By: Staff Writers | Published: November 9th, 2010
A panel of federal judges is set to decide whether all lawsuits over recalled DePuy ASR hip replacements should be centralized and consolidated during pretrial litigation in one court.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has scheduled oral arguments on a motion to centralize all federal DePuy ASR recall lawsuits for November 18 in Durham, North Carolina. At that time, the MDL Panel will hear from plaintiffs’ attorneys and lawyers for DePuy Orthopaedics about whether the cases should be coordinated as part of an MDL, and which judge should be assigned to preside over the DePuy hip lawsuits.
There are a growing number of hip replacement lawsuits that have been filed in federal district courts throughout the United States following a DePuy recall issued in August for approximately 93,000 ASR Hip Resurfacing Systems and ASR XL Acetabular Systems. All of the complaints involve similar allegations that problems with the DePuy ASR hip implants caused plaintiffs to face an increased risk that their hip replacement may fail, often resulting in the need for painful and risky hip revision surgery.
The DePuy metal-on-metal hip was recalled after data suggested that about one out of every 8 people who received the artificial hip may have their DePuy ASR hip fail within five years.
While a handful of DePuy ASR lawsuits were filed prior to the recall, the number of cases involved in the litigation continues to increase dramatically as individuals learn about the recall and the risk of complications with the DePuy metal hip replacement systems.
The DePuy hip replacement lawsuits involve allegations that DePuy, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, failed to adequately test the metal hip implant and failed to immediately issue a recall when it became apparent that users were experiencing a higher-than-expected failure rate.
Some plaintiffs are seeking to have the cases consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey under Judge Susan D. Wigenton, where many of the cases are currently pending.
DePuy Orthopaedics has indicated that it does not oppose consolidation, but does not want the cases assigned to Judge Wigenton because she is already overseeing the Zimmer Durom Cup hip implant litigation, which was transferred to her court in June. DePuy argues that it would be inappropriate to have Judge Wigenton preside over such similar litigation involving different hip implants, and could cause confusion and unintended prejudice to all parties.
The DePuy ASR is a metal-on-metal hip replacement system developed in 2005. Health care professionals have increasingly been warning about problems with metal-on-metal hip implants, which can shed metal particles into the body. The particles can damage soft tissue, cause inflammatory reactions and lead to bone loss. The DePuy ASR hip failures appear to be linked to a defective design of the acetabular cup, which is shallower than acetabular cups made by other companies, making it prone to problems.
The MDL panel will meet at Duke Law School in Durham, North Carolina. The Panel will determine whether consolidation of the DePuy ASR hip implant litigation is appropriate and consider a variety of different factors in determining where the cases will be transferred, including where relevant documents and witnesses are located, where cases are pending, whether the location is centrally located, the number of other civil cases or MDL cases assigned to each court and the preferences expressed by the parties.
If an MDL is formed, as DePuy ASR hip implant lawyers file cases in federal district courts throughout the United States, they will be transferred to the assigned judge for pretrial proceedings. This will help reduce duplicative discovery among thousands of similar cases, avoid conflicting rulings from judges in different districts. It is expected that hundreds, if not several thousand, cases will ultimately be included in the DePuy hip replacement litigation.
Tags: DePuy, DePuy ASR, Depuy ASR Hip, DePuy Hip Replacement, Durom Cup, Hip Implant, Johnson & Johnson, Metal Hip Replacement, Metal-on-Metal Hip, Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacement, New Jersey, Zimmer, Zimmer Durom Cup, Zimmer Hip Replacement