Patients may be out of time to file lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics’ recalled metal-on-metal hip implants, with the 2-year anniversary of the recall passing over the weekend.
Although no judges have ordered a halt and rules vary by state, lawyers representing patients warned that DePuy’s representatives may argue for a 2-year statute of limitations, cutting off any new claims.
"While the statute of limitations period for each DePuy ASR hip recall lawsuit depends on the state where the surgery took place as well as the circumstances of the injury, many states have a statute of limitations period of 2 years," according to the law firm of Bernstein Liebhard LLP. "Although no court has ruled on this issue with regard to the DePuy ASR hip recall lawsuits, it is possible that DePuy’s lawyers may argue that the 2 year window to file a lawsuit started on August 26, 2010 – the date of the recall."
DePuy hip lawsuits have accumulated worldwide, with Bernstein reporting more than 6,000 in the U.S., most of which are pending in a consolidated action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio under Judge David Katz, according to a press release.
The 1st patient injury lawsuits following the high-profile recall were set to begin next year. Earlier this month Judge Katz ordered both plaintiffs and defendants in the multi-district litigation against DePuy to each "select 4 ASR revision cases as bellwether trial candidates" to move forward with in 2013, according to the court order.
Johnson & Johnson pushed ahead in a different case, Rundle et al vs. DePuy Orthopaedics which was slated to go before a jury Dec. 3 in Nevada’s 8th Judicial District Court, settling the case out of court alongside 2 others for an estimated total of $600,000.
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 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.
Lawsuits over the metal-on-metal hips have also piled up around the world. Hundreds of Australian patients joined a class action lawsuit that may top $200 million in damages.
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.