Thursday, March 19, 2015 - Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy has agreed to a settlement that will pay more than 1,400 claimants an estimated $420 million to resolve lawsuits connected with the ongoing multidistrict litigation concerning the company‘s defective ASR hip implants. The lawsuits included in the new deal are separate from the resolved cases that were a part of the $2.5 billion settlement reached in 2013 that covered thousands of prior claimants.
The original settlement covered roughly 8,000 class members for complications stemming from the malfunctioning hip replacements. The eligibility date for those in the most recent settlement was extended to January 31, 2015, which brought the 1,400 class members included in the newest round of settlements into play. The original eligibility date was August 31, 2013 and the latest settlement covers claimants affected by the ASR hip implants since that date.
The initial lawsuits relating to the DePuy ASR Hip implants were spurred by widespread problems with the metal-on-metal design of the company‘s hip replacement, culminating in a recall following a 2010 report detailing device failure within the first five years for 12 percent of patients. The recall covers more than 90,000 hip replacements that have been implanted over the last five years. The individual settlements are expected to average and estimated $250,000-$300,000 per class member. Johnson & Johnson is expected to pay out more than $4 billion total in settlements relating to all the company‘s metal-on-metal hip implants.
There are particulars from the first round of settlements that will apply to the newest agreement. Claimants that were smokers or are obese are likely to receive smaller amounts, and factors such as loss of income and surgeries following revision of the ASR hip implant can boost the total. Each award in the settlement will be determined on an individual case-by-case basis.
The DePuy ASR uses a metal-on-metal implant, a design has led to industry wide litigation as complications from the hip replacement include implant failures requiring corrective surgery and diseases stemming from metal residue rubbed off from the joint‘s friction. The friction from the metal-on-metal design would cause microscopic pieces of metal to shave off of the devices, in some cases leading to the blood disease metallosis. Plaintiffs also claim that although the implants were originally designed to last longer than existing models, the ASR hip replacement was instead more problematic than alternatives patients may have possibly opted for if aware of potential consequences.
The ASR cases comprise the larger of two groups of hip implant lawsuits in multidistrict litigation currently pending against DePuy. The company‘s lawsuits relating to its Pinnacle hip implants contain roughly a fourth of the amount of claimants involved the ASR MDL, and both center on the metal-on-metal hip replacement design. The Pinnacle lawsuits have been consolidated into an MDL with bellwether trials scheduled to continue through 2015. Though Pinnacle claimants share common complaints against the same company, the ASR settlement does not in any way cover those affected by the Pinnacle hip replacement.
Claimants have until May 1 to enter a claim into the settlement program with DePuy.