Johnson & Johnson agrees to $4 billion settlement in DePuy metal hip replacement lawsuit

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by Jim Orr

Johnson & Johnson has tentatively agreed to a $4 billion settlement plan that could resolve thousands of lawsuits filed by patients who received a defective metal-on-metal hip replacement manufactured and sold by DePuy Orthopaedics. If approved, the plan would be one of the largest product liability settlements for lawsuits involving medical device defects.

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, patients who had a DePuy hip implant removed and replaced with another device will be eligible to receive an average of about $350,000. Exact settlement amounts for each patient will depend on factors such as the individual’s health and age. About 12,000 DePuy lawsuits have been filed so far against Johnson & Johnson, although only about 7,000 to 8,000 patients will be covered under the proposed terms of the settlement.

Regardless of whether the DePuy settlement wins approval from the court overseeing the cases, Johnson & Johnson is still facing thousands of lawsuits from patients over another metal hip replacement known as Pinnacle. Like the DePuy ASR hip replacements, experts have found that the Pinnacle hip replacements have a higher than expected rate of complications requiring repair surgery.

DePuy Hip Replacements Recalled in 2010 Due to Premature Failure

Johnson & Johnson recalled its DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System and ASR Hip Resurfacing System all-metal hip replacements in 2010 after studies found that the devices were more likely to fail prematurely than other implants. Documents uncovered during lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson revealed that the company was aware years before the recall that the DePuy hip replacements were more likely to fail prematurely than other devices. According to the company, about 40% of metal-on-metal DePuy hip replacements will fail within five years, about eight times the expected failure rate with other hip implants.

Studies have revealed that high rate of problems with the DePuy implants may be due to the way these devices were designed. Researchers have found that the metal cup and ball in metal-on-metal hip replacements may grind against each other during use, causing them to shed metal particles near the site of the hip replacement.

Problems with DePuy Hip Replacements

Thousands of patients who underwent hip replacement surgery with an all-metal DePuy hip implant have reported numerous problems with the device, including:

  • Loosening of the implant
  • Fractures to the bones around the site of the implant
  • Metal debris that could cause chromium or cobalt poisoning, as well as local injuries
  • Dislocation of the implant, in which parts of the device become separated

In many cases, the problems experienced by DePuy hip implant users have required them to undergo revision surgery in order to repair the device. Many patients were also forced to endure additional surgeries in order to replace the DePuy implant, or to repair broken bones and other injuries cause by the artificial hip replacement.

Help for Patients Injured by Faulty Hip and Knee Replacements

Patients who were injured by a defective hip or knee replacement, such as those sold by Johnson & Johnson and DePuy, may be eligible to file a lawsuit and receive compensation for their injuries. The first step to ensuring that you receive the compensation that you deserve is to speak with an experienced attorney who can help guide you through the process of filing a lawsuit.

The lawyers of Heygood, Orr & Pearson have achieved years of experience handing liability claims involving defective medical devices and other products. Heygood, Orr & Pearson has secured more than $200 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients—including more than $50 million in 2010 alone.

Our partners Michael Heygood, Jim Orr, and Eric Pearson have each been named as “Super Lawyers” in the state of Texas for several consecutive years.* Our firm also received the highest possible rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the country’s top law firm rating organization.

For a free legal consultation and to find out whether you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against DePuy, Johnson & Johnson, or other manufacturers of hip and knee replacements, contact the law firm of Heygood, Orr & Pearson about your case. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out the free case information form located at the top of this page.

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Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr, Jr. and Eric Pearson were selected to the Super Lawyers List, a Thomson Reuters publication, for the years 2003 through 2013.