July 31, 2012 — The first trial in the DePuy ASR hip implant Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) is set for May 6, 2013, and the second will begin on July 8, 2013. Judge David A. Katz announced the Case Management Order after a status conference on July 25, 2012. Lawyers have until August 8, 2012 to select the first bellwether cases going to trial. These first cases will help determine the outcome of other ASR hip implant lawsuits. Injured people continue to contact attorneys to file their own DePuy ASR hip implant lawsuit.
DePuy, a subsidiary company of Johnson & Johnson, faces approximately 4,000 DePuy ASR lawsuits. Although each lawsuit remains independent (unlike a class action), the cases are centralized into the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. ASR Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation (“MDL No. 2197”).
Early in an MDL, lawyers select bellwether cases that contain issues similar to many other lawsuits in the litigation. Parties will watch these cases very closely, because they indicate how future lawsuits might fare. The outcome of the bellwether trial helps each side gauge the value of a potential settlement. Judge Katz has indicated that the court will only review bellwether cases involving revision surgery. Most people who were seriously injured by a defective DePuy ASR required revision surgery to remove the defective device.
The Case Management Order also gave attorneys a deadline for conducting depositions, in which interviews with key witnesses are recorded and transcribed. Potential depositions may include the plaintiff, the implanting surgeon, the revising surgeon, and a fact witness. These depositions must be complete by November 1, 2012.
Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy ASR hip implant was recalled in August 2010 after being linked to a high failure rate. Nearly 100,000 people were implanted with the device — including the ASR XL Acetabluar system (a type of socket) and the ASR hip resurfacing system (a type of partial hip replacement).
DePuy’s ASR is a metal-on-metal hip implant, in which a metal femoral head pivots inside a metal acetabular cup. The problem is that, over time, chromium particles may grind away from the surface and shed into nearby tissues in the hip. These particles corrode when exposed to oxygen, releasing charged cobalt ions. The chromium leaves a residue in the body, and the highly-soluble cobalt seeps into nearby tissue. Metal-on-metal hip implants have been linked to a three-fold increased risk of failure compared to plastic and ceramic devices, usually due to side effects including metallosis (metal poisoning), non-cancerous pseudotumors, chronic pain, inflammation, tissue damage, bone loss, and more.
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