DePuy Lawsuit Center

The ASR (Articular Surface Replacement) Hip Resurfacing System and ASR XL Acetabular System were voluntarily recalled by DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, in August of 2010. This action arose after verified research data revealed far more people than expected experienced debilitating pain and other adverse side effects directly attributed to the defective devices.

Thousands of patients required a second hip replacement surgery to correct issues linked to DePuy devices. Since 2010, thousands of lawsuits have also been filed against DePuy due to these painful, debilitating side effects.

Initially, Johnson & Johnson stated it would set aside approximately $3.5 billion to pay the abundance of the existing DePuy claims, but in November of 2013 the pharmaceutical giant agreed to earmark as much as $4 billion to compensate victims willing to agree to the terms of the settlement program. You will find the full text of the proposed settlement, which is referred to as MDL 2197, here.

Common DePuy Device Side Effects 

Several common side effects have been detected in a large number of patients who underwent surgical hip procedures involving DePuy devices. They include:

  • Pain
  • Dislocation
  • Hip ball and socket loosening
  • Osteolysis – a condition where insufficient new bone matter is generated to replace old bone and leads to bone death and loss 

Other Adverse Events Reported by DePuy Patients

The following problems have been commonly reported by many patients who underwent hip replacement with metal-on-metal hip and joint replacement devices. They include:

  • Metallosis – The collection of metal debris from the natural physical interaction between hip ball and socket;
  • Pseudo tumors – A soft tissue, tumor-like mass which occurs in the area of the implant due to a strong reaction to the hip replacement device; and
  • ALVAL (aseptic lymphocyte-dominated vasculitis-associated lesion) – This is another type of hypersensitive local tissue reaction to the presence of the implant.

Any of the above side effects may require blood testing and invasive, costly surgery to correct the damage. All of these things, and more, can form the basis of a DePuy hip implant lawsuit.

Mass Tort and MDLs in DePuy Lawsuits

It is quite likely that if you have a case against DePuy, it will be part of a mass tort claim. In order to explain this properly, we must take a small step backward.

tort is a civil wrong committed by one person or entity (such as a business or corporation) that results in the injury of another. If proven, the “party” (person or entity) that commits the tort is legally responsible (liable) for the harm suffered by the victim. The victim is the plaintiff, who sues the defendant (the party that harmed the plaintiff or victim).

The plaintiff typically files their claim to recover damages (monetary compensation) for the plaintiff’s injuries and other harms and losses suffered as a result of the injury.

mass tort is a single case that results in injury to many victims – numerous plaintiffs who sue one defendant, or several defendants, who acted negligently in the same way and are typically attributed to a single common product. The great majority of mass tort claims involve defective medical products and defective or dangerous drugs.

Mass tort plaintiffs join together to seek compensation for injuries or deaths that resulted from the manufacture and distribution of dangerous products. As outlined above, the DePuy mass torts are defective product cases and have been assigned to multidistrict litigation (MDL).

When a large group of plaintiffs want to sue a common defendant in a single lawsuit, the plaintiffs’ lawyer must ask the court for permission to file a mass tort action. The court will then consider the following questions, among others, when determining whether to give permission:

  • Is a large enough number of plaintiffs involved?
  • Where are the plaintiffs located relative to where the case is filed?
  • Are the injuries suffered by the various plaintiffs generally similar?
  • Are plaintiffs’ claims associated with a common cause, e.g. a single product?

If all four of the above elements are present, the court will likely rule that the proposed case is indeed a mass tort and will assign the matter to a judge, typically one who has experience with such cases. That judge then orders that notice of the lawsuit be made public so that any other potential victims can join the lawsuit should they chose to do so.

It’s important to note that a mass tort is different from a traditional class action. In a mass tort, each plaintiff has an individual claim and a separate trial. Conversely, in a class action, the large group of plaintiffs is considered collectively, not individually.

There is usually – though not always – one trial. Theoretically, one lawyer or law firm can represent an entire group of plaintiffs in a class action case.