The number of people filing a lawsuit over recalled DePuy ASR hip replacements has grown quickly in the weeks following a decision to consolidate the federal litigation.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation decided to consolidate the DePuy hip recall litigation on December 3rd, assigning all cases filed in courts throughout the United States to Judge David A. Katz in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
At the time the DePuy hip lawsuits were consolidated, there were seven cases transferred to Judge Katz. According to a Conditional Transfer Order filed December 15, in the two weeks since the MDL Panel issued their order, an additional 96 DePuy ASR lawsuits filed in 34 different federal district courts throughout the country were identified. Those cases are also being transferred to Judge Katz’s court for handling during pretrial litigation as part of the multidistrict litigation (MDL).
All of the complaints contain similar allegations that DePuy Orthopaedics Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, manufactured and sold defective metal-on-metal hip implants, and say that the company failed to warn doctors and patients of the higher-than-acceptable risk that the implants would fail. Many say that the company failed to immediately issue a recall after it became apparent that users were experiencing a higher-than-expected rate of DePuy ASR hip problems.
In August, a DePuy hip recall was issued for the ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System after the manufacturer acknowledged that the systems had 13% and 12% failure rates, respectively. However, some DePuy recall lawyers suggest the failure rate quoted by DePuy may be conservative, and many more people are likely to be affected by the defective hip replacements.
Consolidation of the DePuy hip litigation before one judge as part of an MDL is designed to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid contradictory rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the court, witnesses and parties. While the pretrial management of the cases in an MDL is often managed similar to how a class action for the DePuy hip recall would be handled, each claim will still remain an individual lawsuit.
If an agreement to settle the DePuy hip lawsuits is not reached following pretrial proceedings and any bellwether jury trials, each of the consolidated cases would be subject to remand back to the jurisdiction where they were originally filed for trial.
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.