11,000+ Lawsuits Advance Against DePuy, J&J at Federal, State Levels

DePuy, A Johnson & Johnson Company logo

DePuy, A Johnson & Johnson Company logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

UPDATE ON DEPUY HIP REPLACEMENT LAWSUITS ACROSS THE COUNTRY

Thousands of lawsuits against DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, for failures of its DePuy ASR hip replacement devices continue to move forward in federal and state courts.

Meanwhile, a recent report by Bloomberg said that Johnson & Johnson is considering paying $300,000 per case to settle the more than 11,000 ASR cases pending across the U.S. If the Bloomberg report is true, it means that Johnson & Johnson is prepared to pay more than $3 billion in settlements. The company says it has already spent about $1 billion on its 2010 recall of the ASR hip replacement device in medical costs and in informing patients and surgeons, according to the same Bloomberg report.

Oklahoma patients who have undergone hip replacement surgery and received a DePuy device and are experiencing serious problems, as well as those who have received any other hip device and are suffering complications, should act quickly to protect their rights by contacting an Oklahoma hip replacement lawyer for a free consultation.

Johnson & Johnson’s interest in settling is surely influenced by the $8.3 million award won by Loren Kransky, a retired Montana prison guard, in Los Angeles Superior Court in March. It was the first DePuy ASR case to go to trial. However, Johnson & Johnson won the second ASR case to go to trial, that of plaintiff Carol Strum, which was heard in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago. Ms. Strum received a DePuy ASR implant in 2008. After high levels of cobalt and chromium were found in her blood, she had the device removed in 2011. A jury decided against any award for Strum.

DePuy Orthopaedics, based in Warsaw, IN, manufactured the ASR XL Acetabular Hip System, which came on the market in 2005, and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System, which was never offered on the U.S. market. The company recalled both products in August 2010.

Plaintiffs contend that the design of the DePuy hip replacement device was faulty, particularly the metal-on-metal design, which causes metal debris to be released, leading to metal poisoning, inflammation, tissue death and bone resorption, as well as other ill effects.

Many of the lawsuits against DePuy further allege that the manufacturer knew about the device’s problems long before surgeons and patients were informed of the increased risks. Various plaintiffs have alleged that DePuy failed to test the device adequately, ignored surgeons who reported device failures, and that DePuy considered a redesign of the device in 2008 but did not recall the device until two years later.

8,000+ Federal Cases in Ohio

More than 8,000 federal ASR cases against DePuy have been consolidated in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio before Judge David A. Katz. A report last week from the federal MDL Judicial Panel showed 8,313 pending cases in the Ohio MDL.

Two of those federal cases, on behalf of plaintiffs Faye Dorney-Madgitz and Ann McCracken, have been selected for bellwether trials. Both cases were set to go to trial in September, but both have been continued (postponed) and are now set to begin sometime before Jan. 24, 2014.

2,300 Cases in San Francisco

A case on behalf of plaintiff Robert Eugene Ottman was settled earlier this month. Ottman’s case set scheduled to start trial in San Francisco on Oct. 15. Ottman is represented by the same law firm that represented Kransky in his $8.3 million award represents Ottman. Terms of the settlement are confidential.

About 2,300 cases are pending in the California Judicial Council Coordinated Proceeding before Judge Richard Kramer in San Francisco. Ottman’s case was the first of those California cases scheduled to go to trial.

In his petition, Ottman claimed that his metal-on-metal ASR hip implant caused several health problem and necessitated revision surgery.

650+ Cases in New Jersey

More than 650 cases filed in New Jersey have been “centralized” in Bergen County before Judge Brian R. Martinotti. Although most DePuy cases have been transferred to federal courts, because Johnson & Johnson is based in New Jersey, most NJ plaintiffs have the right to keep their cases at the state level. The first bellwether trial in that centralized litigation is set for Jan. 13, 2014.

In that trial, two cases have been combined: the claims of plaintiff Barbara Gullo and of Kevin and Kathleen Coughlin. Ms. Gullo received an ASR hip replacement device in December 2008. In 2010, after DePuy recalled the device, Gullo’s doctors checked her blood and found elevated levels of chromium and cobalt. She had revision surgeries in September 2011 and again in October 2011. She had a heart attack in November 2011.

Kevin Coughlin received an ASR hip replacement device in June 2009. In April 2011, he was experienced significant pain. He subsequently had revision surgery. A blood test showed elevated levels of cobalt and chromium.