Hips: Bellwether DePuy trials for recalled ASR hip implants to begin next year

hip implant x-ray

The 1st patient injury lawsuits following the high-profile recall of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics’ metal-on-metal hip implants are set to begin next year.

U.S. District Judge David Katz ordered both plaintiffs and defendants in the multi-district litigation against DePuy to each select "select 4 ASR revision cases as bellwether trial candidates" to move forward with in 2013, according to the court order.

Each side has until August 8 to select which cases it wants to pursue, and neither party may pick lawsuits brought by patients that had both hips repaired with the ASR implants.

Lawsuits against DePuy began piling up in June 2010 when a a Florida woman accused the company of knowing about the device’s problems but failed to warn physicians. That suit was followed days later by 3 more from California residents who all had to have revision surgery after the implant partially detached from their hip sockets.

Warsaw, Ind.-based DePuy Orthopedics pulled its ASR XL Acetabular and ASR Hip Resurfacing systems off the market in August 2010 after receiving reports that a higher-than-normal number of patients required surgeries to correct or remove defective implants. More than 96,000 patients were been affected by the massive global recall.

The recall, was prompted by new data from the National Joint Registry of England and Wales showing "a 5-year revision rate of approximately 12% for the ASR Hip Resurfacing System and approximately 13% for the ASR XL Acetabular System," according to a DePuy press release announcing the recall.

More than 1,100 patients have since joined a multi-district litigation consolidated in the Lone Star State under Judge James Kinkeade.

DePuy and its accusers have until November 1 to conduct any depositions of the plaintiffs, the implanting surgeons, the explanting surgeons and "one fact witness per side as necessary to determine whether the case should be designated as a bellwether trial candidate case," according to the order.

Each side will then have until December 1, 2012 to tell the court which of the 8 proposed cases should stand proceed. If the parties can’t agree on the cases by December 15, the court will select them.

The first bellwether case will begin on May 6, 2013, and the second will follow on July 8, 2013, according to court documents.

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