A Lone Star State multi-district lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics has grown to include 757 complaints as federal courts around the country transfer cases to the Northern District of Texas.
The docket broke the 750-lawsuit mark this week after the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred an additional 17 federal court cases to Texas, where the lawsuits are consolidated under District Judge J. Edgar Kinkeade, according to Harris Martin Publishing.
The Texas MDL began with around 60 lawsuits that were brought together in May 2011 under Kinkeade. Plaintiffs in the MDT are accused DePuy of liability over its Pinnacle hip replacement implant, generally claiming that the devices contained defects that caused patients harm.
The Pinnacle device, which pre-dates DePuy’s ASR implant by a few years, is like its older cousin in that it’s been found to shed minute particles of metal as the hip’s ball joint wears on the metal cup. The lawsuits allege that increases the risk of problems and make the implants prone to early failure.
DePuy voluntarily recalled the ASR in August 2010 after receiving reports that a higher-than-normal number of patients required surgeries to correct or remove defective implants. The company said it was pulling the ASR XL Acetabular and ASR Hip Resurfacing systems from the market "due to the number of patients who required a second hip replacement procedure, called a revision surgery." More than 96,000 patients were been affected by the massive global recall.
Metal-on-metal hips as a class have become a magnet for lawsuits, even for devices that have not been recalled.
Orthopedic device maker Smith & Nephew (FTSE:SN, NYSE:SNN) may be the next to see patient complaints, as adverse event reports gathered from the FDA’s MAUDE database may progress into lawsuits and then into a collective legal action against the company’s Birmingham metal-on-metal hips, which have not been subjected to a recall.
Fellow device maker Biomet has already blazed that trail, with a raft of personal injury lawsuits against its M2A Magnum MoM hips consolidated in a federal court in Indiana, despite the fact that those devices have not been recalled.