DePuy ASR Hip Lawyers Negotiate Proper Preservation of Evidence

Lawyers representing both plaintiffs and defendants involved in DePuy ASR hip replacement lawsuits are working on an agreement regarding how the defective implants should be preserved and handled after they are removed. 

The negotiations are an important part of the DePuy hip litigation, because the removal and preservation of the hip implants will determine their ability to be used as evidence. The negotiations affect not only the implants, but the surrounding tissue in the recipient’s body as well.

The issue of determining how removed DePuy ASR hip replacements should be preserved came up at a hearing on Tuesday before U.S. District Judge David Katz, according to a report by Bloomberg News. Judge Katz is presiding over pretrial litigation in all federal lawsuits that have been filed over the recalled hip replacements.

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All of the lawsuits stem from a DePuy hip replacement recall announced in August 2010 for the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System. The metal-on-metal hip implants were linked to an unacceptably high rate of problems, often resulting in revision surgery to remove the DePuy ASR hip.

After the recall was first announced, DePuy attempted to get orthopedic surgeons and patients to return the removed hip implants and surrender their medical records to the company. DePuy ASR hip lawyers representing individuals who received one of the defective implants decried the move, pointing out that hip patients may be giving up important evidence, as there were no guarantees the devices would be properly preserved.

More than 90,000 DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Systems and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing Systems were sold before the hip replacements were recalled. The manufacturers have acknowledged that data so far has shown that about 12% to 13% of these hips will fail within five years. However, as individuals with one of the recalled hip replacements continue to be monitored by their doctors, it is expected that the rate of DePuy ASR hip replacement problems will ultimately be much higher.

In December, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated the DePuy hip recall lawsuits before Judge Katz, and ordered that all cases filed in any federal district court be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio for pretrial proceedings.

In the two months since the MDL was established, the number of DePuy hip recall lawsuits transferred to Judge Katz from federal district courts throughout the United States has quickly grew to about 200 cases. However, it is expected that thousands of cases will ultimately be involved in the litigation as lawyers continue to investigate and file new hip replacement lawsuits for individuals who received one of the defective DePuy ASR implants.

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