A New York woman, Ann McCracken’s defective hip claim will be the first DePuy ASR hip lawsuit to go to trial in federal court. McCracken’s case is a “bellwether” case, designed to determine how juries will respond to presented evidence and testimony.
More than 7,800 lawsuits have been brought in the federal court system by folks who have problems with the recalled DePuy ASR hip implant. These metal on metal hip cases are consolidated as part of an MDL, or Multidistrict Litigation, which is centralized before U.S. District Judge Katz in the Northern District of Ohio.
The preparation and outcomes for these early “bellwether” trials will be closely watched by those involved in the litigation, as they may influence potential DePuy ASR settlement values in a large number of cases.
What is the DePuy ASR Hip?
The DePuy ASR is a metal-on-metal artificial hip, which has a metal femoral head that rotates within a metal acetabular cup. There is a release of microscopic metallic debris, consisting of cobalt and chromium, as the metal components grind against each other. The hip is associated with a higher-than-expected failure rate.
Metallosis problems have also been seen with other metal-on-metal hip implants, including the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II, Biomet M2A Magnum, the Wright Medical Conserve Cup, and the DePuy Pinnacle hip. On July 8, Judge Katz announced that Ann McCracken’s case will go before a jury on September 9, in the U.S. District Courthouse in Cleveland, Ohio.
McCracken filed her defective hip complaint in March 2011, claiming that she received a DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip replacement system in August 2009. Artificial hips are expected to last 15 to 20 years, McCracken claims that by January 2011, her implant had to be removed.
A DePuy ASR recall was announced in August 2010, after more than 36,000 of the implants were sold in the U.S. The Johnson & Johnson subsidiary removed the metal-on-metal implant from the market after post-marketing data suggested high failure rates.
State Court DePuy ASR Verdicts
Recently, a California jury awarded $8.3 million in damages and a second trial held in Illinois state court resulted in a defense verdict for DePuy. If DePuy ASR settlements do not occur, then thousands of cases could be remanded back to the U.S. District Courts where they were originally filed for individual trial dates.