U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio
Lawsuits against DePuy Orthopaedics over its faulty ASR hip implants are moving through the legal process without delay, according to Judge David A. Katz, who is overseeing most of the cases.
About 3,500 cases have joined a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. In an MDL, the cases are considered to be similar enough that pre-trial proceedings can be consolidated to expedite the discovery process.
Six Plaintiffs Excluded from Slow-Moving MDL
Only six plaintiffs – three in Nevada, one in Wisconsin, one in Florida and one in Utah – have earned the right to be excluded from the slow-moving MDL. An MDL is generally considered more favorable for a large corporation such as DePuy, which is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
In a status update, Katz asked the lead attorneys to meet to discuss the bellwether trials for the first group of artificial hip implant suits. The purpose of such trials is to try cases that are representative of plaintiffs’ claims.
In doing so, the court can determine the strength of plaintiffs’ claims and the extent of defendants’ potential liability. Both sides have until April 27 to submit a joint proposal of competing bellwether trial selection protocols.
Katz has set the next status conference for 11:30 a.m. May 1, 2012, at the Paul G. Rogers Federal Building and United States Courthouse in West Palm Beach, Florida. Afterward, an open court conference will be held at 12:30 p.m.
In the meantime, key witnesses, such as DePuy employees, will continue to be deposed. So far, they have included the Product Director, Vice President of Sales, Hip Product Development Manager and Vice President of World Marketing.
First Lawsuits Claim Implants Were Defective
The first lawsuit against DePuy, in the United States, was filed on June 15, 2010. The suit claims that the DePuy ASR hip replacement was defectively designed and that the company was aware of the problems and did nothing to safeguard consumers. Since then, more than 5,000 patients worldwide have sued.
DePuy recalled 93,000 ASR metal on metal hip implants in August 2010. The devices included in the recall are the ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System.