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DePuy ASR Hip Lawsuit Given Expedited Trial Date in California

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Although Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay more than $2.4 billion to settle DePuy ASR hip lawsuits brought throughout the country, a California court has granted a request for an expedited trial date in a case brought by a man suffering from a terminal form of cancer.

In November, a DePuy ASR settlement program was announced by the manufacturer of the controversial metal-on-metal hip replacement system, which may resolve about 8,000 cases for an average payment of about $250,000 per claim.

The offer to resolve cases only applies to claims brought by individuals who underwent hip revision surgery prior to August 31, 2013, due to problems with a DePuy ASR hip. Although plaintiffs are not obligated to accept in the settlement, the deal requires that at least 94% of eligible claimants agree to participate by April 1, 2014, or Johnson & Johnson and their DePuy Orthopaedics subsidiary may back out of the agreement.

According to a notice issued by the San Francisco Superior Court on January 10, a trial date will be set within the next 120 days for a lawsuit brought by Gary Darling, whose DePuy ASR hip failed just two years after being implanted. The case is being expedited because he suffers from terminal non-small cell lung cancer.

Darling had the DePuy implanted in October 2008 and began to feel pain in his left hip in the summer of 2010. In July 2011, Darling underwent revision surgery and suffers pain, discomfort and loss of normal range of motion in his left hip, according to a memorandum (PDF) filed on December 27 in support of the request for an expedited trial date in the case.

The brief states that Darling was diagnosed with stage III inoperable lung cancer on February 21, 2012. He is currently receiving hospice care.

While the hip replacement settlement is expected to resolve the majority of claims, it will not end the entire DePuy ASR litigation. Individuals who decline the offer and those who have not had to have their DePuy ASR hip replaced prior to August 2013 will still continue to litigate their claims. In addition, individuals who have their hips fail in the future will be able to seek compensation through new lawsuits.

Prior to the settlement agreement being reached, only two DePuy ASR cases made it to trial nationwide, with a California jury awarding $8.3 million in damages earlier this year and a second trial in Illinois state court resulting in a defense verdict weeks later.

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