According to Bloomberg News, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) will pay more than $4 billion to resolve the product liability lawsuits over its recalled hip implants. This massive settlement is the largest of U.S. lawsuit claims over an allegedly defective medical device, and affects thousands of patients who have been injured by the metal on metal hip implant.
Settlement Impacts Thousands of Patients
The settlement will resolve more than 7,500 lawsuits in federal and state courts against J&J’s subsidiary DePuy unit.
August 2010 World Wide Recall
Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy unit recalled 93,000 hip implants in 2010, including 37,000 in the U.S., after reports of high failure rates within five years.
$300,000 Average Case Settlement
The company will pay an average of $300,000 for each of those failed devices. The agreement doesn’t prevent patients whose hips fail in the future from seeking compensation from J&J.
Metal Ball, Metal Cup and Metallosis
The J&J hips were made from a cobalt-and-chromium alloy used in two related models, the ASR XL Acetabular System, and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System.
Plaintiffs claimed metallic debris was released by the artificial hip’s metal ball grinding against a metal cup. This metallic debris caused tissue death around the hip joint, and increased the amount of chromium and cobalt metal ions in the bloodstream to harmful levels.
12,000 DePuy ASR Lawsuits and Climbing
The company is facing a total of about 12,000 suits over the DePuy hips filed in courts in Ohio, California and New Jersey.
J&J Trial Verdicts
J&J lost an $8.3 million verdict in the first trial over the hip device and won the second. The jury panel found that the device was defectively designed and DePuy was negligent.
J&J was exposed to seven trials over the next six months, on product liability claims the defective hips injured patients, including the first federal trial set for Cleveland in September. The company settled that case and another set for trial in state court in California in October for undisclosed sums.
The consolidated federal case is In re DePuy Orthopedics Inc., ASR Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, 10-MD-2197, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio (Toledo).