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Hip Implant Lawsuit: Johnson & Johnson Reportedly Offers $4 Billion Payment
On November 13, a report on Bloomberg claimed that Johnson & Johnson has struck a deal of $4 billion to settle thousands of DePuy hip implant lawsuits. It roughly translates into about $350,000 payment per litigant. Though there is no official word from the company or its subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics, settlement details are likely to be announced next week, according to two lawyers privy to the settlement.
The settlement, according to sources, will cover 7,000 to 8,000 litigants who had to undergo revision or replacement surgeries following the failure of DePuy ASR hip implants. The tentative deal is expected to leave those litigants who are yet to replace the DePuy systems despite suffering from adverse effects. Johnson & Johnson faces over 12,000 hip implant lawsuits filed over ASR and Pinnacle brand hip replacement devices. This is going to create space for future litigations and the manufacturer will be forced to pay those removing DePuy’s implanted hip devices.
Though each litigant, on an average, is expected to be awarded $350,000, the final settled amount
may vary depending on medical condition of plaintiffs. The foremost contention put forward by clients is that the design defects in these hip implants allow friction between the metal parts that corrode the implant causing it to fail prematurely and release metal debris into blood, putting users at the risk of metal poisoning and tissue death.
DePuy Orthopaedics, owned by Johnson & Johnson, faces over 12,000 hip implant lawsuits following failures and subsequent recall of its ASR and Pinnacle hip replacement systems. The Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip replacement system was introduced in 2001. In 2005, DePuy came up with ASR hip implants and the FDA allowed it “fast track” approval under the 510k process without trial following claims of similarity with Pinnacle hip implants.
DePuy issued a global recall of 93,000 ASR implants in August 2010 following numerous complaints to the FDA. Between 2006 and 2009, more than 600 failure and adverse event complaints were registered on MedWatch reporting system. Patients implanted with ASR and Pinnacle systems experienced early failure, metal toxicity, loss of sensory and cognitive capabilities, pain, immobility, long-term osteolysis, inflammation due to design defects and underwent revision surgeries leading to financial and health problems. One in every eight that had ASR hip systems implanted, according to experts, experienced device failure within a year of the surgery. Similarly, there were over 1,000 Pinnacle hip implant complaints on the MedWatch program.
About 7,800 DePuy ASR hip lawsuits have been filed in various U.S. courts while 4,200 DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuits are pending for trial. In October 2013, Johnson & Johnson settled two DePuy hip implant lawsuits just days before their set trial schedule. The first one filed in a San Francisco Superior Court was set for a late October hearing while the second one was awaiting trial in a New Jersey state court.
In March 2013, the first state trial of DePuy hip implant lawsuit led to a plaintiff from California being awarded $8.3 million in damages. The federal trial of DePuy hip implant lawsuit consolidated at an Ohio court is expected to begin in January 2014. There are reports that a Johnson & Johnson offer of $200,000 in damages were rejected by plaintiffs and that the company is considering to offer about $300,000 per lawsuit to settle.
Stryker Corporation also expects to dole out around $1 billion to settle thousands of hip implant lawsuits filed in the United States seeking product liability following recalls of its Rejuvenate and ABG II systems. According to the latest estimates disclosed by the Michigan-based medical technologies firm in its third quarter earning and the October financial report, the final settlement of hip replacement system lawsuits may lead to compensation payments between $700 million and $1.13 billion. The latest figures are almost double of $400 to $660 million estimates made by the company in July 2013. The expected settlement is likely to exceed the previous record of $1 billion compensation paid by Sulzer in 2001 for its defective hip implants.
In June 2013, Stryker recalled Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implant systems after consumer complaints poured in. The manufacturer had claimed that the implant systems would last 15 to 20 years. However, adverse event complaints forced withdrawal of these devices within three years. Most of the complaints were related to enhanced blood metal level, premature failure, fretting, loosening of caps, swelling, pain, inflammation, bone necrosis, and additional hip surgery. Rejuvenate hip implants were approved by the FDA in 2009 through the 510k “fast track” approval process. According to the FDA, there were at least 60 complaints highlighting serious adverse events associated with these hip implants.
Stryker Hip Implant Lawsuit Update
Close to 1,000 Stryker hip implant lawsuits have been filed in the United States. The company has enhanced its total settlement estimate from $300 million to $1.3 billion on the face of rising litigations. About 350 Stryker hip implant lawsuits filed against company subsidiary Howmedica are consolidated in a Minnesota district court headed by federal Judge Donovan Frank.
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