Potential Filing Deadline Looms Over DePuy ASR Hip Implant LawsuitsAug 29, 2012 | Parker Waichman LLP
Victims of the defective and recalled DePuy Orthopaedics ASR metal-on-metal hip implant may soon be out of time to file lawsuits against the manufacturer seeking damages for the injuries caused by those devices.
According to a report at MassDevice.com, the two-year statute of limitations that many states follow expired over the past weekend. That milestone marks two years since the ASR hip implant was removed from the market (August 2010) because it had been linked to thousands of adverse event reports, including total device failure and it causing a toxic accumulation of the metals cobalt and chromium in a recipient’s bloodstream, a condition that could cause organ damage, organ system failure, and some forms of cancer.
To date, no judges have blocked any lawsuits that have been filed against the subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson due to the expired statute of limitations in some states but those who represent victims of the defective hip implant believe it could be something the manufacturer uses as it seeks to reduce the caseload it faces regarding this one specific implant. The company is now facing more legal trouble in connection with another metal-on-metal hip implant it manufactures, the Pinnacle.
Right now, there are at least 6,000 lawsuits filed over the defective implant. Many have been consolidated in an Ohio federal courtroom as part of a growing Multidistrict Litigation against DePuy Orthopaedics and its ASR hip implant. That number is expected to grow as more people continue to suffer complications caused by the recalled hip implant.
At some point, DePuy will likely seek to block future lawsuits filed against it and will cite state statute of limitations laws in those attempts. For the company, it seems imperative to do this. Three lawsuits which were scheduled to be tried before a jury this December - the first such trials involving ASR hip implant defects - were recently settled out of court and each victim represented in those lawsuits received approximately $200,000 in damages for the injuries they suffered.
Victims of the defective ASR hip implant continue to come forward as the devices fail them. Prior to having a defective hip implant removed, a person will likely undergo at least one and possibly several revision surgeries to correct the device before they decide to have it replaced entirely.
Treatments, surgeries, and subsequent physical therapy to recover from the surgeries are expensive and those with the defective implants are never guaranteed to regain full mobility after they’ve had the ASR implant removed and replaced. Risks associated with infections and further serious injuries increase with every procedure.
More than 96,000 people worldwide received the defective ASR hip implant before it was recalled. Early failure rates are estimated to be between 13 and 30 percent, which means it’s likely that thousands more people are either suffering through the defects or have yet to seek legal action against the company. More than 1,100 Australians are seeking more than $200 million in damages as part of a class-action lawsuit against DePuy filed there, the report added.