Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson is reportedly contemplating a massive settlement agreement with patients injured by their DuPuy unit’s ASR Hip Implant. Bloomberg News reports that “five people familiar with the matter” revealed that J&J may be willing to pay more than $300,000 per case, pushing the total settlement amount over $3 billion if most plaintiffs accept the offer.
In August 2010, DePuy Orthopaedics, a division of Johnson & Johnson, issued a voluntary recall of its ASR™ XL Acetabular Hip System and DePuy ASR™ Hip Resurfacing System. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the recall was due to the high failure rates associated with the metal-on-metal hip replacement devices.
More than 11,500 lawsuits have been filed against J&J in the U.S., with plaintiffs alleging the metal-on-metal implants caused a number of serious complications, including pain, swelling, and metallosis (a build-up of metal debris in the soft tissue of the body) which sometimes resulted in revision surgery to replace the failing hip.
Too Early to Guess
Two individual trials involving DePuy ASR recall claims have already concluded in other states with split results. In March of this year, a plaintiff was awarded more than $8 million after a California jury found that the ASR implant was defectively designed. However, just a few weeks later, a jury in Chicago found in favor of Johnson & Johnson in a second trial.
No official word has come from Johnson & Johnson regarding a settlement ahead of litigation. DuPuy representative Laurie Gawreluk issued an email stating, “Reports about a possible resolution of the litigation are premature and speculative, including any estimates of resolution amounts.”
Several consolidated federal cases will soon be heard around the country. The Court has scheduled McCracken v. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al., Case No 1:11 dp 20485, to be the first bellwether trial. The case will be heard on September 9, 2013 at the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio (Cleveland).
Stryker Hip Implant Recall
In July of 2012, two other types of hip systems were also recalled. The Rejuvenate Modular Primary Hip System and Rejuvenate Total Hip System, both manufactured by the Stryker Corporation, were recalled due to possible side effects similar to those seen in metal-on-metal hip implants.
Design issues are a key factor in these devices, but so is the choice of materials. Using the combination of titanium and cobalt chromium in a modular implant can result in corrosion. In addition, it exposes patients to potential multi-organ injuries from the release of heavy metals into the body. A study of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Adverse Event database reveals Stryker Rejuvenate Modular Hip System has been linked to a number of problems and has caused injuries to patients, as well as requiring painful additional surgical operations to remove the devices.
If you have experienced pain and discomfort as a result of a Stryker hip implant, please call our medical device attorneys today. We can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year at 1-800-ELK-OHIO or just fill out our easy no-obligation online contact form.
“J&J Said to Weigh $3 Billion Settlement of Its Hip Implant Cases” by Jef Feeley & David Voreacos, Bloomberg News, August 21, 2013.