Johnson & Johnson, the world’s largest pharmaceutical and medical manufacturer, is considering a radical step in the personal injury cases against their subsidiary, DePuy, and their all-metal hip replacement devices: a $3 billion settlement.
The company seeks to resolve as many as 11,500 lawsuits pending in the US, which would be a payout of around $300,000 per personal injury case. If the plaintiffs accept the terms, that would mean DePuy/J&J would pay out more than $3 billion.
That settlement amount is twice as large as previously-discussed settlement amounts in DePuy all-metal hip cases.
“It’s going to be a fascinating case to watch settle because of the level of complexity of the injuries and the amount of money that will be involved,” said Bruce Cranner, a medical device defense lawyer not involved in the case. “You don’t see a lot of mass-tort implant cases settle for a substantial amount of money.”
According to those involved in the settlement, J&J hopes to resolve the DePuy all-metal hip cases by early next year. In 2010, the company recalled 93,000 all-metal hip replacement devices, manufactured by their subsidiary company, DePuy Orthopedics. That included a recall of 37,000 devices in the US. The company claimed initially that the recall was due to low sales figures, making the continued manufacture of the all-metal hip devices unappealing, but it turned out that 12% of the devices failed within the first five years after hip replacement surgery.
Two multidistrict litigations (MDLs) exist for the DePuy all-metal hip device personal injury cases – one for the Pinnacle model, and one for the ASR model.
History of DePuy Hip Device Legal Problems
If J&J is looking to increase the settlement amount, it is likely due to concerns about pending bellwether cases.
The first DePuy all-metal hip device personal injury bellwether case concluded in favor of the plaintiff, Loren Kransky, a retired prison guard and Vietnam veteran who had hip replacement surgery in 2007, and after 25 revision surgeries and a host of related health problems – including infection, metallosis, and liver damage – he finally had the device removed in 2012.
“I didn’t want to have the hip done because I had 25 surgical procedures done prior to that,” Kransky told jurors. “I thought that surgery was going to kill me. I thought I was going to die … I came to believe that I was going to have to do it because I was told that something in my body was poisoning me. I was told it could be the hip. I thought, ‘I’m going to die either way.’ One way would be slow and one would be fast. I took the lesser of two evils.”
Kransky was awarded $8.3 million – $338,136 for healthcare costs, and $8 million for emotional pain and suffering. However, the jury also ruled that, despite the tragedy that happened to Kransky, J&J/DePuy Orthopedics did not commit fraud or have malicious intent when creating and selling the all-metal hip replacement devices. If they had, punitive damages in the case could have amounted to an additional $179 million for Kransky.
The Strom Law Firm Is Investigating Personal Injury Caused by DePuy’s All-Metal Hip Devices
The DePuy Orthopedics all-metal ASR and Pinnacle devices are supposed to last close to fifteen years, but have been found to have a 12-13 percent failure rate within the first five years after implantation. This failure rate is almost double the industry average. Some physicians believe that the implant has a fundamental design defect that makes it difficult to implant.
In the last three years, the FDA has received more than 300 complaints of problems with the implants, such as:
- Pseudotumors from metal debris
- Allergic reactions
- Permanent muscle and tissue damage
- Loose hip cups
- Hip dislocations
- Bone fractures
The DePuy implants are failing after only two or three years, and as a result requiring expensive and painful surgical procedures to have the implant replaced or repaired.
If you or a loved one has received a metal hip replacement device, specifically from DePuy Orthopedics, and have since suffered painful side effects, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to contact us. 803.252.4800.