metal hip implant cases that went to trial, a California jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $8.3 million. The plaintiff, Loren Kransky, alleged that DePuy ASR hip’s defective design was the cause of his injuries and subsequent revision surgeries. (Kransky’s case was not originally supposed to be the first of 10,750 to go to trial, but he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was not expected to survive and so the trial was accelerated).

Although the jury believed Johnson and Johnson was negligent, there was no punitive damages ordered because the jury did not believe DePuy acted with fraud or malice. Johnson & Johnson reportedly is planning to appeal the jury’s decision that Kransky’s injuries were caused by a design defect of the ASR system.

The second lawsuit against DePuy occurred in Illinois state court in Chicago. It ended in April with a defense verdict. DePuy argued that the plaintiff was hypersensitive to its metal hip since after the DePuy ASR implant was removed, and another hip implanted, the new artificial hip also failed.

Federal Court ASR Hip Trials

A DePuy injury case was set for September 2013 in the DePuy ASR Multi-District Litigation in federal court in Ohio. A bellwether case is one selected by the parties and the court as typical of the litigation and therefore useful in allowing the parties to test their arguments, with the goal of moving the overall litigation towards resolution. The start of the trial was postponed by the Court on September 20, 2013. It is now expected to commence prior to mid December 2013.

Lieff Cabraser is working on issues related to the regulatory oversight of the DePuy ASR hip for the MDL bellwether trials. Plaintiffs charge that DePuy should have undertaken clinical studies on the safety and effectiveness of the ASR hip implant prior to marketing the ASR for sale.

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Content by Wendy Fleishman