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Motion Filed to Consolidate Johnson & Johnson DePuy ASR Hip Implant Recall Lawsuits

Sep 15, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP

Lawyers representing victims of the recalled Johnson & Johnson DePuy ASR hip implant are seeking to have lawsuits consolidated in a multidistrict litigation. A motion requesting the consolidation was filed on September 3 with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on behalf of a woman who originally filed a Johnson & Johnson DePuy ASR hip implant lawsuit in California federal court.

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 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. Symptoms that an ASR hip implant has failed, if present, may include an increase in pain or difficulty walking.

Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics unit said additional testing and treatment may be necessary to ensure an ASR hip implant is functioning well. Patients who received one of the implants were advised to schedule a follow-up appointment with their surgeon, even if they are not experiencing symptoms. Because the company does not maintain a list 0f implant recipients, patients who underwent surgery after July 2003 where advised to contact their surgeon or hospital to determine if they received a recalled hip implant.

A multidistrict litigation would allow all Johnson & Johnson DePuy ASR recall lawsuits to be coordinated under one judge for pretrial litigation to avoid duplicative discovery, inconsistent rulings and to conserve the resources of the parties, witnesses and the court. When lawsuits are consolidated as a multidistrict litigation, each retains its own identity. If the MDL process does not resolve the cases, they are transferred back to the court where they originated for trial. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation of the United States Courts was created in 1968. Since then, it has consolidated hundreds of thousands of lawsuits that involved high numbers of plaintiffs, including litigation over asbestos, breast implants and other matters.

The plaintiff in the California lawsuit has asked the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation that all Johnson & Johnson DePuy ASR recall lawsuits be centralized in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey before Judge Susan D. Wigenton. Johnson & Johnson’s corporate headquarters are located in New Jersey. The panel is expected to hear arguments on the motion in November.

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