Thousands of people implanted with DePuy’s ASR or Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implants filed lawsuits against the device manufacturer after they endured painful complications from the devices. When these metal-on-metal hips first were released, DePuy marketed them as being more durable than other types of implants. But in August 2010, DePuy recalled the ASR after a five-year failure rate of 13 percent, a development that required too many revision surgeries for recipients. The recall involved 93,000 implants worldwide.
Legal analysts say the lawsuits on file and those that could come later may cost Johnson & Johnson, DePuy’s parent company, billions of dollars.
If you or a loved one received a DePuy ASR or Pinnacle hip implant, you may be eligible to receive compensation because of lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering related to your condition. These serious complications are often the basis for lawsuits against hip implant manufacturers.
People with ASR hips filed lawsuits after dealing with debilitating pain, device failure (such as a loosened implant), excessive metal in the blood (metal poisoning), bone fractures and dislocations. Metal poisoning can bring on tissue and bone death, among other side effects.
During the first trial involving DePuy related to its ASR hip – a lawsuit filed by former prison guard Loren Kransky – internal company documents revealed that the device is expected to fail in 40 percent of patients within five years.
In addition to the problematic ASR, people who received the Pinnacle hip also suffered from severe complications similar to those caused by the ASR. Despite thousands of complaints, there has been no official Pinnacle recall, and plaintiffs’ only recourse has been to file a lawsuit.
Status of DePuy Hip Lawsuits
Nearly 11,000 DePuy ASR lawsuits are pending across the country. Of these, more than 7,000 were consolidated in a multidistrict litigation (MDL – 2197) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio under Judge David A. Katz. In state courts, an additional 3,000 ASR cases are pending. Plaintiffs in the MDL allege that the ASR was defectively designed and that DePuy failed to provide adequate warning of safety risks.
In addition to the ASR lawsuits, DePuy faces more than 3,000 federal lawsuits and many more state lawsuits related to its Pinnacle hip implant. The federal cases were consolidated in multidistrict litigation (MDL – 2244) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas under Judge James Edgar Kinkeade. Depositions in the cases began in January 2013. The first trial is scheduled for March 2014.
Kransky was the first plaintiff to take his ASR case to a jury. After the five-week trial in California state court in March 2013, Los Angeles jurors ruled in his favor, found the ASR was defective in design and awarded him $8.3 million for his injuries. The jury did not award punitive damages, but experts say that is likely to change as more lawsuits make their way to trial.
Kransky’s attorney, Michael Kelly, told the jury, “This is not an imperfect hip. This is a public health disaster.”
The second DePuy trial began in March 2013 in state court in Chicago. Illinois nurse Carol Strum sued DePuy after she suffered severe injuries resulting from her ASR hip and required additional surgery. DePuy’s president, Andrew Ekdahl, testified that the implant was recalled because the product did not meet “clinical expectations.” Another document surfaced showing that DePuy officials signed off on a document that said the ASR was a “defective product that would affect product performance and/or could cause health problems.”
How We Can Help
Dealing with medical bills and unexpected health problems caused by faulty hip implants like the DePuy ASR or Pinnacle can be difficult without the tools to get the answers you need. It can also be stressful and frustrating. Whether you need help or are trying to help a loved one, Drugwatch can provide you with the resources needed to take the next step in a treatment plan or in pursuing a legal claim.
Our Patient Advocates can help you understand the symptoms caused by metal-on-metal hip implants and help you figure out if you received a DePuy implant. They can also answer your questions about what to do before and after revision surgery. Because the ASR implants were recalled, even if you are not experiencing symptoms you may have legal options.
An experienced product liability attorney can come up with the best legal strategy and make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Our advocates are available to speak with you one-on-one about whether filing a lawsuit may be right for you. They also can help you find an attorney with experience in suing medical device companies like DePuy.
FREE HIP REPLACEMENT CASE REVIEW
If you have a DePuy ASR or Pinnacle hip, or if you have complications from any other brand of hip implant, you have legal options.
Why Should You File a DePuy Hip Lawsuit?
A faulty DePuy hip is emotionally and financially costly. Filing a lawsuit can help regain some of what you or a loved one has lost because of a defective product and help start you on the road to recovery. Complications from DePuy implants can immobilize people and interfere with their ability to work and participate in other activities or take care of their families. Treating these complications may require more surgery to remove and replace the implants and a lengthy hospital stay.
Revision surgery is more complex and dangerous than the initial hip replacement surgery and can cost thousands of dollars more than the original hip replacement surgery. Revision surgery is also more difficult to recover from. Recovery can take months and involve rigorous physical therapy sessions.
Some patients continue to struggle with regaining mobility and cannot enjoy activities they used to participate in. Even something as simple as going to the bathroom can be an ordeal.
Because of his faulty DePuy hip, Loren Kransky claimed in his lawsuit that he was forced to use a wheelchair, which was “humiliating,” and he could not even get up to “use the bathroom freely.”
People with DePuy implants may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and punitive damages. You should talk to a qualified lawyer about options for compensation.
To avoid hurting your case:
- Be careful what you sign – Talk to your lawyer first and avoid signing any waivers.
- Be careful who you talk to – DePuy representatives may solicit information about your case over a helpline or by contacting you. Only talk to your lawyer.
- Don’t turn over evidence – This includes your faulty hip implant and medical records. If you have revision surgery, ask to receive your implant following surgery. If you do not retain your device, DePuy can use this evidence to stop your claim. Remember you need these for your case. Only turn them over to your lawyer.
- Consider getting another medical opinion – Make sure revision surgery is necessary.
- Beware of doctors discouraging you from taking legal action – Remember that DePuy may pay your doctor for help. One lawsuit alleges that DePuy offered doctors $50 to return any faulty devices they remove and to get patients to consent to release medical records. Your attorney can help you protect your legal rights while you seek medical care.
People Who Filed DePuy Lawsuits
Kransky’s trial was the first out of thousands of pending DePuy ASR lawsuits. He accused DePuy of negligence and concealing the serious complications associated with the ASR. Now Carol Strum has brought her suit before a jury in Chicago. She, too, alleges the design of the ASR was defective and resulted in additional surgeries.
Peggy Jean Autry of Nashville, Tenn., filed her lawsuit against DePuy in 2011, the same year she underwent revision surgery to remove the faulty DePuy implant. Autry had her ASR implanted in 2008 and suffered from “debilitating pain and weakness; significant inhibitions of her ability to walk and move; elevated blood levels of chromium and cobalt; and anxiety, fear, mental anguish and other emotional and physical damages.”
The complaint alleges DePuy is guilty of several counts of negligence, including:
- Failure to warn
- Gross negligence and malice
- Willfully concealing the problems of the implant from the general public.
Michael J. Assad of San Francisco filed a lawsuit against DePuy after the Pinnacle hip he received failed and he required revision surgery. He claimed DePuy knew its hip had “abnormally high risks of early failure, and that it generated unusual and dangerous levels of metal debris” in patients’ bodies, along with other complications.
He alleges DePuy of concealing the problems with the Pinnacle hip, as well as negligence. After his hip replacement, Assad was unable to walk up and down stairs, continued to have terrible problems with his hip, and suffered unbearable pain. The problems he was having with his right hip also caused him to have problems with his left knee. Because of the lengthy and painful recovery process, he lost a large amount of wages.
Like the cases of Kransky, Strum, Autry and Assad, other lawsuits filed against DePuy claim that the company knew the ASR and Pinnacle hip implants were defective, but sold them anyway and failed to warn patients and doctors. In the case of the Pinnacle implant, lawsuits also accuse DePuy of failing to recall a defective product.