Patients in New Zealand who claim they have been injured by metal-on-metal hip implants have hit another roadblock in their fight for compensation, but are not giving up.
Justice David Collins in the High Court at Wellington has ruled that New Zealand’s method of accident compensation disallows plaintiffs from suing the hip implant manufacturer, DePuy International, which is based in Leeds, England. The three plaintiffs represent a larger group of 38 claimants that are seeking to file claims against DePuy, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, for compensation in regards to their failed devices.
One of the claimants, James Elliott, who has become an unofficial spokesperson for the others, said the group would consider appealing Justice Collins’ verdict.
“Our claim includes claims for compensatory damages and separately for exemplary damages,” said Elliott. “Therefore, at this stage, we will be pursuing the claim for exemplary damages. The claim for exemplary damages remains on foot. It is a more difficult road.”
The claimants had received their hips from DePuy between 2006 and 2009 just before the device recall in August 2010. The patients then underwent revision surgery in 2011 and 2012 to have their hip implant replaced.
“The statement of claim alleges the DePuy hip implants were designed and or manufactured with defects which led to the breakdown of part of the implant which in turn led to the release of cobalt and chromium into patients,” Justice Collins said. “This is said to have led to metal poisoning and tissue damage. The plaintiffs plead that DePuy failed to undertake a proper risk assessment and testing of the implants before they were distributed. It is also alleged DePuy failed to adequately monitor the implants after they were placed into patients.”
Source: NZ Herald