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Johnson & Johnson Reaches $4 Billion Deal to Settle DePuy Inc. Lawsuits

In November, Bloomberg News and the New York Times reported that Johnson & Johnson will pay more than $4 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits over its recalled hip implants in the nation's largest settlement of U.S. legal claims for a medical device, according to Bloomberg News. DePuy was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 1998 and its companies form part of the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices & Diagnostic group.

Johnson & Johnson will be paying an average of $300,000 or more to individuals for the removal of the metal-on-metal hips, which patients are alleging broke down rapidly, causing pain and discomfort and leaching metal into the wearers' bloodstreams, according to a report by Bloomberg News. However, the accord provides more compensation to hip recipients who suffered "extreme injuries" from the devices failure, or to those who endured long hospital stays after multiple surgeries. The agreement does not bar patients whose artificial hips fail in the future from seeking compensation from J&J; this means that in terms of total value, the settlement is uncapped.

Johnson & Johnson's DePuy unit is facing more than 11,000 state and federal lawsuits over the ASR™ Hip System, which was voluntarily recalled in August of 2010 by DePuy after data from the UK indicated that a higher number of ASR patients needed a second surgery, called a revision surgery. Industry analysts estimate that it will cost its parent company Johnson & Johnson billions of dollars to resolve.

This settlement follows on the coattails of an agreement reached on Nov. 4 where J&J agreed to pay $2.2 billion to resolve criminal and civil probes into its marketing campaign for Risperdal and other pharmaceuticals. J&J, based in New Brunswick, New Jersey is the world's largest seller of health care products and the DePuy settlement will be its second multibillion-dollar agreement this month.

DePuy recalled 93,000 ASR hip implants worldwide in August of 2010, claiming that 12% had failed within a five year period. Internal J&J documents showed that 37% of ASR hips failed after 4.6 years. In 2012, the failure rate in Australia had climbed to 44% within 7 years.

J&J had claimed that the metal-on-metal implants that were first sold in the U.S. in 2005 would last 20 years and offer patients a greater range of motion. As the implants caused pain, dislocations and follow up surgeries, the lawsuits mounted. Patients claimed that the debris from the chromium and cobalt device lead to tissue death and increased metal ions circulating in the bloodstream.

In October, the company reached a confidential settlement in a benchmark case in California over injuries allegedly caused by DePuy's metal-on-metal hip implants. The plaintiff in this case, Robert Ottman underwent a total hip replacement with an ASR device in August of 2008 according to the complaint. Ottman claimed that the implant caused him severe pain and made it more difficult for him to walk. Ottman allegedly had to undergo revisionary surgery in November 2011 after the device failed.

Johnson & Johnson and DePuy were aware that the ASR devices were failing at a high rate during the five plus years they were on the market, and they knew this before Ottman's initial surgery, he claimed. Johnson & Johnson recalled the implants in August 2010.

In the first lawsuit against the orthopedic company in March, a jury awarded $8.3 million in damages to a retired North Dakota prison guard who claimed he was injured by the ASR metal hip. The jury in this suit found that plaintiff Loren Kransky's metal hip had a defective design and that he was injured after it was installed in December of 2007 because of its faulty design. The jurors on the case also found that DePuy had acted negligently in the manufacturing of the ASR hip.

In this case, jurors awarded Kransky $338,000 for his medical expenses, which were covered by the Veterans Health Administration, and another $8 million for his noneconomic losses, including physical pain and emotional suffering.

The company is facing about 12,000 state and federal lawsuits in California, New Jersey and Illinois.

Seeking an attorney for a DePuy hip implant case in Dallas?

If you or a family member has been experiencing problems with your defective DePuy metal hip implant or have been told that your artificial hip requires a revision surgery, we urge you to contact a Dallas personal injury lawyer from Jackson Allen & Williams, LLP. We welcome the opportunity to review your claim to determine if you're entitled to compensation.

We are Board Certified® by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, we have an AV Preeminent™ Rating from Martindale-Hubbell® and we have been selected for inclusion in Texas Super Lawyers®. Should you decide to go with our firm, you can be rest assured your case is in highly competent hands. Call us today; we can be reached at (888) 811-9747.

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