California Bellwether Trial for DePuy ASR Hip Replacement Settled: Report

Johnson & Johnson has reportedly agreed to settle a DePuy ASR hip replacement lawsuit, avoiding trial in a case that was set to begin later this month in California state court.  

There are currently about 11,500 product liability lawsuits filed nationwide on behalf of individuals who experienced problems with DePuy ASR hips, which were removed from the market in August 2010 amid reports that a large number of patients were requiring revision surgery within a few years.

A complaint filed by Robert Eugene Ottman was scheduled for an early trial date in San Francisco Superior Court, involving allegations that one of the recalled DePuy ASR hip implants caused him to experience problems that resulted in the need for revision surgery.

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DePuy ASR Hip Lawsuits

Lawsuits are being reviewed for several different dangerous and defective hip replacement systems.

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The case is one of a number of trial dates set across the country, which are known as “bellwether” cases because they are help the parties gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that may be repeated throughout thousands of similar lawsuits pending nationwide.

According to a report by Harris Martin, the DePuy ASR lawsuit settled recently, and the Court has given the parties two months to file the necessary dismissal of the complaint. Details of the agreement have not been released.

DePuy ASR Settlement Negotiations and Early Trials

Recent reports have suggested that Johnson & Johnson was considering an offer of more than $3 billion to settle DePuy ASR lawsuits, which would average out to about $300,000 per case. According to a report by Bloomberg News in January 2013, plaintiffs previously rejected an offer that averaged about $200,000 per case because it did not provide sufficient compensation for injuries caused by the recalled hip implant.

A series of early trial dates have been set in state and federal courts throughout the country. Earlier this year, a California jury awarded $8.3 million in damages in one case. However, a second trial held in Illinois state court resulted in a defense verdict for the manufacturer.

In the federal court system, all DePuy ASR lawsuits are consolidated for pretrial proceedings before U.S. District Judge David A. Katz in the Northern District of Ohio, where a small number of cases ave been prepared for early trial dates to help facilitate agreements to settle DePuy ASR lawsuits.

The first federal DePuy ASR trial was scheduled to begin in September. However, the case was delayed at least two times last month and is now scheduled to start in January 2014. Although the court indicated that additional time was necessary to prepare the case for trial, some have speculated that continuing settlement negotiations may have been part of the reason for the delay/

Following the early bellwether trials in the federal Multidistrict Litigation (MDL), if Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics subsidiary does not reach agreements to settle a large number of cases, thousand of individual lawsuits could be remanded back to U.S. District Courts where they were originally filed for separate trial dates.

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