Johnson & Johnson May Negotiate $2 Billion in DePuy Hip Settlements
According to sources close to Johnson & Johnson, the parent of DePuy, the company is currently negotiating potential DePuy hip settlements to the tune of $2 billion.
With more than 10,000 lawsuits pending, the suggested DePuy settlement for each plaintiff works out to about $200,000 – a sum that the plaintiffs’ lawyers have allegedly deemed too low. In 2010, Johnson & Johnson enacted a DePuy hip recall that affected 37,000 implant recipients in the United States and 93,000 total patients worldwide.
DePuy hip recall issued after serious complications arise
According to patient reports, DePuy’s ASR hip replacements are prone to a range of serious health problems, among them infections, bone fractures, and joint dislocations. Additionally, metal implant flakes may enter the bloodstream and cause tissue and joint death. Furthermore, DePuy hip replacements have been linked to premature loosening, which required recipients to undergo painful and dangerous revision surgery.
According to insiders close to DePuy litigation, Johnson & Johnson simply cannot afford to litigate – and potentially pay out massive jury verdicts – for each of these cases. In January 2012, Johnson & Johnson indicated that it had reserved $800 million for DePuy hip litigation. Nevertheless, J&J spokeswoman Lorie Gawreluk continues to assert publicly that, “DePuy believes the evidence to be presented at trial will show the company acted appropriately and responsibly.”
10,000 + plaintiffs await resolution of their claims
A November 2012 filing indicated that there were approximately 10,100 lawsuits currently pending against DePuy and Johnson & Johnson. Many (about 7,240 complaints) have been consolidated into multidistrict litigation in Ohio federal court; an additional 2,000 cases are centralized in California state court. The remaining claims are awaiting trial in other local courts throughout the United States.
Steven J. Skikos, the co-lead counsel for a plaintiffs’ executive committee, which is overseen by Ohio court presiding U.S. District Judge David A. Katz in Toledo, stated that, “At this time we have a significant number of trials set with the company and we are primarily focusing our efforts on trial preparation.” To date, attorneys for the plaintiffs and defense have already reviewed more than 50 million pages of documentation related to DePuy lawsuit litigation, and have deposed at least 50 witnesses.
$2 billion set aside for possible DePuy hip settlements
Three cases are scheduled for trial in the next few months; the first was set to begin on January 23 in Los Angeles. If these cases end badly for Johnson & Johnson, they may set a precedent that the company cannot afford. For this reason, the company is rumored to be considering the $2 billion DePuy settlement amount– a hefty number, but not unheard of in healthcare liability law.
In 2007, Merck & Co. was force to resolve Vioxx painkiller lawsuits through a $4.85 billion settlement fund, after the medication was shown to double a patient’s risk of stroke and heart attack. As with Vioxx lawsuits, DePuy hip settlements would be calculated based on the merits of each plaintiff’s individual claims.
- Hip implant complaints surge, even as the dangers are studied. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/23/business/complaints-soar-on-hip-implants-as-dangers-are-studied.html?scp=5&sq=depuy%20hip%20replacement&st=cse
- DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., ASR hip implant products liability litigation, MDL No. 2197. Retrieved from http://www.ohnd.uscourts.gov/assets/Clerks_Office