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Johnson & Johnson DePuy ASR Hip Implant Recall Sparks Lawsuits

Sep 8, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP

Several lawsuits have already been filed over the Johnson & Johnson DePuy ASR hip implant. Last month, Johnson & Johnson issued a worldwide recall for the ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System following complaints of device failure.

Johnson & Johnson announced the recall of the DePuy ASR Hip Implant system after data from the National Joint Registry of England and Wales showed that 1 out of every 8 patients (12%-13%) who had received one of the recalled devices had to undergo revision surgery within five years of receiving it. The recall involved the ASR XL Acetabular System, a hip socket used in traditional hip replacement, and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System, a partial hip replacement that involves placing a metal cap on the ball of the femur. Only the ASR XL Acetabular System was approved for use in the United States.

At least 93,000 people around the world have received one of the recalled Johnson & Johnson DePuy ASR hip implants.

According to a Bloomberg News report, lawsuits over the Johnson & Johnson DePuy ASR hip implant have been filed in federal courts in San Francisco and New Jersey, and in a state court in California. The San Francisco lawsuit was filed by a construction worker who received two implants in 2007. The plaintiff, 52-year-old Maurice Brigham, suffered “pain, swelling inflammation, infection and damage to surrounding bone and tissue” due to defects with the hip- replacement mechanisms, the suit claims. Brigham had one of the devices removed last month, but hasn’t been able to get a replacement and is now unable to walk, the suit said.

Brigham’s suit charges that Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics unit knew for years many of the 93,000 patients with ASR hip implants required corrective surgeries because of the products’ defects, Bloomberg said.

According to Bloomberg, a lawsuit in federal court in Newark, New Jersey also claims that DePuy was “fully aware” that the hip implant was defective, having received more than 300 reports of ASR hip failures.

Finally, a lawsuit filed in state court in Los Angeles contends that the plaintiff’s body rejected an Johnson & Johnson DePuy ASR hip implant because of a design flaw that allows metal to grind on metal within the mechanism, Bloomberg said.

One New York plaintiffs’ attorney told Bloomberg that it’s likely more lawsuits involving the Johnson & Johnson DePuy ASR hip implant will be filed in the coming months.

“93,000 is a monstrous recall and I think we’ll see a sizeable pile of lawsuits filed to go along with it,” the lawyer said.

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