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Depuy Pinnacle Hip Lawsuit News and Updates

The latest lawsuit and trial news for Depuy Pinnacle and ASR Hips in 2018.

DePuy Hip Lawsuit Update: Continuing To Add New Lawsuits, DePuy Pinnacle MDL Drops Below 10,000 Active Cases

December 8, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

Despite still adding new cases, multidistrict litigation (MDL) over Pinnacle hip implants made by Johnson & Johnson unit DePuy continues to wind down, with the total number of active cases dropping below 10,000 in the court’s most recent master case list, entered December 2.

The December 2 case list, reflecting the MDL’s status as of November 30, shows just over 9,900 cases in the MDL, which since 2011 has centralized federal DePuy Pinnacle products liability lawsuits in the Northern District of Texas. This represents a net decline of over 150 cases since the previous case list was entered November 4, despite three new cases being added to the MDL during that span.

The November 4 case list showed roughly 10,070 cases remaining.

In early 2019, the DePuy Pinnacle hip MDL was in the midst of its fifth bellwether trial when the trial was abruptly stayed and the jury dismissed amid reports of a settlement agreement. Later media reports indicated that the settlement could total as much as $1 billion.

Though the terms of the agreement have not been officially confirmed publicly, Johnson & Johnson has since confirmed the agreement’s existence.

“During the first quarter of 2019, DePuy established a United States settlement program to resolve these [DePuy Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System] cases,” J&J’s most recent financial disclosures state. “As part of the settlement program, adverse verdicts have been settled. The Company has established an accrual for product liability litigation associated with the PINNACLE Acetabular Cup System and the related settlement program.”

Even if the MDL were to continue to wind down at its current pace of roughly 150 cases per month, it still would take years for all remaining cases to be resolved. This would not be unusual given J&J’s and DePuy’s track record in similar cases.

According to the same financial disclosures, J&J reached in 2013 a settlement to resolve claims over DePuy’s XL Acetabular System and ASR Hip Resurfacing System. That settlement later was updated in 2015 and 2017 to include patients who had undergone revision surgery at a date later than that covered by the initial agreement, and the MDL remains active.

“The number of pending [DePuy XL Acetabular System and ASR Hip Resurfacing System] lawsuits is expected to fluctuate as certain lawsuits are settled or dismissed and additional lawsuits are filed,” J&J disclosed. Given the similarity in the parties and the claims involved, it is likely that the DePuy Pinnacle MDL will wind down in an analogous manner, taking years to resolve.

Sources:

United States District Court Northern District of Texas. (2 December 2019). Master Case List in MDL 2244 as of November 30, 2019. Case #: 3:11-md-02244-K. IN RE: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation

United States District Court Northern District of Texas. (4 November 2019). Master Case List in MDL 2244 as of October 31, 2019. Case #: 3:11-md-02244-K. IN RE: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation

Reuters. (5 February 2019). J&J and plaintiffs are ‘close’ to deal on Pinnacle hip implant lawsuit: Lawyer

Reuters. (7 May 2019). J&J agrees to pay about $1 billion to resolve hip implant lawsuits: Bloomberg

Johnson & Johnson. (Filed 28 October 2019). Form 10-Q for the 9 Months Ended Sep. 29, 2019. United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]. Legal Proceedings. Product Liability

DePuy Hip Lawsuit Update: More Than 10,000 Cases Remain In DePuy Pinnacle Hip MDL, New Cases Still Being Added

November 8, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

Long-running multidistrict litigation (MDL) over DePuy Pinnacle ASR hip implants still included more than 10,000 cases as of October 31, with new cases continuing to be added, according to a list of member cases filed November 4.

The list further indicates that, despite a settlement agreement having been reached nearly a year ago, new cases continue to be added, with six cases having joined the MDL in October alone and roughly 150 new cases being included to date in 2019.

Despite new cases still joining the MDL, the total number of active cases has declined slightly since the previous list was filed by the Northern District of Texas on October 2. This presumably is due to ongoing case resolutions under the settlement program. The exact number of cases as of October 31 was 10,070, while the total as of September 30 was 10,083.

The DePuy Pinnacle hip MDL was established in May 2011 by order of the US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) in order to centralize pretrial proceedings for products liability lawsuits filed against DePuy and its parent company Johnson & Johnson over the DePuy Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System.

In late January 2019, the MDL’s fifth bellwether trial was abruptly stayed and the jury dismissed amid reports, later confirmed, of a master settlement agreement.

“During the first quarter of 2019, DePuy established a United States settlement program to resolve these [DePuy Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System] cases,” Johnson & Johnson’s quarterly filing for Q3 2019 discloses. “As part of the settlement program, adverse verdicts have been settled. The Company has established an accrual for product liability litigation associated with the PINNACLE Acetabular Cup System and the related settlement program.”

While the terms of the settlement agreement have not been disclosed publicly, media reports based on insider accounts peg the total value of the financial payouts at up to $1 billion.

Sources:

United States District Court Northern District of Texas. (Filed 4 November 2019). Master Case List In MDL 2244 as of October 31, 2019. Case 3:11-md-02244-K. In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation

United States District Court Northern District of Texas. (Filed 2 October 2019). Master Case List In MDL 2244 as of October 31, 2019. Case 3:11-md-02244-K. In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation

United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). (24 May 2011). Transfer Order. MDL No. 2244. In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation

Johnson & Johnson. (Filed 28 October 2019). Form 10-Q for the 9 Months Ended Sep. 29, 2019. Commitments and Contingencies Disclosures [Abstract]. Legal Proceedings. Product Liability. United States Securities And Exchange Commission (SEC)

Feeley, J. (7 May 2019). Johnson & Johnson pays about $1 billion to resolve pinnacle-hip suits. Bloomberg

DePuy Hip Lawsuit Update: Despite Settlements, Thousands of DePuy Hip Implant Lawsuits Remain Active, J&J Filing Says

November 1, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

Despite reportedly having reached master settlement agreements to resolve litigation over allegedly defective hip implants made by its device-making unit Depuy Orthopaedics, mega-conglomerate Johnson & Johnson continues to face more than 10,000 active lawsuits over he devices, the company disclosed in its financial filings for the third quarter of 2019.

As of the close of Q3, J&J faced roughly 10,500 lawsuits over the Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System and 1,400 lawsuits involving the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System, the company disclosed.

In all, J&J says that as of September 29, 2019, the consumer-goods, pharmaceutical, and medical-device conglomerate was facing nearly 100,000 active product liability lawsuits on products ranging from the DePuy hip implants to Ethicon surgical mesh devices to Risperdal to Invokana to Johnson’s Baby Powder.

Since 2011, federal lawsuits over DePuy Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System have been centralized as multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Texas. In early 2019, the MDL’s fifth bellwether was abruptly stayed and the jury dismissed amid reports that a settlement had been reached. J&J confirms this account in its Form 10-Q, filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on October 28.

“During the first quarter of 2019, DePuy established a United States settlement program to resolve these cases,” J&J’s legal disclosures state. “As part of the settlement program, adverse verdicts have been settled. The Company has established an accrual for product liability litigation associated with the PINNACLE Acetabular Cup System and related settlement program.”

While the terms of the DePuy Pinnacle settlement have not been revealed publicly, media reports based on insider accounts suggest the total amount could reach up to $1 billion.

Meanwhile, a separate MDL over DePuy’s ASR hip implants has been taking place in the Northern District of Ohio since 2010.

According to J&J, "In August 2010, DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. (DePuy) announced a worldwide voluntary recall of its ASR XL Acetabular System and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System used in hip replacement surgery.”

J&J and DePuy reached a settlement with plaintiffs in the DePuy ASR MDL in 2013, with subsequent agreements covering plaintiffs who underwent revision surgery at dates later than those covered by preceding agreements.

“This settlement program has resolved more than 10,000 claims, therefore bringing to resolution significant ASR Hip litigation in the United States,” J&J disclosed.

However, J&J also faces DePuy ASR lawsuits outside the US, in countries such as Australia, where J&J says it has settled a class action, and Canada, where the company says it has settled two class actions, one brought in British Columbia and the other in Quebec.

Even with both DePuy hip MDLs nearing the end of their first decade in existence and with settlements having been reached, the fact that thousands of active lawsuits remain suggests that DePuy hip implant litigation will be with us for years to come.

Sources:

Johnson & Johnson. (Filed 28 October 2019). Form 10-Q for the 9 Months Ended September 29, 2019. United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Notes to Financial Statements. Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]. Legal Proceedings. Product Liability

Feeley, J. J&J Pays About $1 Billion to Resolve Pinnacle-Hip Suits. Bloomberg

DePuy Hip Lawsuit Update: After Settlement, DePuy Pinnacle MDL Continues To Add New Cases, Includes More Than 10,000

October 12, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

Despite a settlement having been reached over eight months ago, long-running multidistrict litigation (MDL) over allegedly defective Pinnacle hip implants made by Johnson & Johnson unit DePuy Orthopaedics continues to add new cases, with the MDL having long-since surpassed 10,000 cases and now nearing 10,100, according to a list of member cases filed by the court October 2.

Originally established in May 2011, the DePuy Pinnacle MDL centralized federal products liability lawsuits accusing J&J and DePuy of bringing a defective product to market, with plaintiffs having sustained serious, oftentimes lifelong and life-altering, injuries as a result.

The MDL, located in the Northern District of Texas, has included five bellwether trials, the most recent of which commenced in January 2019. However, that trial was abruptly stayed and the jury dismissed amid reports that a master settlement had been reached among the parties. Later reports indicated that the total value of the settlement would be in the neighborhood of $1 billion.

Now, the MDL’s docket indicates that the court and parties are in the process of implementing the massive settlement program. However, this has not stopped new cases from being added, with the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation having transferred three additional cases on October 8.

The MDL’s most recent bellwether trial featured the case of plaintiff Margaret Aoki, who, according to her complaint, in 2010 underwent surgery to have implanted a DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal (MoM) artificial hip device. However, in allegations representative of the thousands of others centralized in the MDL, Aoki claims she suffered serious side effects as result.

“Despite their marketing of the Pinnacle MoM Device as a safe and superior device, Defendants were at all times aware that Pinnacle MoM Devices may result in metallosis, biologic toxicity, and unreasonably high, early failure rates,” Aoki’s lawsuit alleges. “Moreover, the Pinnacle MoM Device may result in unsafe release of toxic metal wear debris and metal ions into hip implant recipients’ tissue and bloodstream.”

According to Aoki's complaint, approximately 150,000 DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal devices were sold, “each with the ‘Johnson & Johnson’ logo on the package.”

Johnson & Johnson and DePuy also face legal action over Pinnacle hip implants in other countries, including India.

Sources:

United States District Court Northern District of Texas. (2 October 2019). Cases Related to MDL 2244. Case 3:11-md-02244-K. MDL No. 2244. In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation

Feeley, J. And Korosec, T. (4 February 2019). J&J Agrees to Resolve Most Pinnacle Hip-Device Lawsuits. Bloomberg

Feeley, J. (7 May 2019). J&J Pays About $1 Billion to Resolve Pinnacle-Hip Suits. Bloomberg

United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). (8 October 2019). Conditional Transfer Order (CTO-34). MDL No. 2244. In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation

United States District Court Northern District of Texas Dallas Division. (21 August 2015). Amended Complaint And Jury Demand. Case No. 3-13-cv-1071. MDL 2244. In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation

DePuy Hip Lawsuit Update: DePuy Pinnacle MDL Judge Issues Orders Aimed At Winding Down Litigation

September 20, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

On September 11, the judge overseeing federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) over DePuy Pinnacle hip implants issued a pair of orders aimed at facilitating the winding-down of the long-running MDL, which has been ongoing since May 2011.

The September 11 orders, which address the allocation of common benefit fees among the plaintiffs lawyers and establish deadlines by which plaintiffs must provide certain medical information to the defendants, appear aimed at facilitating the implementation of a settlement agreement reportedly reached among the parties in late January, when the MDL’s fifth bellwether trial was abruptly stayed and the jury released mid-trial.

Though details of the settlement have not been released publicly, subsequent media reports based on “people with knowledge of the matter” pegged the total cost of the settlement at roughly $1 billion.

Bloomberg reported in May that the settlement covered “95 percent of the 6,000 cases in which surgeons extracted the Pinnacle implants because of the defects that left patients unable to walk and in pain, according to two people familiar with the settlement.”

However, that settlement reportedly did not cover approximately 4,500 lawsuits filed by plaintiffs who either did not receive the metal-on-metal variety of the implant or who did not undergo revision surgery to remove the DePuy Pinnacle device.

This would explain why much of the information that the MDL's Case Management Order No. 12 requires plaintiffs to hand over to defendants DePuy and its parent Johnson & Johnson involves plaintiffs' private health information, including “all medical records” dating back 5 years prior to the hip implant surgery, surgery reports, and, sadly, where applicable, “a copy of the death certificate, if one exists, and autopsy report.”

The order itself requires that defendants provide copies of the order to all new and existing plaintiffs in the MDL, who are then give 45 days in the case of new plaintiffs and 30 days for existing ones to provide appropriate notice to retain records to all medical professionals, healthcare organizations, and other people and/or entities in possession of the court-mandated records. Then, within 50 days and 35 days, attorneys for plaintiffs must provide to defendants a full list of all notice recipients along with their contact information.

The other order issued September 11 by United States District Judge Ed Kinkeade for the Northern District of Texas involved the allocation of common benefit fees among plaintiffs counsel. In multidistrict litigation, common benefit fees are awarded by the court to plaintiffs attorneys deemed to have performed work for the “common benefit” of all plaintiffs. This can include reimbursing attorneys and their firms for expenses incurred for the common benefit, as well.

With the court already have approved the total amount of fees and reimbursements, the September 11 order turned to the highly controversial yet all-important matter of allocating the funds. To this end, Judge Kinkeade appointed the court’s Special Master also to serve as master of the common benefit allocation process.

“In connection with the Common Benefit Allocation Process, the Court also hereby appoints James M. Stanton, in addition to his other Special Master responsibilities, to serve as the Common Benefit Allocation Master and refers him to the Fee Committee’s anticipated allocation recommendations,” the order states.

Despite a settlement having been reached and the MDL administratively working through the settlement process, as the case management order indicates, new plaintiffs continue to join the litigation.

Sources:

United States District Court Northern District of Texas Dallas Division. (11 September 2019). Case Management Order No. 12 (Administrative Order). MDL No. 2244. In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Product Liability Litigation

United States District Court Northern District of Texas Dallas Division. (11 September 2019). Common Benefit Fee and Expense Allocation Protocol Order. MDL No. 2244. In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Product Liability Litigation

Feeley, J. (7 May 2019). J&J Pays About $1 Billion to Resolve Pinnacle-Hip Suits. Bloomberg

DePuy Hip Lawsuit Update: Despite Receiving Payment, Indian Man Continues Fight For J&J, DePuy Hip Compensation

September 3, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

Dinesh Pillay, a 49-year-old resident of India, says he has been suffering pain as a result of a defective hip implant made by Johnson & Johnson unit DePuy for nearly a quarter of his life.

“I cannot sit still or stand for extended periods. This has affected my sleep. I am dependent on my wife for treatment and sustenance. I have also incurred financial losses as the faulty implant rendered me jobless,” Pillay told the Times of India for an article August 22.

Despite recently having received a payment of Rs25 lakh (about $35,000) from J&J as compensation for his suffering and disability, Pillay has vowed to keep fighting, seeking the Rs 1.2 crore (about $165,000) he says he is owed.

“I have developed 51% disability due to complications caused by the faulty implant,” Pillay said. “I want damages for my suffering.”

Pillay told Times of India that he continues to suffer pain and disability despite having undergone revision surgery.

“Even the revision procedure failed to help much,” he said. “I have been suffering severe pain in my thigh. The x-ray showed that the pain was due to the loosening of the stem and the fracture that was affected while removing the broken implant. Had the implant been of good quality, my operation would have been successful.”

For years, Johnson & Johnson and its medical-device-making unit DePuy have been embroiled in controversy with the Indian government and patients in the country over DePuy’s allegedly defective Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) device, which was pulled from markets worldwide in 2010. J&J and DePuy have vehemently opposed a compensation matrix developed by a committee of experts appointed by India’s health ministry, instead saying they would agree to make Rs 1.2 crore payments to patients who had undergone revision surgery.

This is the payment received by Dinesh Pillay, one he says is wholly inadequate to cover the damage caused to his life and body by the DePuy device.

The situation is representative of the legal fallout facing J&J and DePuy around the globe. In the United States alone, the companies have faced tens of thousands of lawsuits over allegedly defective hip implant devices made by DePuy. Federal lawsuits over the DePuy ASR implant have been centralized as multidistict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Ohio.

In May, it was widely reported that companies could pay up to $1 billion to settle roughly 6,000 lawsuits filed in the US by patients forced to undergo revision surgery after receiving DePuy Pinnacle hip implants .

Johnson & Johnson presently finds itself embroiled in tens of thousands of products liability lawsuits that could end up costing the consumer-goods, pharmaceutical, and medical-device conglomerate billions of dollars in damages, not to mention untold damage to the company’s reputation.

In addition to the highly-publicized August 26 ruling by an Oklahoma judge ordering J&J to pay $572 million over its role in the ongoing opioid epidemic , J&J also faces litigation involving surgical mesh implants sold by its subsidiary Ethicon, including a $700 million lawsuit filed by the California Attorney General alleging violations of the state’s anti-competition and false-advertising laws.

The company also faces thousands of claims that its talcum-powder products, including its flagship Johnson’s Baby Powder, cause ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. Though J&J adamantly denies such allegations, a growing number of juries have disagreed, including a St. Louis-based jury that in July 2018 ordered J&J and its talc supplier to pay $4.6 billion to 22 women and their families over talc-cancer claims.

Sources:

Isalkar, U. (22 August 2019). 12 years on, man fights for Rs 1.2 crore compensation for faulty hip implant. Times of India

Feeley, J. (7 May 2019). J&J Pays About $1 Billion to Resole Pinnacle-Hip Suits. Bloomberg

Feeley, J. and Riley Griffin. (26 August 2019). J&J Shares Rise as Oklahoma Opioid Award Less Than Expected. Bloomberg

Patrick, R. (13 July 2018). Talc cancer verdict of $4.6 billion from St. Louis jury sends ‘very powerful message’. St. Louis Post-Dispatch

DePuy Hip Lawsuit Update: Despite Settlements, 13,000 DePuy Hip Lawsuits Remain in US, J&J Filing Says

August 9, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

In its quarterly filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the second quarter of 2019, consumer-goods, pharmaceutical, and medical-device conglomerate Johnson & Johnson disclosed that, as of June 30, it continued to face roughly 13,000 active federal products liability lawsuits over artificial hip implants sold by its unit DePuy Orthopaedics. The lawsuits remain despite the companies’ reportedly having entered into settlement agreements to resolve the claims.

“As of June 30, 2019, in the United States there were approximately 1,500 plaintiffs with direct claims in pending lawsuits regarding injuries allegedly due to the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System; [and] 10,500 with respect to the PINNACLE Acetabular Cup System,” Johnson & Johnson form 10-Q for the second quarter of 2019 states.

Federal products liability lawsuits over DePuy ASR hip implant devices have been centralized as multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Ohio, whereas an MDL has been formed in the Northern District of Texas to deal with claims involving DePuy Pinnacle hip devices.

“Litigation [over DePuy ASR devices] has also been filed in countries outside the United States, primarily in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Germany and Italy,” J&J further disclosed, failing to mention other countries in which the companies face significant legal exposure over DePuy hip implants, such as India, with its population of over 1 billion, where J&J has appealed to the Delhi High Court a government order requiring the companies to compensate recipients of DePuy ASR hip implants.

According to its SEC filing, J&J entered into a master settlement agreement to resolve DePuy ASR claims in the United States in 2013. To date, that settlement program has resolved more than 10,000 lawsuits, the filing says. Similarly, J&J and DePuy reached a settlement with plaintiffs in the Pinnacle hip MDL earlier this year.

“During the first quarter of 2019, DePuy established a United States settlement program to resolve these [DePuy Pinnacle] cases,” J&J’s Form 10-Q states. “As part of the settlement program, adverse verdicts have been settled.”

J&J did not disclose the number of DePuy Pinnacle cases to have settled to date. Outside observers have estimated that the DePuy Pinnacle settlement could end up costing J&J as much as $1 billion.

With the DePuy ASR settlement program still ongoing nearly six years after an agreement was reached in November 2013, the DePuy Pinnacle MDL likely will take years to wind down.

Sources:

Johnson & Johnson. (Filed 29 July 2019). Form 10-Q for the 6 months ended June 30, 2019. Notes to Financial Statements. Commitments and Contingencies Disclosures. Legal Proceedings. Product Liability

Feeley, J. (7 May 2019). J&J Pays About $1 Billion to Resolve Pinnacle-Hip Suits. Bloomberg

Thacker, T. and Sharma, P. (2 May 2019). Delhi HC directs J&J to pay Rs25 lakh each to four hip implant recipients. LiveMint

DePuy Hip Lawsuit Update: J&J Still Faces 10,500 Active DePuy Pinnacle Hip Cases, Quarterly Filing Says

August 2, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

Despite reports of a settlement having been reached earlier this year, as of June 30, consumer-goods, pharmaceutical, and medical-device mega-conglomerate Johnson & Johnson still faced roughly 10,500 active lawsuits over Pinnacle hip implants sold by its unit DePuy Orthopaedics, according to J&J’s second quarter filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Aside from offering an update on the number of active lawsuits and confirming the settlement’s existence, Johnson & Johnson’s Form 10-Q for the second quarter of 2019 offers little by way of new detail on the DePuy Pinnacle settlement program.

“During the first quarter of 2019, DePuy established a United States settlement program to resolve these [DePuy Pinnacle] cases. As part of this settlement program, adverse verdicts have been settled,” J&J reports opaquely in its Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements without providing further information on the settlement's terms, except to disclose that J&J “has an established an accrual” to account for the costs of the DePuy Pinnacle litigation and settlement program.

It has been widely reported that the Depuy Pinnacle settlement is expected to cost J&J up to $1 billion.

Since 2011, federal products liability claims over the DePuy Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System in the United States have been centralized in multidistrict litigation (MDL) taking place in the Northern District of Texas.

“The actions share factual questions as to whether DePuy’s Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System, a device used in hip replacement surgery, was defectively designed and/or manufactured, and whether defendants failed to provide adequate warnings concerning the device,” the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) wrote in the Transfer Order establishing the MDL, dated May 24, 2011.

In early 2019, the DePuy Pinnacle MDL was in the midst of its fifth bellwether trial when the case was abruptly stayed and the jury dismissed. Media reports at the time said a settlement had been reached, which later was confirmed by the parties.

If J&J’s other products liability settlement programs are any indication, the DePuy Pinnacle settlement program likely will take years to resolve all of the more than 10,000 lawsuits.

For example, in its Form 10-Q for Q2 2019, filed July 29, J&J also discloses information about a settlement program involving the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System, both also used in hip-replacement surgery. Despite a recall of the devices having been issued in August 2010 and a settlement reached in November 2013, J&J reports that “[a]s of June 30, 2019, in the United States there were approximately 1,500 plaintiffs with direct claims in pending lawsuits regarding injuries allegedly due to the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System and DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System.”

Sources:

Johnson & Johnson. (Filed 29 July 2019). Form 10-Q for the quarterly period ended June 30, 2019. Notes to Financial Statements. Legal Proceedings. Product Liability

United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). (24 May 2011). Transfer Order. MDL No. 2244. In re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation

Feeley, J. and T. Korosec. (4 February 2019). J&J Agrees to Resolve Most Pinnacle Hip-Device Lawsuits. Bloomberg

DePuy Hip Lawsuit Settlement Update: Months After Reported Settlement, Plaintiffs’ Attorneys Call For Status Update in DePuy Pinnacle MDL

June 26, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

A law firm representing plaintiffs in multidistrict litigation (MDL) over DePuy Pinnacle hip implants has filed a motion requesting that the court hold a status conference to provide the parties with an update on their cases, including information on when litigation will recommence for plaintiffs who have not settled with DePuy and its parent company Johnson & Johnson, according to a June 24 statement posted to LegalExaminer.com by Maglio Christopher & Toale, P.A.

The motion comes months after Johnson & Johnson and DePuy reportedly reached a confidential settlement agreement to resolve the thousands of products liability claims centralized in the MDL, raising questions as to whether that settlement will hold.

“On behalf of our clients, Maglio Christopher & Toale, P.A. filed a ‘Motion and Incorporated Brief for Case Management Conference’ with the Court overseeing lawsuits involving Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Pinnacle metal on metal hip replacements,” reads the statement. “The motion requests that the judge overseeing the national litigation, Judge Ed Kinkeade, ‘schedule a case management conference to provide for an update on the status of the MDL and to accept questions and input from all parties.’”

Implying a lack of transparency in the process, the statement alleges that plaintiffs have been left in the dark about the status of their cases, including the terms of any potential settlement for which they may be eligible.

“The motion explains that such a case management conference would help ensure transparency,” the law firm statement continues. “It states that patients injured by Pinnacle metal on metal hip replacements are desperate for information about their cases. Desired information includes settlement prospects for these cases. Additionally, plaintiffs want to know when litigation will resume for cases where no settlement is reached.”

Maglio Christopher & Toale, P.A. says that it filed its motion June 14th. As of June 25th, the court website did not reflect any recent rulings or other formal response to the plaintiffs’ motion. The MDL is taking place in the Northern District of Texas.

Earlier this year, the MDL’s fifth bellwether trial was abruptly stayed and the jury disbanded amid reports that a tentative settlement agreement had been reached between plaintiffs and the defendant companies. Recent reports stated that the total monetary payout of the settlement, terms of which have not been disclosed publicly, was expected to near $1 billion.

However, according to the law firm’s statement, many plaintiffs remain as clueless about the settlement terms as the general public, and those plaintiffs who have received a clear offer have expressed displeasure with the terms. Meanwhile, the attorneys allege, patients continue to suffer serious health issues as J&J drags its feet on providing just compensation.

“[P]atients [are] faced with suffering tissue death and bone loss from the Pinnacle metal on metal hip replacement, [and] rather than providing compensation, Johnson & Johnson instead conducted scorched earth litigation,” the statement concludes. “Additionally, injured patients are expressing severe discontent with the proposed settlement terms from Johnson & Johnson. Finally, patients question how they can intelligently make a decision to settle or not settle without more information.”

Sources:

Maglio Christopher & Toale, P.A. (24 June 2019). Patients Motion for Pinnacle Hip Court to Schedule Status Conference. LegalExaminer.com

United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. (Accessed 25 June 2019). MDL 2244 In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation

DePuy Hip Lawsuit Settlement Update: DePuy Pinnacle Hip Plaintiff Says Group Settlement Proposal Offers Claimants Between $100K and $250K

June 10, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

Plaintiffs suing Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. over allegedly defective Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implants as part of multidistrict litigation (MDL) in U.S. federal court have been offered between $100,000 and $250,000 to settle their claims, depending on the severity of their injuries, according to a June 10 report from ABC Affiliate WTVD-TV in Raleigh-Durham.

While it was widely reported in February that J&J had reached a confidential settlement agreement aimed at resolving the more than 10,000 lawsuits centralized in the MDL, and while it was further reported in May that the total amount of the settlement would reach approximately $1 billion, the exact terms of the settlement, including the amount offered to individual claimants, have remained undisclosed publicly.

Concealed deep in its tragic report about a Durham resident who suffered lifelong injury from her DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant, WTVD-TV disclosed that the woman, Juliana LaDue, had given the news outlet with a copy of the highly-sought-after settlement agreement.

“Juliana provided to us what her attorney is calling a ‘group settlement,’” the WTVD report states. “As part of the proposal Juliana provided to us, claimants could get $100,000 all the way up to $250,000 depending on what metal implant they had and how many of the metal parts they had to have removed.”

LaDue told WTVD that, whatever amount she ends up receiving, she ultimately is unlikely to see much, if any, of that money.

“My medical bills have been in the millions,” she said, adding that her creditors would have first dibs on any amount she were to receive from the defendant companies.

Although under the proposed agreement, J&J and DePuy have offered to ensure that, in any event, no claimant would receive less than $20,000, LaDue scoffed at that sum.

“A billion dollar case puts $20,000 in my pocket,” she said. “How can they get away with this?”

LaDue underwent hip surgery in 2003 at the age of only 36 years old. Despite the assurances of her doctors, the DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant caused serious complications, including metal poisoning.

“My hair had been falling out; my nails had been tearing,” she told WTVD, describing the symptoms of the metal poisoning caused by the DePuy hip.

At first, LaDue said doctors thought she was suffering from pneumonia. Then they discovered that levels of chromium and cobalt in her blood had reached nearly one hundred times the normal amount.

Even now that LaDue has had the DePuy Pinnacle hip implant surgically removed, she still will live with the serious side effects, including damage to her heart, for the rest of her life.

“Cardiomyopathy due to metal poisoning,” she told WTVD. “My heart is permanently damaged.”

LaDue said she does not intend to accept the settlement offer.

Sources:

Wilson, D. (10 June 2019). ‘Two little parts destroyed my life’: Durham woman says metal hip implant cause lifelong health problems. ABC 11 WTVD-TV Raleigh Durham

Feeley, J. and Korosec, T. (4 February 2019). J&J Agrees to Resolve Most Pinnacle Hip-Device Lawsuits. Bloomberg

Feeley, J. (7 May 2019). Johnson & Johnson to settle metal-hip lawsuits for about $1 billion, sources say. Bloomberg

DePuy Hip Lawsuit News Update: HBO’s John Oliver Takes On DePuy Hip Implants, Surgical Mesh In June 2 Segment

June 4, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

John Oliver, host of HBO’s weekly comedy-news show Last Week Tonight, devoted the main segment of his June 2 broadcast to a topic of great familiarity to readers of TheLawFirm.com: defective medical devices and the deeply flawed FDA approval process that allows many of them to reach patients without ever having undergone proper clinical trials.

Citing various media reports, Oliver describes in the segment how medical devices such as DePuy metal-on-metal hip implants have made it through a sort of regulatory side door through which they can be “FDA-cleared” rather than “FDA-approved.” Known as the 501(k) pathway, the loophole allows medical devices considered to be substantially similar to existing devices to be released on the US market without going through medical trials on humans.

“You might assume that [on the basis of a 1970s law giving the FDA authority to regulate medical devices] every single device you see is FDA-approved,” Oliver said. “But, in fact, far more of them are something called ‘FDA-cleared.’ And that is a distinction with a big difference because ‘FDA-cleared’ is a much lower bar to clear.”

The result, according to Oliver, is that by 2017, more than 80% of medical devices on the US market, or about 400 medical devices per year, clear the FDA through the 501(k) pathway.

As an example of how this situation can become convoluted and can be exploited by medical-device manufacturers, Oliver points to metal-on-metal hip implants made by Johnson & Johnson unit DePuy. Using the “substantial equivalence” provisions under the 501(k) pathway, DePuy received clearances for six subsequent devices going all the way back to 1975.

Meanwhile, as readers of TheLawFirm.com are well aware, DePuy and J&J have faced tens of thousands of lawsuits around the globe over their metal-on-metal hip implants, having spent over $3 billion to resolve claims that the devices were defectively designed and can cause serious harm in patients.

As another example, Oliver points to surgical mesh implants, which were recently banned by the FDA after having been allowed on the market for years despite concerns over their safety and efficacy.

“The good news is that the FDA recently ordered vaginal mesh manufacturers to stop selling their product,” Oliver said during the segment.

However, the host acknowledged that broader concerns over the FDA’s approval process for medical devices remain and that the consequences of inaction are dire, citing a November 2018 report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that found “more than 80,000 deaths and 1.7 million injuries possibly linked to medical devices in the past decade.”

Although Oliver is known for his in-depth segments on often overlooked or underexamined current events topics, the fact that the HBO host chose to dedicate the episode’s main segment entirely to the FDA’s oversight—or lack thereof—of the medical device industry shows how the issue has grown in the public consciousness, with more and more people becoming aware of the potential dangers posed by defectively designed medical devices.

“The big question is, ‘How can you known if a device is potentially harmful?’” Oliver posed to his audience. “And unfortunately, good information is actually very difficult to find.”

Source:

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. (Original Air Date: 2 June 2019). Home Box Office (HBO)

DePuy Hip Lawsuit News Update: Indian Court Instructs J&J To Pay 67 Recipients Of Defective DePuy Hip Implants

May 31, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

On Thursday, May 30, the Delhi High Court in India instructed consumer-goods, pharmaceutical, and medical-device conglomerate Johnson & Johnson to pay out damages to 67 recipients of hip implants made by J&J subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. who later were forced to undergo revision surgery to have the implants removed, Indian news outlet NDTV reported.

The court mandated that each of the 67 patients receive 2.5 million Indian rupees, or about US$36,000, with the court requesting that the checks be distributed within two weeks of the ruling. Through an attorney, J&J emphasized that the payments, which technically are being made voluntarily, do not amount to an admission of guilt or liability on the part of the company. 

Per the Delhi High Court, the payments will not preclude patients from filing their own lawsuits or seeking other recourse. Should the patients obtain additional monetary compensation, the 2.5-million-rupee voluntary payment simply would be deducted from that amount. Representatives for J&J reported to the court that it had confirmed each of the 67 patients set to receive payment had indeed undergone revision surgery following implantation of a DePuy ASR hip implant. The scope of patients to receive compensation has been a point of contention between the Indian government and J&J, with the government demanding that all recipients of DePuy ASR hip implants receive some form of compensation, while the company insists it will pay only those recipients who were forced to undergo revision surgery in order to have a defective implant replaced.

Among the patients to receive the 2.5-million-rupee payment are four patients to whom India’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) previously had ordered J&J to pay 6.5 million rupees (US$93,000), 7.4 million rupees (US$106,000), 10 million rupees (US$143,000), and 9 million rupees (US$129,000). The court has asked that these four patients receive the 2.5-million-rupee payment while the issue of greater compensation amounts is sorted out.  

Johnson & Johnson has challenged to the Delhi High Court the CDSCO’s authority to demand such payments, the amounts of which were calculated based on a formula derived by a panel of experts appointed by the organization in a process which the company has argued has no basis under India’s Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

J&J also has gone to court trying to prevent the Indian government from releasing information to the general population. This has included efforts to suppress a press release meant to inform the public about the compensation formula for DePuy hip implant recipients and to conceal a report issued by an expert committee appointed by the Health Ministry to investigate claims that DePuy hip implants contained significant defects that posed serious safety risks for patients.

The DePuy Acetabular Surface Replacement (ASR) hip implant in question was implanted into 4,525 patients in India alone before being recalled from global markets in 2010 over concerns that the DePuy ASR hip design was defective.

In the aftermath, Johnson & Johnson and DePuy have faced legal headaches around the globe. For example, in January 2019, the companies reportedly agreed to pay $120 million as part of a settlement reached with the attorneys general of 46 U.S. states over claims that the companies had engaged in deceptive marketing related to the ASR XL and Pinnacle Ultamet hip implants. Federal products liability claims over DePuy ASR hip implants in the United States have been centralized as multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Ohio.

Sources:

Banerjee, N. (30 May 2019). J&J Directed To Pay 25 Lakh To Patients For Alleged Faulty Hip Implant. NDTV

Bellon, T. (22 January 2019). J&J, U.S. states settle hip implant claims for $120 million. Reuters.

DePuy Hip Lawsuit News Update: Former TV News Anchor Becomes Says DePuy Hip Implants Ended Her Career

May 27, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

After she says her dream career was derailed by faulty hip implants sold by Johnson & Johnson unit DePuy Orthopaedics, former local TV news anchor Frances Scott is applying her communication skills toward a new endeavor: spreading the word about the dangers of hip implant devices made by Depuy.

“I can’t get my career back, my life savings, or my house, but I’m interested now in preventing this from happening to anyone else,” Scott told WDBJ Roanoke in a piece published May 22.

Over a local TV news career spanning nearly two decades, Scott worked in a variety of roles at a number of different stations, ultimately landing her dream job at WTVD in the Raleigh/Durham market.

“I was our main anchor,” Scott reflected, per WDBJ. “I was very happy.”

After her active lifestyle resulted in an increasing amount of hip pain, Scott ultimately relented to her doctors’ recommendation that she undergo double hip replacement surgery in 2011 at the age of just 39.

“I wanted my life back and most of the surgeons said you will get your life back,” said Scott.

The devices Scott had surgically implanted in place of her natural hips—both DePuy Pinnacle hip implants with ULTAMET liners—ended up causing her “severe pain and discomfort,” according to a federal lawsuit Scott filed against Johnson & Johnson and DePuy in 2014, one year after the companies withdrew the devices from the US market in 2013. Scott further alleges in her lawsuit that she has suffered from loss of mobility, physical pain, and mental anguish.

Beyond the physical pain, Scott also has opened up about the emotional challenges facing those dealing with the side effects of DePuy hip implants.

“I started not wanting to leave the house and I had a lot of shame about why I wasn’t doing well,” Scott told WDBJ, reflecting on how she at first had tried to outwork the problem through physical therapy while masking the pain with medication.

“My first inclination that anything was wrong was when I went back to physical therapy. My physical therapist asked if anything was wrong and I said, ‘Well, it was pretty bad. I actually had to take the stronger pain killers. She stopped and said, ‘Oh, you should need those at this point.’”

With the opioid epidemic continuing to rage across the country, one might wonder how many preventable addictions were created when patients went to doctors seeking relief from the pain caused by allegedly defective medical devices such as the DePuy hip implants Ms. Scott had surgically implanted, before having them surgically removed just five years later.

“This will hurt people for generations if we don’t get this fixed,” Scott said.

Source:

Saunders, T. (23 May 2019). Former Roanoke news anchor fights to change laws following tough medical journey. WDBJ7.com

DePuy Hip Lawsuit News Update: J&J Quarterly Filing Confirms DePuy Pinnacle Hip Settlement, Silent on Terms

May 2, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

J&J Quarterly Filing Confirms DePuy Pinnacle Hip Settlement, Silent on Terms “During the first quarter of 2019, Depuy [sic] established a United States settlement to resolve these cases. As part of the settlement program, adverse verdicts have been settled. See full story.

DePuy Hip Lawsuit News Update: Indian Government Orders J&J To Pay Two More DePuy Hip Patients

May 1, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

Even as consumer-goods conglomerate Johnson & Johnson already has contested two previous orders directing the company to pay compensation to recipients of defective DePuy hip implant devices, the Indian government’s top pharmaceutical regulator has issued new demands telling the company it must pay two additional patients.

India’s The Economic Times reported the news April 30, citing a senior health ministry official.

According to the report, both patients involved in the new order are residents of Uttar Pradesh. Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay one patient approximately 90 million Indian rupees, or about US$130,000, and the other 100 million rupees, or a little over US$140,000.

The two patients to whom Johnson & Johnson previously had been ordered to pay compensation hailed from Mumbai and Delhi. J&J has challenged those orders to the Delhi high court. History suggests the company is likely to do the same with the two new orders, as well.

The compensation orders were issued by India’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), which based the compensation terms on a formula derived by a panel of experts and later approved by the Union Health Ministry. The formula was intended to cover all patients who received DePuy ASR hip implants prior to August 2010, at which time the devices were recalled from global market due to safety concerns.

The worldwide recalls resulted from DePuy Acetabular Surface Replacement (ASR) metal-on-metal hip implants being found to leach metal into patients’ blood streams and surrounding tissue, resulting in metal poisoning and other serious health effects.

In India, the expert panel that was convened to look into the issue found that Johnson & Johnson had concealed information about the health risks associated with the devices, giving grounds for the government to demand compensation for patients.

However, media reports suggest that Johnson & Johnson and the Indian government remain far apart on compensation terms. While the Indian government has insisted that every patient who received a DePuy ASR hip implant should be given some form of compensation, to this point, J&J has been willing to pay only patients who underwent revision surgery to replace a defective device.

With the two sides apparently digging in on their positions and with nearly 5,000 Indians having received DePuy ASR hip implants, the issue is unlikely to be resolved any time soon.

Source:

The Economic Times. (30 April 2019). Johnson & Johnson hip implants: Drug regulator orders compensation for 2 more patients

DePuy Hip Lawsuit News Update: J&J, DePuy Being Investigated Under Criminal Anti-Poisoning Law In India

April 30, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

A recently reopened criminal investigation looking into multinational conglomerate Johnson & Johnson and its medical-device-making subsidiary DePuy centers around potential violations of an Indian anti-poisoning law, according to the publication The Hindu, which also reported that local police have obtained a list containing the names of over 1,000 patients who have received allegedly defective hip implant devices made by DePuy.

“We have received data of 1,000 patients from Puri Crawford, the company hired by J&J to coordinate with the patients,” said Ajinath Satpute, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mahim division, according to The Hindu. “We have started reaching out to patients who are in Mumbai as well as other parts of the country. In some cases, we have written them.”

Despite being subject to worldwide recalls in 2010, DePuy’s metal-on-metal Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) hip implants continue to cause serious problems for patients around the globe. Among other issues, the metal-on-metal surface of the DePuy ASR implants have been found to leach metal into the patient’s blood stream and surrounding tissue.

This metal poisoning likely was the impetus for the Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s filing a first information report (FIR) on November 11, 2011, citing among other provisions Section 328 of the Indian Penal Code, which covers causing injury in another by means of poisoning.

DePuy ASR hip implants have been the subject of litigation around the world, including the United States, where federal products liability claims over the DePuy ASR have been centralized in the Northern District of Ohio since 2010. In 2013, a multibillion settlement was announced that covered patients in the United States who had received a DePuy ASR hip implant prior to August 31, 2013.

In India, authorities recently ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay compensation to two patients who had received DePuy ASR hip implants, but J&J has objected to the terms, appealing to the Delhi high court.

It is estimated that nearly 5,000 Indians received the faulty DePuy ASR hip implant device. While the government has called for all Indians who received the implants to receive some amount of compensation, Johnson & Johnson has said it will pay only those patients who have undergone revision surgery to replace a defective implant.

Source:

Shelar, Jyoti. (27 April 2019). J&J faulty implant: cops get data on 1,000 patients. The Hindu

DePuy Hip Lawsuit News Update: DePuy, J&J Troubles In India Deepen As Criminal Probe Reopens

April 27, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

In Mumbai, India, an eight-year-old criminal investigation involving allegedly faulty hip implants sold by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy has been reopened amid widespread government and media scrutiny of the companies’ actions in the country, LiveMint.com reported April 26 .

Originally opened nearly a decade ago based on reports from a whistleblower inside India’s Food and Drug Administration, the criminal investigation appears originally to have gained little traction. However, with the allegedly defective DePuy hip implants having become a matter of national concern in recent months, the Mumbai police said Thursday, April 25, that the case had been reopened.

Even before the reopening of the criminal investigation, J&J and DePuy had been battling Indian authorities over the terms and scope of a settlement agreement that would compensate patients who received the hip implant devices. With J&J having contested the government’s compensation plan to the Delhi high court, the two sides appear to remain far apart not only on the amount of compensation to be paid but also to whom it would be paid.

While J&J has proposed compensating only those patients who were forced to undergo revision surgery to replace a DePuy hip implant, the government has called for J&J to compensate all patients who received an implant, regardless of whether they underwent revision surgery.

Tensions between J&J, DePuy, and Indian authorities intensified last August, when the government began to investigate DePuy’s allegedly faulty ASR hip implants. A month later, the government established an expert panel to determine compensation terms, with the Indian health ministry later affirming the panel’s decision. However, in December, J&J challenged this plan in the Delhi high court, saying it would only compensate patients who had undergone revision surgeries.

Now, Mumbai Police say they are interviewing patients and doctors about the matter.

“We have been contacting patients and the doctors to record their statements,” said Ajinath Satpute, assistant commissioner of police, Mahim division, Mumbai, who is the investigating officer in the case, according to LiveMint.com. “We are also looking into the medical records of the patients and their present status with regard to presence of chromium and cobalt levels in their body for the purposes of evidence.”

It is estimated that nearly 5,000 patients in India received DePuy ASR hip implants between 2004 and 2010. The same devices also have been the subject of litigation elsewhere in the world, including the United States, where thousands of cases have been centralized as multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Ohio.

Source:

Thacker, T. (26 April 2019). J&J faces more pain as Mumbai cops reopen implants case. LiveMint.com

DePuy Hip Lawsuit News Update: J&J, Indian Government At Odds Over DePuy Hip Compensation, Eligibility Ahead of Meeting

April 21, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

With a meeting of the presiding regulatory body scheduled to take place on April 24, multinational conglomerate Johnson & Johnson and the government of India remain far apart on key terms of a plan to compensate victims that received defective hip implants manufactured by J&J subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics, government sources told The Times of India.

Among the issues still being contested are which patients would qualify to receive compensation and what the amount of that compensation would be, including whether it would consist of a flat amount given to all eligible patients or whether the amount would vary based on the severity of the injuries suffered, the Times of India reported.

While Johnson & Johnson has proposed fixed compensation with relatively modest payouts, the plan unveiled by the government of India in November 2018 featured wide-ranging compensation that would result in much higher total payouts to victims, some of whom have suffered permanent disability as a result of the defective DePuy ASR hip implants.

According to “top official sources” who reportedly spoke to the Times of India, the chances are slim that the regulatory expert committee scheduled to meet April 24 would accept such a proposal, though they did suggest that the panel may be willing to restrict the patients qualifying for compensation.

“Every patient implanted with the [DePuy] ASR [hip implant] device may not be an ideal case for compensation,” an anonymous official told the Times of India. “Moreover, in some cases, it is difficult to ascertain the cause of disability. So, we will discuss this in the meeting and some changes may be considered in the eligibility criteria.”

Under the proposal put forth by Johnson & Johnson, the company would pay a flat amount of 2.5 million Indian rupees, or about US$36,000, to each qualifying patient, which would not include every patient to have received a DePuy ASR hip implant. This lies in sharp contrast to the plan released by the government last November, which called for every patient implanted with a defective DePuy ASR hip to receive a payment of between 3 million and 12 million Indian rupees (roughly US$43,000 to US$175,000).

Johnson & Johnson has contested the government’s terms to the New Delhi High Court, arguing that there is no basis in law to support the government’s demands.

DePuy hip implants also have been the subject of thousands of lawsuits in the United States, with cases involving DePuy ASR hip implants like the ones at issue in India having been consolidated as multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Ohio.

Source:

The Times of India

DePuy Hip Lawsuit News Update: In Aftermath Of DePuy Hip Fiasco, India Tightens Medical Device Oversight

April 19, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

A regulatory body responsible for overseeing pharmaceuticals and medical devices in India will be changing the rules governing the regulation of medical devices in the country following the fiasco created by defective hip implants imported by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics, the Indian publication The Hindu reported April 19. The same body also has recommended changes related to the importation of pharmaceuticals into India.

Among the changes agreed to by the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) is an amendment to the Medical Devices Rules, 2017, that would require the tracking of the “names, qualifications and experiences of competent technical staff responsible for the manufacture and testing of medical devices,” according to The Hindu.

Another proposal would expand by more than 700 the staff responsible for monitoring the sale and use of medical devices in India. According to local observers, the timing is no coincidence.

“The move, which offers much needed protection to patients, and teeth to regulatory authorities in India, comes months after the Union Health Ministry found Johnson & Johnson Private Limited guilty of supplying faulty hip implants in India, and ordered the company to pay over Rs. 74 lakh [just over US$100,000] to a Mumbai-based patient as compensation,” The Hindu said.

India’s DTAB also has recommended changes that would amend Rule 26 of the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, 1945, altering the requirements pertaining to the licenses needed to import pharmaceuticals into India. Some of the changes would be aimed at imposing the same requirements on imported drugs that already have applied to pharmaceuticals manufactured domestically.

Johnson & Johnson and Depuy faces tens of thousands of lawsuits around the world filed by patients alleging they have suffered injuries as a result of the companies’ defective hip implant devices, including thousands of cases in the United States alone.

Source:

Perappadan, B.S. (19 April 2019). After J&J case, govt. treads carefully. The Hindu

DePuy Hip Lawsuit News Update: J&J, DePuy Fight India’s Central Government Over Hip Implant Compensation

April 13, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

Even as a settlement has reportedly been reached in the United States that would resolve thousands of cases involving Pinnacle hip implants, Johnson & Johnson and its medical-device-maker subsidiary DePuy continue to face legal exposure around the globe over alleged defects to the companies’ hip-implant devices.

In the latest sign that their hip-implant woes remain far from over, the companies on April 8 formally contested to the Delhi High Court an order by the central government of India requiring that they pay a total of approximately 13 million Indian rupees (about US$190,000) to two plaintiffs who claim they were harmed by the defective DePuy ASR hip implants.

Instead of the amount sought by the government, Johnson & Johnson has said it will agree to pay to each claimant only 2.5 million Indian rupees, or approximately US$36,000, according to Livemint.com.

In its fling with the Delhi High Court, Johnson & Johnson challenged the legality of the central government’s payout demand, saying there was no basis in law for the sum arrived at.

As Johnson & Johnson and DePuy question the legality of the process, even the payout demanded by the central government has been met with criticism by some observers for what they perceive as its paltriness, particularly when compared to the hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars plaintiffs in the United States and elsewhere have received over similar claims.

The DePuy ASR hip implants at issue in the dispute in India also have been the subject of multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the United States, with federal cases having been centralized in the Northern District of Ohio.

Sources:

Sharma, P. and Thacker, T. (9 April 2019). J&J says will pay only 25 lakh to each hip implant patient. Livemint.com

DePuy Hip Lawsuit News Update: After Reported Settlement, New Cases Continue To Be Transferred To DePuy Hip MDL

April 4, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

Nearly two months after widespread media reports circulated in early February about a massive settlement agreement that would resolve roughly 10,000 claims over hip implants sold by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., new cases continue to be filed with the Northern District of Texas, where federal claims over the DePuy Pinnacle hip implant have been centralized since 2011, according to Court Records.

On April 2 alone, three new cases naming DePuy and Johnson & Johnson among the defendants were filed with the Northern District of Texas, with dozens of new cases having been filed in recent weeks. During that time span, lawsuits against DePuy and J&J also have been filed in the Northern District of Ohio, the Eastern District of Texas, and the District of New Jersey. All of the cases are classified as involving products liability claims.

In addition to the multidistrict litigation (MDL) taking place in the Northern District of Texas over DePuy’s Pinnacle hip implants, DePuy and J&J also face an MDL involving the companies’ ASR hip implants, located in the Northern District of Ohio.

While the terms of the reported DePuy Pinnacle hip implant settlement have not been revealed publicly, observers estimate that the defendants’ total liability could run over $1 billion. With each new valid claim that joins the MDL potentially becoming a party to the settlement agreement, the companies’ financial exposure continues to grow with each new filing.

Source:

See e.g. Shatz v. DePuy Orthopaedics Inc et al, filed April 2, 2019; Bogutzki v. DePuy Orthopaedics et al, filed April 2, 2019; and McGurk v. DePuy Orthopaedics Inc et al. Justia.com

DePuy Hip Lawsuit News Update: DePuy Sues Competitor As It Remains Silent On Terms Of Pinnacle Hip Settlement

April 2, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

As the public awaits word on the details of a reported settlement that would resolve long-running products liability litigation over Pinnacle hip implants made by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics, DePuy itself has decided to go on the offensive, filing a lawsuit of its own against competitor Orthofix Medical Inc. alleging “unlawful competitive activities,” according to Law360.

On Friday, March 22, DePuy filed a complaint in Texas federal court accusing Orthofix and a pair of former DePuy sales representatives of scheming to improperly coax DePuy customers over to Orthofix, allegedly by enticing DePuy sales personnel to betray their employer.

“This case arises out of Orthofix’s efforts to gain an unfair competitive advantage by inducing two sets of DePuy Synthes’ employees to breach their fiduciary duties and contractual obligations to DePuy Synthes,” the complaint read, per Law360.

Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson and DePuy could potentially be on the hook for over $1 billion in liabilities related to products liability litigation involving Depuy's Pinnacle hip implants.

After a bellwether trial ended abruptly in late January 2019, numerous news outlets reported that a deal had been struck between plaintiffs and Johnson & Johnson that would end the multidistrict litigation (MDL), which has been ongoing in the Northern District of Texas since 2011. Since that time, however, information about the agreement has been kept under tight wraps. Observers anticipate that Johnson & Johnson might reveal some terms about the agreement in its SEC disclosures for the first quarter of 2019, which ended March 31.

Although details of the settlement, including its financial terms, have not been revealed publicly, Bloomberg reported in December 2018 that about one-third of the 10,000 Pinnacle MDL cases had settled for an average of $125,000 per plaintiff, or a total of over $400 million, based on five sources with knowledge of the agreement. Based on these figures, a settlement resolving all, or nearly all, claims could easily top $1 billion.

Sources:

Hutchinson, T. (25 March 2019). DePuy Alleges Rival Induced Workers To Break Contracts. Law360

Bellon, T. (4 February 2019). J&J, plaintiffs ‘close’ to deal on Pinnacle hip implant lawsuits: lawyer. Reuters

Feeley, J. (12 December 2018). J&J Is Willing to Pay $400 Million-Plus in Hip-Device Cases. Bloomberg

DePuy Hip Lawsuit News Update: retrial begins for texas plantiffs in depuy hip mdl

February 4, 2019
Author: Daniel Gala

On Friday, January 25, 2019, lawyers delivered opening statements in the re-trial of an earlier case between five Texas plaintiffs and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) over allegedly defective metal-on-metal hip implants made by a unit of the company. Like the original trial, which initially resulted in a jury awarding the plaintiffs $502 million before being vacated by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the re-trial is expected to last more than a month.

The case is part of enormous multidistrict litigation (MDL) over the alleged defects of the Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant, which is designed and manufactured by J&J subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. According to Law360, in his opening remarks, Mark Lanier, an attorney for the plaintiffs, claimed that his clients have suffered a range of debilitating injuries as a result of their receiving DePuy hip implants, including tissue damage, loss of muscle, and chronic pain.

Lanier further accused DePuy of incentivizing surgeons by paying royalties based on the number of DePuy hip implants sold, allowing some doctors to earn tens of millions of dollars in the process.

Meanwhile, attorneys for Johnson & Johnson and DePuy sought to downplay the plaintiffs’ legal case, saying that patients are provided with information about the potential need for revision surgery, in which hip implants are surgically replaced in whole or in part.

“There’s no guarantees against pain,” Leon Carter, attorney for J&J, told the court, per Law360.“Each one of these people were told that they might have to have some or all of their hip replaced.”

The original trial took place in 2016 and was the second of four bellwether trials in the DePuy hip MDL. Jurors initially awarded the five plaintiffs over half a billion dollars in damages, a verdict that was later reduced to about $150 million prior to being vacated completely and remanded to the district court for retrial.

As of December 2018, the DePuy hip MDL had nearly 10,000 cases pending, according to Law360.

Source:
Hutchinson, T. (2019, January 25). J&J Knew Hip Implants A ‘Disaster,’ Jury Hears in Retrial. Law360

DePuy Hip Lawsuit News Update: Depuy Pinnacle Hip Lawsuits undergoing a re-trial

January 29, 2019

The long outstanding Depuy Pinnacle hip cases are undergoing a re-trial in a Texas Court room. Johnson & Johnson has only won of the bellwether trials, but they have refused to appropriately settle these cases. As we previously wrote, the offer to settle for approximately $125,000 each is woefully inadequate in our view and we will not recommend this hip settlement to our clients.

In the latest re-trial, the jury has heard that Johnson & Johnson knew the implants were “a disaster” but executed a plan to “get every last sale.”



During opening statements in the retrial, the jury was told that DePuy’s Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant caused the five plaintiffs to suffer a range of injuries including severe tissue damage that caused permanent muscle loss, intense pain and loss of hip movement.

Despite all the evidence that has come out in the trials so far, Johnson & Johnson continues to defend these hips and claims to have acted responsibly in the development and marketing of the Pinnacle product.


 This claim will likely be undercut by the Plaintiffs’ first witness, Dr. Nargol. Dr. Nargol is an orthopedic surgeon with advanced specialty training who practices in England. He was formerly engaged by DePuy to train other orthopedics to conduct Pinnacle-related surgeries. He later blew the whistle on ASR and then Pinnacle. We fully expect his testimony to be well received by the jury.

Why is this re-trial so important? Another large win for the Plaintiffs will embolden us in our rejection of the in adequate and insulting settlement offer made by Johnson & Johnson regarding these hips. The first trial resulted in a $502 million verdict. It was reversed when the Court of Appeals found that U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade allowed jurors to hear “recurring and highly prejudicial” testimony about J&J and that lead plaintiffs’ counsel Mark Lanier had wrongly represented to jurors that two orthopedic surgeons who testified in the trial were unpaid.

Note the verdict was not reversed because the product is safe. It was reversed on ‘technical grounds’. We fully expect the Plaintiffs to win this trial and we will continue to seek real justice for our clients with a Pinnacle hip. Johnson & Johnson may finally be on the run with regards to this product, as they just agreed to pay $120 million to end a wide-ranging investigation into whether it misled customers about the longevity and efficacy of its hip replacement devices.

Source:
Law360

DePuy Hip Lawsuit News Update: Johnson & Johnson Reports More Than 12,000 Active Lawsuits Over DePuy Hips

November 2, 2018

Cumulatively, Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary businesses face more than 12,000 active lawsuits in the United States alone over hip-implant devices manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., the conglomerate disclosed in a quarterly report filed October 31 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Product liability lawsuits over DePuy hip implants, including class-action suits, have been filed in numerous other countries, as well.

Patients have sued Johnson & Johnson and DePuy over injuries allegedly caused by a variety of DePuy hip-implant products, including the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System, ASR Hip Resurfacing System, and Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System. J&J reports about 2,000 DePuy ASR cases and 10,400 DePuy Pinnacle cases ongoing in the United States as of September 30.

Despite being subject to a worldwide voluntary recall in 2010, DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System and ASR Hip Resurfacing System continue to be the subject of new lawsuits, according to Johnson & Johnson’s report for the third quarter of 2018. In the US, federal DePuy ASR cases have been consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Ohio, where the defendant companies have resolved many claims through a massive settlement program. Outside the US, Johnson & Johnson companies face DePuy ASR lawsuits in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Germany, and Italy.

With regards to DePuy Pinnacle lawsuits, the “number of pending product liability lawsuits continues to increase,” with federal cases in the United States having been centralized in an MDL in the Northern District of Texas. According to J&J, “Several adverse verdicts have been rendered against DePuy, which are currently being appealed.”

In a show of confidence in the strength of its Pinnacle defense, Johnson & Johnson says it “has established an accrual for defense costs only in connection with production liability litigation associated with the PINNACLE Acetabular Cup System,” (emphasis added) meaning the company has set aside money to pay its lawyers, but not plaintiffs.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective DePuy hip implant, contact the experienced lawyers at TheLawFirm.com now for a free consultation with a licensed attorney!

Sources:
United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
Product Liability. Legal Proceedings. Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure. United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Form 10-Q. Johnson & Johnson. September 30, 2018. Filed October 31, 2018.

DePuy Hip Lawsuit News Update: Judge Approves Common Benefit Hold in Depuy Pinnacle MDL

October 15, 2018

The judge overseeing multidistrict litigation (MDL) involving allegations over DePuy’s Pinnacle Ultamet hip implant has approved the plaintiffs’ request for a “common benefit hold”, entering on August 29 a Preliminary Holdback Order that will prevent distribution of any funds until the court has had the opportunity to conduct a so-called common benefit assessment, documents obtained through the court’s website show.

On the same date, the court also entered its Final Judgment in the MDL’s fourth bellwether trial, based on a jury verdict returned November 16, 2017. The jury in that case found for the plaintiffs, ordering DePuy Orthopaedics and its parent company Johnson & Johnson to pay a combined $28 million in punitive damages alone.

In the Preliminary Holdback Order, US District Court Judge Ed Kinkeade, who has been overseeing the Pinnacle hip implant MDL in the Northern District of Texas, writes that the Order will “enable equitable sharing of attorneys’ fees and expenses among Plaintiffs and the counsel who act for the common benefit of all Plaintiffs in the cases that are or were pending in this MDL proceeding.”

The Preliminary Holdback Order was the first judicial order posted to the DePuy Pinnacle MDL’s website since April, when the court issued a series of case management orders. The plaintiffs’ request for such an order, filed as an Omnibus Motion, might be an indication that plaintiffs and the defendant companies are nearing agreement in their settlement talks and are making final arrangements for how such a deal would be executed.

To date, four bellwether trials have been conducted within the MDL, with the last commencing in September 2017. Three of the four trials have resulted in jury verdicts for the plaintiffs.

In the first bellwether , which took place over September and October 2014, a jury found defendants DePuy and Johnson & Johnson not liable for the injuries of plaintiff Kathleen Herlihy-Paoli. However, the jury in the second bellwether sided with the plaintiffs against the defendant companies, awarding over $60 million in exemplary damages in a verdict returned March 17, 2016. (This amount was later reduced, as “Texas law limits the amount a plaintiff may recover in exemplary damages.”)

Following the third Pinnacle Ultamet bellwether trial, a jury verdict returned December 2016 also found J&J and DePuy liable for injuries suffered by six different plaintiffs, again ordering the companies to pay millions of dollars in damages. Finally, as mentioned above, the fourth bellwether also resulted in a verdict for the plaintiffs.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective medical device, contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com right away for a free legal consultation with a licensed attorney. The law places strict deadlines on your ability to file a claim, so don’t delay!

Sources:
United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas IN RE: Depuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation

DePuy Hip Lawsuit News Update: Johnson and Johnson SEC Filings Disclose Legal Liability Over Depuy Hips, Other Products

Wednesday, August 28, 2018

With Johnson & Johnson disclosing a wide range of product-liability litigation in its most recent financial filings, the company has cited thousands of lawsuits it faces over DePuy hip implants as among “the most significant of these cases,” a review conducted by TheLawFirm.com has revealed.

In its Form 10-Q filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on August 2, 2018, Johnson & Johnson declared that, “[a]s of July 1, 2018, in the United States there were approximately 2,000 plaintiffs with direct claims in pending lawsuits regarding injuries allegedly due to the DePuy ASR™ XL Acetabular System and DePuy ASR™ Hip Resurfacing System.”

In August 2010, DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. issued a voluntary recall of the ASR CL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System. DePuy and Johnson & Johnson now face thousands of product-liability claims across the United States and around the world over injuries caused by the defective medical devices.

In the US, federal claims involving the DePuy ASR products have been consolidated as multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Ohio, according to the filing. Johnson & Johnson further disclosed that it and DePuy also face ASR-related claims in countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Germany, and Italy.

According to Johnson & Johnson’s filings, since 2013, it and DePuy have been engaging in a settlement program that to date has resolved over 10,000 claims relating to the DePuy ASR CL Acetabular System and ASR Hip Resurfacing System. Johnson & Johnson expects these settlement figures to continue to grow as it works to resolve outstanding claims.

However, despite the large number of settlements, Johnson & Johnson has reported that DePuy ASR-related “lawsuits in the United States remain, and the settlement program does not address litigation outside of the United States.”

Internationally, the SEC filings state that “[i]n Australia, a class action settlement was reached that resolved the claims of the majority of ASR Hip patients in that country. In Canada, the Company has reached agreements to settle two pending class actions which have been approved by the Québec Superior Court and the Supreme Court of British Columbia.”

If you or a loved one ever suffers harm as a result of a defective medical device, contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com right away for a free legal consultation with an actual attorney!

Sources:
US District Court for the Northern District of Texas IN RE: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation
United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
Form 10-Q – “Johnson & Johnson and Subsidiaries” – Filed August 2, 2018
Notes to Financial Statements – Legal Proceedings

DePuy Hip Lawsuit News Update: Discovery Process Nears Fall Deadlines in Depuy Hip Implant MDL

Wednesday, August 24, 2018

While there has been a relative lack of publicly visible court activity following the conclusion of the fourth of four bellwether trials in late 2017, plaintiffs and defendants in multidistrict litigation (MDL) over DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc.’s Pinnacle Ultamet hip implants continue to make preparations behind the scenes as they race to meet fast-approaching fall 2018 discovery deadlines.

In a series of case management orders issued in early April 2018, US District Court Judge Ed Kinkeade established filing deadlines for Plaintiff Profile Forms (PPFs) and Defendant Fact Sheets (DFSs). With the last of the PPF deadlines being slated for August 2018 and the earliest of the DPFs being due the following October, it is likely that there soon will be an increased amount of court activity as the MDL enters its next phase.

The product-liability litigation, which was consolidated as an MDL in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas in 2011, involves allegations that Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics are liable for harms caused by DePuy Pinnacle's hip implant. As of mid-August 2018, the massive MDL continued to include over 9,000 separate lawsuits, according to Law360.

In the MDL’s first bellwether trial, which involved a single plaintiff from Montana, a jury sided with Johnson & Johnson and DePuy, holding them not liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. However, the victory was short-lived for the defendant medical-device makers, who were ordered by juries in subsequent bellwethers to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

For example, the jury verdict for the fourth bellwether trial, delivered in November 2017, found Johnson & Johnson and DePuy liable for design defect (strict liability), negligent design, inadequate warning (strict liability), manufacturing defect (strict liability), negligent manufacture, negligent misrepresentation, intentional misrepresentation (fraud) to the plaintiffs’ implanting surgeons, fraudulent concealment from plaintiffs, fraudulent concealment from plaintiffs’ implanting surgeons, deceptive business practices toward plaintiffs, and deceptive business practices toward plaintiffs’ implanting surgeons.

The jury also found Johnson & Johnson liable for negligent undertaking as to the duties it undertook to perform for DePuy Orthopaedics, as well as aiding and abetting DePuy in its illicit acts. The jury found Johnson & Johnson and DePuy not liable for intentional misrepresentation (fraud) to plaintiffs.

If you or a loved one has suffered harm as a result of a DePuy Pinnacle hip implant or other defective medical device, contact the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com today for a free legal consultation with an actual attorney!

Sources:
US District Court for the Northern District of Texas IN RE: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation
Court’s Charge to the Jury and Jury Verdict, Fourth Bellwether
Case Management Order No. 10 Pinnacle Plaintiff Profile Form
Agreed Case Management Order No. 11 Defendant Facts Sheet
Law360

DePuy Hip Lawsuit News Update: Depuy Hip Implant Plaintiffs Say They Are Owed $247 Million

Wednesday, August 13, 2018

Following a November 2017 verdict in which a Texas jury found Johnson & Johnson and its affiliate DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. liable for $247 million in damages over their defective line of DePuy Pinnacle Ultamet metal-on-metal hip implants, the plaintiffs in the case have reduced their requested take by approximately $1.2 million to account for medical expenses reimbursed by private insurance.

The trial was the fourth bellwether trial in complex multidistrict litigation (MDL) consolidated in US District Court for the Northern District of Texas. It involved ten New York State plaintiffs who sued the defendant companies in Texas federal court, a venue that has been contested by J&J and DePuy.

Under New York law, damages for medical expenses must be reduced by the amount compensated by private insurance, resulting in the adjusted sums submitted by the plaintiffs. The submittal of revised damages was reported by Law360 on August 9, 2018.

In total, the MDL includes some 9,000 cases in which plaintiffs have sued the device makers over harms allegedly caused by faulty hip implants.

“It is a pity that Johnson & Johnson refuse to address this problem and instead get hit over and over by 9-figure verdicts knowing the aging pool of plaintiffs will keep most from living to see resolution of their claims," commented plaintiffs attorney W. Mark Lanier, according to Law360. "This is the third nine-ten figure verdict in a row against Johnson & Johnson, including findings of punitive damages. J&J's product is horrible, J&J's conduct is indefensible, hence J&J bases its fight on hopeful legal technicalities of jurisdiction and venue."

Among other allegations, plaintiffs have claimed that the device makers used substandard materials in their hip implants and failed to adequately test the products on humans prior to marketing and selling them. Plaintiffs say they suffered permanent tissue and muscle damage, loss of mobility, and severe pain as a result.

With verdicts having been rendered in four bellwether trials, juries have sided for plaintiffs and against the device makers in three, awarding over a billion dollars in total damages that were later reduced to the hundreds of millions.

Sources:
Law360

DePuy Hip Lawsuit News Update: Texas DePuy Hip MDL Proceeds with Fact Sheet Exchange

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

As of summer 2018, thousands of cases involving plaintiffs accusing DePuy Orthopaedics of designing and manufacturing defective hip implants continue to make their way through federal district court in Texas as part of multidistrict litigation (MDL). With four bellwether trials now having been completed, plaintiffs in the remaining cases are in the process of providing Plaintiff Fact Sheets, per a court order issued in April 2018.

The cases involve allegations that DePuy pushed its line dangerous Pinnacle Ultamet metal-on-metal hip implants on unwitting patients, resulting in serious injury. DePuy is a subsidiary of consumer goods and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson.

As Mark Lanier, attorney for many of the plaintiffs, described to Law360 in 2017, “This is a case that’s about…people who trusted a doctor, and they trusted the product that doctor gave them, and they got a terrible result.”

In four completed bellwether trials to come out of the MDL, the first resulted in a defense verdict; the second ended with a $502 million jury verdict that later was reduced to $150 million; the third—which involved six plaintiffs—resulted in a verdict of over $1 billion, later lowered to $543 million; and the fourth ended in a $247 million verdict for the plaintiffs.

According to Law360, as of fall 2017, over 9000 cases remain in the Texas MDL, which likely will continue to wind its way through the federal court system for years to come.

Sources:
United States District Court – Northern District of Texas IN RE: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation MDL 3:11-md-02244
Law 360 - United Fourth Bellwether Verdict
Law360 - First, Second, and Third Bellwether Verdicts

DePuy Hip Lawsuit News Update: Commentators Call for Clarification of Expert Compensation Rules after DePuy Ruling

June 13, 2018

Following a Fifth Circuit ruling that reversed a plaintiff’s victory against DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. on the basis of the plaintiff’s failure to disclosure that expert witnesses were being compensated for their testimony, legal commentators are calling for clarification of the legal standards involving such disclosures.

As Ekaterina Long wrote for Law360 on June 12, 2018, “Given that we live in a free market society in which people could reasonably expect to be compensated for providing their professional services, it is certainly a reasonable assumption that a nonretained expert witness would be compensated in some fashion for providing testimony. However, this is an assumption that apparently does not go without saying, and an express provision regarding the disclosure of a nonretained expert's compensation should be in place.”

The Fifth Circuit decision involved a case in which the plaintiff claimed to have suffered injuries as a result of a defective hip implant designed by Depuy. During the trial, attorneys for the defense moved for release of judgment on the basis that an attorney for the plaintiff had implied that two of its expert witnesses were uncompensated, when this may not have been the case.

Attorneys for plaintiff made a $10,000 donation to the high school alma mater of one of the expert witnesses just weeks before trial. The other expert witness in question stated in a deposition that he expected to be compensated. Both witnesses did in fact receive payments from the plaintiffs’ attorneys following the jury verdict in the plaintiff’s favor.

The trial court denied the defense’s motion, pointing out that there was no evidence of an agreement for compensation at the time of trial. However, the Fifth Circuit disagreed, finding that the trial court had erred in its application of the relevant legal rule.

Would the jury have decided differently if it had known that expert witnesses for the plaintiff were being compensated for their testimony? Of course, such a hypothetical can never be answered. But, to avoid such situations in the future, legal commentators like Long are calling for a clarification of the disclosure standard.

As Long writes, “Incorporating a simple requirement to more completely disclose expert witness compensation…would significantly lessen the need to focus on attorney conduct, and place that focus squarely on the merits of each case.”

Sources:
Law360

DePuy Hip Lawsuit News Update: Dozens of Cases Still Pending In Consolidated NJ Depuy Hip Lawsuits

May 31, 2018

Despite Depuy Orthopaedics, a unit of consumer-goods and pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, having voluntarily recalled its ASRT hip implants in August 2010, according to an update released by the New Jersey Courts website on May 29, 2018, dozens of consolidated lawsuits remain ongoing in centralized proceedings being overseen by Judge Rachelle L. Harz of Bergen County.

The 2010 recall was prompted by data indicating that five years after surgery, 13% of patients who had received DePuy ASRT hip implants required revision surgery involving an additional hip replacement. The Bergen County lawsuits have been filed on behalf of patients claiming harms caused as a result of these allegedly defective devices.

In July 2016, the New Jersey Supreme Court approved consolidation of the lawsuits as multicounty litigation. According to the May 29 case list, 53 suits presently still are ongoing, with filing dates ranging from as far back as April 2011 to as recently as January 2018.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective medical device, the experienced team of attorneys at TheLawFirm.com are standing by, ready to provide you with a free legal consultation from an actual attorney. The law places strict time limits on your ability to file a claim, so contact us today!

Sources:
New Jersey Courts Website DePuy ASR Hip Implant Litigation – Main Page
DePuy Hip Implant Case List

Legal Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to be used as medical information or diagnosis. The sources of the information presented in the article have been researched and are linked within the article. Please seek out medical advice from a licensed medical professional if you are experiencing a problem with any of the drugs or devices mentioned in this article. 

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