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Shezad Malik MD JD
Shezad Malik MD JD
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J&J DePuy ASR Metallosis Litigation Continues

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The DePuy ASR litigation has been going on now for the past several years, picking up steam after the global ASR recall issued by the manufacturer Johnson and Johnson and its subsidiary DePuy, in August 2010.

DePuy ASR Metallosis Injury AttorneyIn November 2014, J&J announced a settlement plan to resolve the some 8,000 cases filed in the U.S., both in federal and state courts.

The major detail point was that the patients had to have a DePuy ASR implanted and removed as of August 2014. This arbitrary line was drawn in the sand for settlement purposes.

Many injured patients who had their defective hip removed by August 2014 have now settled their personal injury and defective product liability claims against J&J.

August 2014 Implant Revision Deadline

Those DePuy ASR hip implant recipients who have missed the deadline and not yet received a settlement are waiting for news from the federal court. A hearing date had been set with the Northern District of Ohio in January to address this very issue, where the majority of federal ASR cases have been filed. This hearing has been postponed because of inclement weather conditions.

Other than the date of the revision surgery, these injured folks are not different from those ASR cases that qualified under the original ASR Settlement Program. It appears that the defense attorneys for J&J are dragging their feet and the company is balking to paying out further settlement monies to these equally injured folks. It is unclear whether the upcoming hearing will provide answers to those waiting to settle their claims.

J&J Should Be Held Accountable

We fully expect that as the ASR implant population gets older, the number of failing hips will increase exponentially. In the U.S., 32,000 DePuy ASR hips were implanted according to some estimates. Settling some 8,000 out of 32,000, represents only 25% of the potential injury patient pool.

This litigation will continue and J&J should be held accountable for the DePuy ASR debacle for the next several years for the pain, suffering and unnecessary hip revision surgeries that these poor patients, many of them elderly have had to endure.

J&J Metal on Metal Hips Under Fire

J&J set aside $2.5 billion last year to settle claims that 8,000 of its DePuy ASR hips were defective. The pharmaceutical and medical device giant company  is now exposed to similar allegations that its Pinnacle line of hip implants also were failing prematurely and causing metallosis or metal poisoning.

J&J, the world’s largest health-care company, issued a worldwide recall of 93,000 ASR hip implants in August 2010, saying 12 percent failed within five years. But, according to internal J&J documents unearthed during litigation, 37 percent of ASR hips failed after 4.6 years. In 2012, the failure rate in Australia was 44 percent within seven years.

J&J stopped selling the metal-on-metal version of the Pinnacle hip in August 2013 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration required device makers to submit new versions of the artificial hips for pre-market approval.

J&J bragged that the Pinnacle metal-on-metal implants, which were approved for sale in the U.S. in 2000, as a design that would last 20 years and offer greater range of motion.

Metal on Metal Manufacturers Face The Music

All metal on metal (MoM) hip manufacturers are exposed to similar allegation of premature hip failure and metallosis. In February 2014, Biomet agreed to settle over 1,000 lawsuits over its  MoM M2A Magnum implants. Zimmer has also faced litigation over its Durom MoM device, as has Stryker’s Trident, Rejuvenate and ABG II MoM devices.

Smith & Nephew, which started the MoM craze with its Birmingham line of MoM devices is also under the gun as well as Wright’s line of Conserve MoM hip implants.

There are currently more than 4,000 product liability personal injury lawsuits pending nationwide involving the recalled Stryker Rejuvenate or ABG II implants, which were removed from the market in 2012, amid reports that the modular femoral components may be prone to fret, corrode and ultimately fail within a few years. Stryker announced a billion dollar settlement late last year.

Metallosis Caused by MoM Implants

In many cases, chromium and cobalt debris from the metal-on-metal grinding between the cup and the ball components of the MoM hips caused local muscle, bone, tissue death and increased Cobalt and Chromium blood levels.

According to medical experts the long term side effects of heavy metal poisoning is unclear, with some stating that it can cause bladder and kidney cancer many years down the road.