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Bellwether Trials Could Begin Later This Year in DePuy ASR Hip Implant Lawsuits

May 2, 2012 | Parker Waichman LLP

It looks like lawsuits in the federal DePuy ASR hip implant multidistrict litigation could go start going to trial later this year.  According to a report from Bloomberg News, attorneys for both plaintiffs and defendants have agreed to hold bellwether trials, and are negotiating on a process for choosing appropriate cases for trial.

Bellwether trials, also known as test trials, will help determine how much responsibility DePuy Orthopaedics and its parent, Johnson & Johnson, bear for those problems, and what damages might be worth, Bloomberg News said.

DePuy and Johnson & Johnson have been named in more than 6,000 lawsuits in federal and state courts throughout the U.S.   Around 4,200 are pending in the multidistrict litigation now underway in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio. Another 2,000 claims are in state courts.

Las Vegas, Nevada will be the site of the first state court trial, scheduled to begin December.  A Maryland lawsuit will go to trial in January.

All of the DePuy ASR hip implant lawsuits share similar allegations that the devices can shed dangerous amount of metal debris in patients, leading to early implant failure, tissue and possible long-term health problems.  DePuy issued a worldwide recall of the implants in August 2012, after they were found to be failing prematurely in a high number of patients.

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