DePuy ASR Hip Lawsuit Deadline Extended For Non-Revision Surgery Plaintiffs
The election deadline has been extended for individuals who filed a DePuy ASR hip lawsuit, but have not yet required revision surgery for the metal-on-metal implant, providing until January 31 for plaintiffs to decide whether to dismiss their lawsuit or continue with the claim at this time.
As part of a DePuy ASR settlement agreement reached in late 2013, which resolves about 8,000 lawsuits filed on behalf of individuals who required revision surgery prior to August 31, 2013, plaintiffs who did not qualify for the settlement were required to elect whether to continue with their case at this time, or dismiss the complaint without prejudice, which would allow them to refile the hip lawsuit in the future if they require revision surgery.
In a case management order (PDF) issued December 24, U.S. District Judge David Katz announced that the deadline for making the required election is extended to January 31, following agreement by the parties.
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Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedic’s subsidiary has agreed to pay more than $3 billion to settle ASR cases. Following an initial settlement that included individuals who required revision surgery prior to August 31, 2013, the manufacturer also reportedly agreed to settle about 1,000 more cases that did not initially qualify. However, the agreement still leaves several thousand cases unresolved, mainly involving individuals who filed a lawsuit prior to experiencing problems that resulted in the need to remove or revise the faulty metal-on-metal implant.
Non-revised plaintiffs who elect to dismiss their cases will be allowed to refile in the future, as long as they bring the new complaint within one year after they undergo ASR revision surgery or within six months of being told that it is too risk for them to undergo revision surgery.
If non-revised plaintiffs elect not to dismiss their case at this time with tolling, Judge Katz indicates that discovery will move forward immediately, which may make the cases subject to motions to dismiss by DePuy over whether they have a viable case at this time, prior to experiencing problems that resulted in the need for additional surgery.
Hip Replacement Settlements
More than 12,000 DePuy ASR hip cases were filed prior to the original settlement, but it is estimated that 90,000 of the implants were sold world-wide before the design was recalled in August 2010.
A DePuy ASR recall was issued in August 2010, after the manufacturer acknowledged that a higher-than-expected number of the metal-on-metal hip implants were failing within a few years after surgery. While original estimates suggested that about one out of every 8 may fail within five years, subsequent data suggests that the DePuy ASR failure rate may be substantially higher.
The metal-on-metal design features a metal femoral head that rotates within a metal acetabular cup, resulting in the release of metallic debris as the parts rub against each other during normal daily activities. The lawsuits allege that this debris causes metal blood poisoning, known has hip metallosis, with can lead to the loosening and ultimate failure of the artificial hip.
Given the large number of implants still in place throughout the United States, it is expected that DePuy ASR hips will continue to fail over the coming years, which is likely to lead to new claims and future hip settlements being paid by the manufacturer.
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