Johnson & Johnson has settled a personal-injury lawsuit that accused its DuPuy Orthopaedics unit of manufacturing defective metal-on-metal hip replacement devices. The lawsuit had been selected as a bellwether case among several other cases DePuy faces over its ASR hip implants, and was destined for an October 15 trial in San Francisco Superior Court.
In March, a Los Angeles jury ordered DePuy to pay Loren “Bill” Kransky, a retired prison guard, $8.3 million in damages for injuries he allegedly received from an all-metal ASR hip device made by DePuy. Mr. Krannsky’s case was chosen as the first of more than 10,000 cases DePuy faces in the U.S. over its ASR XL Acetabular and ASR Hip Resurfacing Systems, which it recalled in August 2010 amid reports that unusually high rates of the devices failed after just five years.
Robert Eugene Ottman, the plaintiff whose case was settled October 1, received a total hip replacement in August 2008. According to his complaint, the DePuy ASR implant caused him to experience severe pain and difficulty walking. His condition deteriorated until November 2011 when he underwent revision surgery to have the ASR implant removed and replaced.
Like other plaintiffs in the cases consolidated against DePuy, Mr. Ottman asserted in his complaint that the company knew for years its ASR implants failed at high rate but failed to disclose that knowledge to physicians and patients. The terms of Mr. Ottman’s settlement have not been disclosed.
ASR complaints against DePuy filed in federal courts have been consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Ohio under Judge David Katz. The first bellwether case in the federal MDL was originally scheduled for a September 2013 trial, but has twice been postponed due to unresolved discovery issues.
The next bellwether case involving DePuy’s ASR hip implants will likely take place in Bergen County, N.J., where roughly 650 cases are pending in state court. That trial is expected to start January 13, 2014.