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DePuy Hip Settlement: Attorney Weighs In

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Los Angeles, CAA major verdict in the first DePuy hip case that went to trial last month in California State Court is seen as a victory for more than 10,000 DePuy Hip Replacement victims, says Dr. Shezad Malik, a DePuy attorney and Texas medical doctor.

Although punitive damages were not awarded, the jury found $8.3 million in damages for the plaintiff against Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of the DePuy ASR. “This trial was a pivotal moment and a victory for the plaintiffs because, up until this point, DePuy was denying liability,” says Dr. Malik. “This verdict has shown that a jury of our peers believes that J&J and DePuy, its subsidiary, is negligent.”

When Johnson & Johnson recalled their ASR models more than two years ago, they reported a 12 percent failure rate within five years. Their internal documents and subsequent research revealed a much higher percentage, approaching 50 percent. “The jury understood the medicine and issues in litigation and therefore found against J&J,” adds Dr. Malik. Now a second trial is underway in Chicago and more than 10,000 DePuy victims are all hopeful for another positive plaintiff win.

“Interestingly, no punitive damages were awarded in the California trial because it didn’t find gross negligence on behalf of J&J and DePuy,” explains Dr. Malik. “We, as plaintiff lawyers, firmly believe that this pharmaceutical and medical device giant acted with gross negligence when its DePuy hip replacement was put on the market, and that they knew - or should have known - that the metal on metal hip was defective and failed to do adequate testing prior to its release in the marketplace.”

We are finding out now that in the early 2000’s there was a rush by medical device manufacturers to release their metal-on-metal devices through the fast-tracked 510 K process, which meant their products didn’t have to go through rigorous testing (PMA or Pre Market Approval) as long as the device was similar to ones already on the market, and therein lies the problem. “Whoever got to the marketplace first got the lions share,” says Dr. Malik, “only to find that the metal-on-metal implants turned out to be a fiasco: patients wound up with early failure of the hip replacement and many of them faced revision surgeries.”

Future DePuy Litigation

Next up, the federal court will have its own DePuy hip bellwether trials scheduled. Dr. Malik says these current trials are “one-off individual state court actions,” and once the federal cases start, J&J will have to make some tough decisions.

“There has been a selection of federal cases for the bellwether trials,” adds Dr. Malik. “These ‘mini trials’ are designed to go to trial for several plaintiffs, and if many plaintiffs win, it will pave the way for a global settlement. The settlement may happen earlier if there is a finding by the jury in Federal or State Court actions of gross negligence. Then there will be punitive damages.

“For instance, if an individual case in state court finds gross negligence, typically the company will appeal it and the case will go to the Court of Appeals. But if the jury renders a negligence verdict, then the company will have to pay, assuming that they don't appeal it. The only way you will find for gross negligence is if each case is tried separately. There are too many cases for this to happen - it would be wrapped up in litigation for the next 30 years. But if an individual has lost a leg, has been diagnosed with severe or catastrophic effects of metallosis, and/or is permanently disabled, that case will end up being tried, with the hope of getting punitive damages.

“The first federal trial will start May 6, 2013, and the second trial is set for July 8th. So the pressure is on J&J and DePuy to do the right thing, to settle these cases and get the compensation our clients need. Ultimately, they will make that business decision.

J&J has made several billion dollars on their hips over the last ten years in profits, so a settlement of $4-5 billion would be a drop in the ocean for them and they will simply carry on business as usual.”


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Posted by

The damage caused by the MoM hip isn't as easy as replacing it.

I had the revision surgery after only having the MoM hip for 2 years. However, it was too late. I have permanent soft tissue damage and necrosis. Nothing can be done to "fix" this, so I get to spend the rest of my life in a narcotic fog. Thanks DePuy!

Posted by

I think the depuy hip should never have been put on the market. I was told my hip replacement would last thirty years,however my replacement did not last six years.Now j&j thinks paying 250k is just compensation.I hardly call 250k compensation. After suffering multiple surgeries the pain,infection that wont go away ,the extra cost, the loss of work ,the loss of savings in a401k ,the many more years I could have worked making 50k or more a year, the depuy hip replacement was a disaster,causing all reciepients nothing but uncertainty about our lives and future .I hope the attournys fight for whats right and not just settle to fill there own pockets.


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