First Trial Over DePuy Hip Implants Finished – Plaintiff Receives $8.3 Million

GFI Blog LabelBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law and Carole C. Schriefer, R.N., J.D., The Health Law Firm

On March 8, 2013, a California jury ruled that Johnson and Johnson’s DePuy unit designed a defective metal-on-metal ASR XL hip implant and was negligent, according to Bloomberg News. The plaintiff in this case was awarded $8.3 million in compensation damages, after the jury found that the design of the hip implant was the reason behind the plaintiff’s injuries. This is the first trial, out of 10,750 lawsuits filed against DePuy’s ASR XL hip implant. Click here to read more on the first trial against DePuy from Bloomberg News.

In August 2010, DePuy recalled 93,000 ASR XL hip implants after 12 percent (12%) failed within five years. Last year, 44 percent (44%) allegedly failed in Australia within seven years. (Click here to see the press release on the recall from DePuy.) We recently blogged on similar problems with Stryker brand hip implants and similar litigation. Click here to read that blog.

Hip Implants Allegedly Sold with Design Flaws.

During the trial, attorneys for the plaintiff argued DePuy knew that the design flaws in the defective device could cause it to shed particles into patients.

Almost all the patients who filed lawsuits complain that DePuy’s ASR XL hip implants have caused them constant pain and follow-up surgeries, according to Bloomberg News.

DePuy Believes Product is Solid.

During the trial a DePuy spokeswoman said the company believes the ASR XL was properly designed and that the actions they took concerning the product were appropriate.

According to Bloomberg News, an attorney for DePuy said three things have to work well for a successful surgery: a doctor who does his/her job; a device that works properly; and a patient whose body responds to the implant. The attorney went on to say that the bodies of some patients with existing medical conditions did not react well to the implants, and they do not know why.

Second Lawsuit in Court in Illinois.

On March 12, 2013, a second trial began in Illinois. This time a nurse claims her DePuy hip failed after three years and she needed a replacement surgery. Click here to read more on the second trial.

DePuy has a long road ahead. The company faces about 500 lawsuits in state court in Illinois, about three-quarters of the total lawsuits were consolidated in the federal court in Ohio and more than 2,000 are in the state court in California. The next trial is scheduled for May in Ohio federal court.

DePuy Cases Very Similar to Those Against Stryker Orthopaedics.

As of February 2013, more than 80 lawsuits have been consolidated into multicounty litigation (MCL) in the Superior Court in New Jersey against Stryker Orthopaedics. Patients claim the company’s Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck femoral hip systems are defective, according to a number of news sources. The case is on track to becoming one of the largest mass-tort litigations in the country.

In July 2012, Stryker issued a voluntary recall of the Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck femoral hip systems. (Click here to see the press release from Stryker.) The company is currently in the process of sending out letters to surgeons urging them to perform clinical exams, such as blood work and cross sectional imaging, on patients who had implants installed. Click here to read a letter from Stryker to a surgeon.

Contact a Health Law Attorney Experienced in Products Liability Cases.

Since the implants were recently recalled, it’s expected that there are many more cases out there.  Many of the people who have already filed lawsuits claim Stryker marketed and sold a defective device and failed to warn the public, among other issues.

If you or a family member received a Stryker Rejuvenate or ABG II hip implant and suffered complications, you don’t have to face the medical issues alone. Contact an experienced attorney that is board certified in health law. Before you talk about settling, please call an attorney. Our attorneys include those who are board certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law, as well as licensed health professionals who are also attorneys.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

What Do You Think?

What do you think of the DePuy and Stryker lawsuits? Have you experienced complications for a hip implant? Please leave thoughtful comments below.

Sources:

Possley, Maurice, Voreacos, David and Pettersson, Edvard. “J&J Must Pay $8.3 Million Over Defective Hip, Jury Says.” Bloomberg. (March 8, 2013). From: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-08/j-j-must-pay-8-3-million-in-suit-over-defective-hip-jury-says.html

Harris, Andrew and Voreacos, David. “J&J Faces Second Trial Over Recalled Hip After Loss.” Bloomberg. (March 12, 2013). From: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-11/j-j-faces-second-trial-over-recalled-hip-after-losing-first-case.html

About the Authors: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area.  www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.

Carole C. Schriefer is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.

The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.Copyright © 1996-2012 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

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