Articles Posted in Depuy Hip Replacement

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DePuy Orthopaedics is facing more than 11,500 lawsuits in the United States and many more cases abroad. Evidence indicates the company is worried about the potential outcome of all of these cases, as our Boston hip implant lawyers recently reported DePuy’s parent company, Johnson & Johnson, is considering a settlement of more than $3 billion to resolve DePuy cases. This would be the highest settlement paid to-date to resolve claims arising out of defective hip implants. u-s--supreme-court-hallway-658238-m.jpg

Amid concerns about the potential liability the company faces, Harris Martin recently reported that DePuy Orthopaedics has asked the court to rule that home-state law should apply on punitive damages for the upcoming ASR multi-district litigation. If the court agrees to this, then the rights of individual plaintiffs to recover punitive damages could potentially be more limited than might otherwise be the case.
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Johnson & Johnson is currently facing more than 11,500 lawsuits throughout the United States. Our Boston defective hip attorneys know that Johnson & Johnson is facing these lawsuits as a result of DePuy hip implant products. The DePuy products are manufactured by a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary and, unfortunately, have a high failure rate and can cause patients to experience serious complications. tightened-100-dollar-roll-1377964-m.jpg

Johnson & Johnson is reportedly considering making a large settlement offer to resolve as many of the lawsuits as possible. According to Bloomberg.com, the company hopes to resolve cases arising from DePuy hip replacement devices by early next year.

Johnson & Johnson Settlement Would Be the Largest To-Date Related to Hip Implant Defects
DePuy, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, is facing massive potential legal liability as a result of its defective hip implant products. In 2010, the company was forced to recall 93,000 implants, an estimated 37,000 of which had been implanted in patients in the United States. The recall was prompted by the fact that 12 percent of all of the DePuy hip implant and replacement devices had failed within five years (a much higher failure rate than for other hip replacement solutions).

Unfortunately, the failure rate of the DePuy products doesn’t seem to be declining but instead appears to be getting worse in recent years. Further, the number of lawsuits has also been on the rise, with patients suing to recover monetary compensation for pain and for the cost of replacement surgeries when the DePuy hip products fail.

There is some good news for victims, however. In the first lawsuit arising from DePuy hip implant devices, the court found in the plaintiff’s favor and Johnson & Johnson lost an $8.3 million verdict. While the second lawsuit saw Johnson & Johnson prevail, the company still faces many potential viable claims.

Johnson & Johnson wants to resolve cases by compensating those who have been harmed, rather than by going to trial. The company is reportedly considering payout out a settlement of more than $300,000 per case. This would result in a total settlement in excess of $3 billion, which is 50 percent higher than the settlement offer proposed in recent negotiations.

If the $3 billion settlement were to occur, this would be the highest amount of money paid to settle a hip implant claim, topping the prior record, which was set when a company called Sulzer agreed to pay $1 billion in 2001 to resolve lawsuits against it.

Whether Johnson & Johnson is actually able to resolve its cases through settlement will depend upon a number of factors, including how many plaintiffs are willing to accept the proposed settlement and how several product-liability trials go between September and January. The first of the seven pending claims that could have an impact on settlement is scheduled to begin on September 9 in Cleveland. The judge in Cleveland is overseeing approximately 8,000 federal cases that were consolidated.

In the meantime, Johnson & Johnson has already spent approximately $993 million on informing patients of the recall of the defective DePuy hip implants. The company also continues to provide a reimbursement program to patients who have DePuy hip implants and who require recall-related testing or treatment necessitated by the recall of the dangerous hip implant product. The high costs and large potential settlement should serve as a reminder to medical device companies of the importance of ensuring that medical products are safe.
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Thousands of patients throughout the United States are currently involved in litigation to hold DePuy Orthopaedics responsible for damages caused by the metal-on-metal hip implant devices manufactured by this Johnson & Johnson subsidiary. While some of these cases against DePuy Orthopaedics are just getting started, others have already been tried and decisions rendered. 1409595_gavel_5.jpg

Our Boston defective hip implant lawyers know that many of the cases have been successful for injured patients. In March of 2013, for example, a California man was awarded $8.34 million in damages due to injuries sustained after he had a DePuy ASR hip replacement device implanted. DePuy Orthopaedics appealed the decision that was made by the jury in that case, but a judge recently made the decision that the verdict would be upheld.

Judge Upholds Jury Verdict
Juries make decisions about whether a defendant is legally liable (legally responsible) for causing injuries and about the extent of the damages that the plaintiff endured. The damages can include medical expenses; lost income/missed work time; pain and suffering; emotional distress and other economic and non-economic losses. The damage award is a monetary award that is supposed to “make the plaintiff whole.”

In the recent DePuy case, the jury determined that the California plaintiff was entitled to $8.34 million in damages to fully compensate him for his losses. The injured plaintiff had underwent hip surgery in 2007 and subsequently experienced serious complications including metal toxicity, pain and walking problems.

After the jury awarded the plaintiff the multi-million dollar verdict, DePuy Orthopaedics asked the judge to grant a new trial or for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV). A JNOV would mean that the judge would say that the jury was wrong, that they made a decision that wasn’t supported by the law, and that a different ruling should be entered.

The judge, however, declined to either allow for a new trial or to grant a JNOV. Instead, the judge said that there was sufficient evidence that the jury could reasonably have concluded that the DePuy ASR product had a defect and that the medical device manufacturer failed to provide adequate information to patients about the risks of using the metal-on-metal hip replacement product.

The judge’s decision means that the verdict still stands, at least for now, against DePuy Orthopaedics. When the judge announced his decision, he also scheduled a hearing for later in the month to address the plaintiff’s request that the medical device company be responsible for paying $1.2 million in court costs and litigation expenses.

This is bad news for DePuy Orthopaedics not only because of the large damage award that the company is supposed to pay to the plaintiff, which could get larger if the judge determines that the company has to pay the plaintiff’s costs. It is also bad news because there are thousands of other lawsuits out there.

Since one jury has already found that DePuy was responsible for millions in injuries, there is a good chance that at least some of the other juries hearing DePuy cases will also find for the plaintiff and award compensation to those patients injured by the defective hip replacement devices.
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Our Boston hip replacement injury attorneys know that there are thousands of lawsuits pending by patients who had metal-on-metal hip replacement devices implanted. These lawsuits are against many different manufacturers, but DePuy Orthopaedics is one of the major companies that is being sued for their hip replacement systems. DePuy Orthopaedics is a division of Johnson & Johnson that released a product called an ASR Hip Replacement System, which had a very high failure rate. 1409592_gavel_2.jpg

In the first DePuy hip replacement trial, a jury in Los Angeles awarded $8.3 million in damages to the plaintiff, who had experienced complications. The damages were later reduced to $8.26 million to account for amounts that were paid by a collateral source. The outcome of this lawsuit gave hope to many other plaintiffs who had pending litigation against DePuy. However, a subsequent lawsuit resulted in DePuy not being held responsible for losses.

DePuy Case Outcomes
According to Healio.com, the second lawsuit took place in a Cook County Illinois Circuit Court and the ruling came down from the jury on April 16. The jury indicated that DePuy was not liable for the harm the plaintiff had suffered. In response to the outcome, a press released was issued by DePuy indicating that the company had acted in a responsible way in regards to its hip replacement products.

Unfortunately, the reality is that this is not true. DePuy released its metal-on-metal hip implant products with minimal testing under special FDA approval rules called 501(K) clearance rules. This allowed for the hip replacement product to come to market quickly because it was substantially similar to other devices already being sold. Once the product came to market, problems began to develop and the high failure rate of the DePuy hip replacement systems rapidly became apparent. Yet, the product continued to be sold.

It was not until August of 2010 that DePuy finally made the choice to recall the hip replacement products. This did not occur until after the National Joint Registry for England and Wales had already reported that between 12 and 13 percent of all patients with DePuy implants would require a revision surgery within a five year period.

That DePuy released a product with minimal testing and then failed to act quickly makes clear that the company made mistakes. However, in product liability cases, this is not even a key issue since manufacturers can be held strictly liable for defective medical devices. If the DePuy hip replacement products cause health problems for patients, as all medical data and evidence suggests that the products cause, then DePuy Orthopaedics should be found liable and should be made to pay the plaintiff’s damages.

The outcome of the Los Angeles Case, in which the jury ruled that the design of the ASR system was defective, was the right outcome that makes the most sense in light of the facts. More trials are pending and plaintiffs are hopeful that the cases will be resolved in the same way as the Los Angeles case, with injured patients being fully and fairly compensated for all of the losses caused by the defective hip replacement devices.
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A Montana man, the first to take on medical device manufacturing giant Johnson & Johnson and subsidiary DePuy over defective hip implants, has prevailed, with a jury awarding him $8.3 million in damages.
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Our Boston personal injury lawyers reported the verdict last week. One of the most interesting developments of the trial is that a high-level executive at J&J testified that the rate of corrective surgeries as a result of the product was “not acceptable.”

Yet in the same breath, he called the assertion that a recall was an admission of a defect “absurd.” Of course, why would a product need to be recalled if there was nothing wrong with it?

The Los Angeles jury sided with the Montana plaintiff, awarding him $8.3 million in damages.

A second trial is underway in Chicago, where a 54-year-old nurse is claiming that her ASR XL hip replacement device was defective. She had the all-metal device implanted back in 2008. It had to be replaced just three years later in 2011.

Her case, Strum v. DePuy, is the second of some 10,750 pending lawsuits involving ASR implants.

Altogether, the company recalled some 93,000 hip implants back in 2010. The J&J executive said that the devices weren’t meeting the clinical expectations of the company. In other words, they were failing.

Still, the executive backpedaled on his statement, saying that, “We absolutely didn’t say the product is a defective product. We said, ‘We don’t know. We need to figure this out.’ ”

It’s unfortunate, though unsurprising, that a corporate giant such as this simply won’t admit to the damage it has caused these individual consumers, many of whom were ailing to begin with, and simply compensate them for the suffering they have endured.

The silver lining about the $8.3 million verdict is that it sets a strong precedent. It’s basically an incentive for J&J to settle legitimate claims, rather than drag each one into court, considering the time and expense of a trial.

The problem with the DePuy devices is that they are solid metal, and normal erosion on the parts has resulted in metal poisoning, as well as a breakdown of the product years before intended. That means patients often must undergo new surgical procedures to correct the problems.

In other hip replacement news, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration has proposed stricter regulations for two different hip replacement models manufactured by Stryker Corp. that were allowed to remain on the market. Those included improved practices for pre-market clinical studies. Unfortunately, these proposed changes have come too late for tens of thousands of patients who have already been implanted with these faulty devices.

Stryker issued a voluntary recall last July of its ABG II and Rejuvenate hip implant systems. These devices had the same metal-on-metal debris issues as the DePuy models.
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There are more than 10,000 lawsuits that have been filed regarding the premature failure and other complications of the DePuy ASR hip replacement system.
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Our Boston DePuy ASR hip replacement plaintiff lawyers understand the first of those has set a promising precedent: An $8.3 million verdict in favor of the plaintiff. This verdict is likely to open the door to future settlements in the case with parent manufacturer Johnson & Johnson.

With so many cases pending, the company is likely to want to speed up and resolve the pending litigation. Seeing that plaintiffs are having success in court means it’s less costly for them in terms of time and lawyers fees to simply settle a claim before it ever gets to court.

Court documents in this case revealed that Johnson & Johnson, as well as DePuy, were aware of critical design flaws in the product that would result in early failure – years before they initiated a recall on the ASR model. In fact, DePuy knew that the product had failed internal testing as far back as 2007. And yet, according to The New York Times, the company continued to sell the product without disclosing to doctors the results of those tests.

Those internal tests showed that the ASR model was probably going to fail within five years on about 40 percent of the patients who received it. Compared to the failure rates of most other orthopedic implants, the DePuy ASR was eight times higher.

These devices are metal-on-metal, with a metal ball inside a metal pocket. The inherent problem is that the cup had only a small surface area in which the ball could move. In turn, that increased the risk for the ball to grind against the cup, which generates metallic debris and further erosion. The production of debris, additionally, resulted in shards of chromium and cobalt being released into the nearby tissue, which resulted in swelling, inflammation and even poisoning.

In this case, the plaintiff’s hip implant was installed sometime in 2007. Immediately after the surgery, he knew something wasn’t right. He suffered severe complications, which included extreme pain, difficulty with walking and metallic poisoning. In order to have the device removed and replaced, he had to undergo a risky revision surgery.

It wasn’t until August of 2010 – some three years after DePuy and Johnson & Johnson knew about the defects that would lead to situations like this, that the devices were actually recalled, some 93,000 units.

The trial stretched several days, after which the Los Angeles jury awarded the plaintiff nearly $400,000 in economic damages and $8 million in non-economic, or punitive, damages.

Of course, DePuy has announced its intention to appeal. It would, since it’s never accepted responsibility. Our Boston hip replacement plaintiff attorneys believe they have little chance at success.

A second trial is underway involving a 54-year-old nurse from Illinois who had the device implanted back in 2008.

Andrew Ekdahl, president of DePuy’s orthopedic products unit, testified before a Chicago jury in that case that the reason for the recall was that the revision rate, or the number of patients who had to return for corrective surgery, was “not acceptable.”
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