According to Bloomberg News, a judicial panel recently decided that all of the pretrial proceedings in federal lawsuits against pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson, over their recalled hip-replacement systems will be overseen in Ohio by one federal judge.
The news source reports that U.S. District Judge David A. Katz will “supervise evidence-gathering efforts in cases over the ASR XL Acetabular System, which J&J’s DePuy Orthopaedics unit recalled on Aug. 26 after the implants stopped functioning properly.”
The Multidistrict Litigation Judicial Panel explains that this consolidation of cases “‘will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of the litigation,’” Bloomberg reports. The news source explains that around “150 federal lawsuits are pending,” while a plaintiff’s lawyer claims that he represents hundreds more claimants with these defective hip replacements.
In an interview, that plaintiff’s lawyer said he was “‘highly confident there will be thousands of lawsuits,’” which he believes amount to billions in damages, Bloomberg reports. The news source explains that DePuy, an orthopedics unit of J&J, “recalled both the ASR XL Acetabular System, a total hip-replacement product approved by U.S. Food and Drug Administration in August 2005, and the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System.”
According to a spokeswoman for DePuy, 93,000 of these systems were implanted worldwide, with 37,000 in the U.S., Bloomberg reports. A New York Times article explains that the ASR XL Acetabular System is “a hip socket used in traditional hip replacement,” while the ASR Hip Resurfacing System is “a partial hip replacement that involves placing a metal cap on the ball of the femur, a method intended to preserve more bone.” The Times explains that the ASR system was “approved for use in countries outside the United States.”
Both J&J and DePuy “said they recalled the devices after researchers found many patients needed ‘revision surgery’ after five years because of design defects,” according to Bloomberg. Nevertheless, the DePuy spokeswoman claimed that “‘DePuy remains committed to covering reasonable and customary costs of testing and treatment for patients who need services, including revision surgery if it is necessary, associated with the ASR recall,’” the article explains. Although DePuy said the majority of ASR implant surgeries were successful, “the company advised patients who had had hip replacements with the recalled products to visit their surgeons for an evaluation and annual monitoring,” The New York Times reports.
However, Bloomberg explains that this is not the first medical-device maker to face a costly product-liability case regarding a faulty hip-replacement system. In 2001, Bloomberg reports that Sulzer AG agreed to a “$1 billion settlement of suits alleging hip and knee implants made by its former Sulzer Medica unit were defective.”
The news source explains that in the U.K., researchers recently discovered “that after five years, 13 percent of patients with complete hip replacements and 12 percent with resurfacing devices needed a second operation, known as a revision.” The New York Times article reports that in the U.S., “the F.D.A. had been receiving complaints that the devices failed early in some patients, requiring expensive and painful operations to put in new hip replacements.”
If you or a loved one has experienced a serious side effect or symptoms of side effects related to a DePuy hip replacement device, contact Newsome Law Firm and fill out a case evaluation form today. Our team of attorneys has experience specific to complications associated with medical device recalls. Not only can they give you the legal guidance you need, they can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Singer, Natasha. (August 26, 2010) “Johnson & Johnson Recalls Hip Implants.” Retrieved on December 7, 2010 from the New York Times website.
Voreacos, David and Jef Feeley. (December 4, 2010) “J&J Hip Replacement Lawsuits Given to One Judge.” Retrieved on December 7, 2010 from Bloomberg News.