Judge David A. Katz of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, who has been presiding over the ongoing DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. ASR Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation docket from the beginning in December of 2010, passed away in July at the age of 82.
The MDL has been assigned a new judge by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. As of Sept. 2, Hon. Jeffrey J. Helmick has been assigned to coordinate pretrial proceedings.
According to the New York Times, the ASR metal-on-metal hip made by DePuy Orthopaedics, subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, has been dubbed “one of the biggest medical device failures in recent decades.” The medical device manufacturing giant has been dealing with thousands of lawsuits for the allegedly flawed implant.
Traditional hip implants made of plastic or ceramic parts can last as long as 20 years. However, metal-on-metal hip implant patients are finding themselves undergoing revision surgeries to remove or replace their defective metal hip implant, some in as little as five years. One study by BMJ magazine has shown the device to have a failure rate of up to 50 percent within six years.
The ASR by DePuy is a metal-on-metal hip device that has been known to shed metal debris as the parts rub together from normal use. This can result in deterioration of the surrounding tissue and the releasing of metal ions into the bloodstream, which can lead to a type of metal poisoning called metallosis. After thousands of patients began reporting problems with their new hip, DePuy made the decision to recall the device in 2010.