First trial in federal DePuy ASR hip replacement lawsuits postponed again, fueling settlements rumors

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by Eric Pearson

Ann McCracken was implanted with the DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip replacement in 2009. In her lawsuit against DePuy, she alleges that, as a result of the procedure, “she suffered and continues to suffer serious bodily injury and was forced to undergo revision surgery.” Her lawsuit is one of numerous federal suits alleging that a DePuy Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) XL metal-on-metal hip implant failed which have been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation for pretrial efficiency.

U.S. District Judge David A. Katz, who is presiding over the DePuy ASR hip implant multidistrict litigation issued an order on Sept. 20 postponing the start date of McCracken’s trial from Sept. 24, 2013, to sometime within the next 90 days. This is the second postponement; the trial had recently been scheduled to start on September 9, 2013. According to the recent order, “the scheduling of expert witnesses by both parties has become an extremely difficult task [due to the initial continuance]. Additionally, issues remain with regard to scheduling of additional depositions and pretrial discovery which are necessary for the thorough preparation and presentation of this bellwether case.”

Johnson & Johnson, which owns DePuy as a subsidiary, recalled 93,000 ASR hips in 2010. The recall involves a metal-on-metal alloy used in two related models— the ASR XL Acetabular System, and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System. In announcing the recall, Johnson & Johnson noted that, within five years, 13 percent of ASR XL hips failed and needed revisions, and 12 percent of the ASR Hip Resurfacing Systems failed.

Lawsuits filed against the company alleged that debris from the metal ball sliding against the metal cup causes tissue death around the joint and may increase the amount of metal ions in the bloodstream to harmful levels. Plaintiffs’ lawyers have argued that DePuy failed to test the device adequately before selling it in the U.S. in 2005, buried surgeon complaints of mounting failures, and studied a redesign of the ASR before scrapping that effort in 2008.

In March, a California state court jury awarded $8.3 million to Loren Kransky for damages caused by Mr. Kransky’s implantation and revision of the recalled DePuy ASR XL hip implant. The Kranksy case was the first trial regarding the DePuy ASR. In April, an Illinois jury ruled in favor of Johnson & Johnson in the second trial. Meanwhile, rumors persist that Johnson & Johnson is contemplating a potentially record-breaking global settlement of pending hip implant cases. Bloomberg has reported that sources familiar with the DePuy litigation say that the company is considering a $3 billion global settlement. The rumored settlement would resolve up to 11,500 ASR lawsuits, suggesting the average settlement would be about $300,000 per case.

Heygood, Orr & Pearson currently represents individuals who have suffered pain and other injuries from receiving a defective metal-on-metal hip replacements such as the DePuy implant. If you suffered such an injury, you may have valuable legal rights. To receive a free legal consultation and find out if you are eligible to file a case, please call our toll-free hotline at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out our free case evaluation form located on this page.