It was reported by Bloomberg on November 13, 2013 that Johnson & Johnson has reached a settlement in excess of $4 billion to resolve the more than 7,500 metal-on-metal hip implant lawsuits filed in both federal and state courts against Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. subsidiary.
The lawsuits alleged that the metal-on-metal hip implants that were first used in the United States in 2005 were marketed as having a useful life of 20 years but the implants experienced premature failures, with 37% of the implants failing after only 4.6 years.
DePuy’s ASR hip implants (the ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System) were alleged to shed metal debris that caused tissue death, to cause metal ions to enter the blood stream, and to cause some recipients of the metal-on-metal implants to suffer pain and dislocations, requiring surgical revisions. There were about 93,000 of the hip implants produced before they were recalled by the company in August 2010.
It is reported that the $4 billion settlement will provide approximately $300,000 to each patient who had hip revision surgery allegedly because their ASR hip implant was defective. The actual amount of the settlement payment made to patients will be determined by the extent of the injuries suffered, the number of revision surgeries the patient had, and the age of the patient. The proposed settlement reportedly does not cap the total amount of the settlement, allowing for claims by patients whose hip implants fail in the future.
It is reported that the proposed settlement will involve only hip implant claims in the United States (Johnson & Johnson is also defending defective hip implant cases in England, Ireland, and Australia) and that it will become effective only if 94% of the eligible claimants agree to the settlement. As part of the settlement, Johnson & Johnson has reportedly agreed to set aside additional hundreds of millions of dollars to reimburse Medicare and other insurers that paid for hip implants that are subject to the settlement.
The amount that Johnson & Johnson will pay in settlement of the ASR hip implant claims is in addition to the approximately $993 million that Johnson & Johnson has already incurred for medical expenses and for informing patients and surgeons regarding the ASR hip implant recall.
Johnson & Johnson has had mixed results in the ASR hip implant cases that have gone to trial — in California, a state court jury awarded $8.3 million to a retired Montana prison guard in March 2013, finding that the hip implant was defectively designed and that DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. had been negligent and had failed to properly warn of the risks (however, no punitive damages were awarded); in April 2013, an Illinois nurse lost her hip implant case against DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. because the jury rejected her claim that the implant had been defectively designed. Johnson & Johnson also settled a federal case in September 2013 and a California state case in October 2013, both for confidential amounts.
If you or a family member may have a defective hip implant claim against Johnson & Johnson, DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., or another company, you should promptly consult with a local medical malpractice attorney in your state who may advise you with regard to your defective hip implant claim.
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