Judge Bars Destructive Testing in DePuy Trials
In a new order by U.S. District Court Judge David Katz, strict guidelines have been put in place that will prevent DePuy from conducting destructive testing of its recalled hip replacement implants. The extensive 40-page order by Judge Katz blocks any party from conducting tests that would destroy the recalled ASR hip apparatuses, which are the subject of litigation in the federal proceeding.
Valuable DePuy hip lawsuit evidence might affect cases
New DePuy hip lawsuit evidence from the retained hip implants could affect hundreds of lawsuits that have been filed in federal and state courts both in California and New Jersey as well as result in billions of dollars in damages awarded to plaintiffs. DePuy hip recall lawyers have collaborated with the representatives from Johnson & Johnson, the parent company of DePuy Orthopaedics, to determine Broadspire Service Inc. as a third-party claim administrator and oversee voluntary reimbursements to plaintiffs. J&J lawyer Susan Sharko said that patients who go to Broadspire will not waive their legal rights.
DePuy spokeswoman Mindy Tinsley said that the implants belong to the patient and that it is the responsibility of their surgeon to take appropriate steps to preserve them. However, in August 2010, the manufacturer began to send letters to hospitals and physicians requesting assistance in retaining implanted hip components and related tissue samples following revision surgery.
Patient consent required to give back implants
Retrieval and possession of the implants cannot be performed by DePuy without prior consent by the patients and therefore patients should communicate to their physicians if they do not want their DePuy hip implant to be handed over to the manufacturer. If the patient has effectively communicated otherwise, it is illegal for doctors to give DePuy a patient’s hip implants. A patient’s hip implant unit is the centerpiece of product liability litigation against manufacturers and should the unit be spoiled or destroyed by third-party analysis, plaintiffs would be unable to meet their burden of proof necessary to prevail in their claims against DePuy. The components often show signs of degradation that could prove the company’s liability as well as the victim’s damages.
A copy of Judge Katz’ order has been provided to every hospital and orthopedic surgeon in the U.S. who used the implants before DePuy issued a recall.