DePuy ASR Lawsuit - MDL Bellwether Trial

DePuy ASR Hip Lawsuit Selected for Federal Bellwether Trial

Sarah Klein | July 29th, 2013

DePuy ASR Hip LawsuitA federal judge ruled that a DePuy ASR hip lawsuit filed by Ann McCracken will be the first bellwether trial in the consolidated proceedings for MDL 2197. Under the guidance of U.S. District Judge David Katz, in the Northern District of Ohio, the first bellwether case in the multidistrict litigation is scheduled for September 9, 2013. The jury will hear the case of Ann McCracken, who was implanted with a DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip replacement system in August 2009. By January 2011, McCracken says her implant had to be removed.

A small group of other bellwether cases are also in preparation for early trial dates. Formed in December 2010, the products liability MDL has centralized more than 6,200 DePuy ASR hip lawsuits. If participating litigants are not able to reach settlements at the conclusion of the early trials, their individual cases will likely be sent back to the courts of original jurisdiction for trial.

Though the MDL bellwether trials are just getting started, state court trials are already underway in the ASR cases.  In early 2013, a California man was awarded $8.3 million in damages after a jury determined the DePuy ASR implant was defective and the manufacturer failed to provide proper warnings. Court watchers are hopeful that

DePuy ASR recall history

In August 2010, a DePuy ASR recall was issued after the sale of more than 90,000 hip implants throughout the world. DePuy, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, took this metal-on-metal implant off the market after testing and post-marketing reports implied that the implants were failing in five years or less. Much higher rates of failure are suggested. 

About MDLs and bellwether trials

A multidistrict litigation (MDL) occurs when federal civil cases from different parts of the country are consolidated in one court. Each of the cases involved must have at least one common question of fact. The proceedings are managed by one judge during the pretrial and litigation stages. If the case is not settled during the MDL, it then goes back to the plaintiffs’ original courts for trial. The benefits of MDL are that they save both parties time and money, while conserving judicial resources and sharing in the discovery process.

Bellwether trials are selected as representative cases from an MDL that will be tried before a jury. Typically the cases selected illustrate common issues that will be seen in every relevant injured person’s case. The outcomes of these initial trials may help predict how juries will react to testimony and evidence presented in subsequent cases.

Court documents show that at least 10,000 people have filed a DePuy ASR hip lawsuit, alleging serious injuries and complications from the now recalled metal-on-metal devices.