Johnson & Johnson Settles First DePuy ASR Lawsuit

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Johnson & Johnson Settles First DePuy ASR LawsuitOverview: The first lawsuit alleging injuries from the DePuy ASR hip implant has been settled out of court. The metal-on-metal hip implant, which was recalled two years ago due to a high failure rate, is subject of growing litigation around the world with 8,000 cases in the U.S. alone. Reportedly, the artificial hips cause injuries by releasing tiny pieces of metal into the body.

  • J&J settled the first DePuy ASR lawsuit for $600,000 ($200,000 per case), according to Bloomberg; the suit was scheduled to go to trial in December
  • There are 8,000 cases alleging injuries from the Depuy ASR hip; 6,000 federal suits are consolidated into an MDL
  • J&J recalled 93,000 DePuy ASR hips worldwide due to a high rate of failure; 13 percent of patients had to undergo revision surgery within five years

Product: DePuy ASR Hip Implant

Manufacturer: DePuy Orthopaedics/ Johnson & Johnson

Side Effects & Complications

  • High failure rate
  • Necrosis (tissue death)
  • Increased levels of cobalt and chromium ions
  • Pain at the implant, sometimes spreading to the groin and back
  • Osteolysis (bone loss)
  • Fluid collections/solid masses around the hip joint

Hip Recipients Said to Receive $200,000 Each

Sources familiar with the litigation told Bloomberg Businessweek that Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $600,000 to settle three cases ($200,000 per Plaintiff) over the DePuy ASR hip implant. According to University of Michigan business professor Eric Gordon, this was “at the low end of what the company should have expected”, telling Bloomberg that “J&J should have expected to pay in the $200,000-to-$500,000 range per case”.

The recipients said to receive the settlement are Annelise Rundle, Martha Bender and Katherine Guy. All three of these women alleged pain and various side effects leading to revision surgery, where the implant was removed. Diagnostic tests suggested that Rundle’s health issues were linked to the release of metal particles while doctors found evidence of bone damage in Bender, Bloomberg reported. Attorneys representing Johnson & Johnson argued that the implants didn’t cause life-threatening complications. The lawsuit was set to go trial on December 3rd in Nevada’s 8th Judicial District Court.

Problems with the DePuy ASR Hip Implant

Johnson & Johnson issued a worldwide recall of the hip implants in August 2010. The recall included 93,000 hips around the world, with 37,000 in the United States. The main problem was that the hip replacements tended to fail in a significant portion of patients, about 13 percent (1 in every 8 patients) within five years. The alleged design flaw is attributed to the device’s metal-on-metal design, which can cause metal ions to be released by the implant into the body. Research has linked the DePuy ASR, as well as other metal-on-metal hip replacements, to pseudotumors, swelling, infection, bone loss, metallosis and soft tissue reaction.