The plaintiffs, led by Moira Jackson, sued over the metal-on-metal hip implant, which was pulled off the market in August 2010, after research showed abnormally high rates of revision surgeries.
The recall was prompted by data 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 DePuy, the recall affected more than 96,000 patients.
Jackson and her co-plaintiffs in the Delaware state court case now want the court to compel AlexGorsky, who took the reins at J&J in April, to be deposed for the lawsuit, according to court documents.
"Gorsky directly oversaw J&J subsidiaries (and co-defendants) DePuy Orthopedics Inc. and DePuy International Ltd., and was directly involved in decision-making concerning the DePuy ASR device at the center of this suit," according to court documents. "As a result of Mr. Gorsky’s apparent role in decision-making on the testing, study, complaint-investigation, continued sale, and subsequent recall of the DePuy ASR device, he has relevant knowledge regarding the subject matter of this litigation, the discovery of which is reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence."
Gorsky was worldwide chairman of Johnson & Johnson’s medical devices segment prior to assuming the CEO role.
Johnson & Johnson called the move a "fishing expedition," saying it’s made 43 witnesses available for deposition in the case and produced reams of documents.
"Plaintiffs do not need Mr. Gorsky’s testimony to establish their case; indeed, any information he may relay can be gleaned from the dozens of witnesses with first-hand knowledge of the design, marketing and safety of the device at issue or the millions of pages of documents that defendants are producing," according to the documents. "If plaintiffs cannot make their case from this mountain of evidence, they never will."
Eight former and current DePuy Orthopaedics executives are being called to testify in another lawsuit over the DePuy ASR hip implant, this time in multi-district litigation in a federal court in Ohio.
More than 6,000 of the personal injury lawsuits filed over the ASR implants were consolidated under Judge David Katz of the the U.S. District Court for Northern Ohio in December 2010. Now 8 top DePuy Orthopaedics execs, including former president David Floyd and current president Andrew Ekdahl, promoted to replace Floyd, are being called to file depositions in the case.
Also being called for deposition are worldwide hip development director Tom Camino; Rodrigo Diaz, manager of clinical research; DePuy Int’l. Ltd. international hip business marketing director of marketing Paul Kurring; Matt Reimink, manager of development; Mary Stewart of DePuy International Ltd.’s R&D unit; and director of biostatistics & data management Paul Voorhorst, according to court documents.
The first of roughly 2,000 cases filed in state courts were settled for a reported $600,000 last month, when more cases were added to the MDL case gathering suits filed over another DePuy metal-on-metal hip implant, the Pinnacle.
Lawsuits against DePuy began piling up in June 2010 when a a Florida woman accused the company of knowing about the devices’ problems but failing 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.