Thursday, December 9, 2010

Summary of the Federal Court suits against Depuy

All of the complaints involve similar allegations that DePuy and Johnson & Johnson failed to adequately research their metal-on-metal hip replacement system and failed to immediately issue a recall after it became apparent that users were experiencing a higher-than-expected rate of problems with DePuy ASR hip implants.

Each of the cases initially being transferred into the MDL come from a different federal court district, including two from different districts in Alabama, and one from California, Kentucky, Illinois, Mississippi and Utah. An eighth case, from the District of Maryland, was excluded because the plaintiff does not have a DePuy ASR-series implant.  Two other cases may be excluded later by Judge Katz if it is discovered the plaintiffs do not have ASR implants.

The MDL panel said that the two cases were vague about the types of implants involved, but decided to allow Judge Katz to make the ruling on whether they should be removed from the MDL after further discovery. In placing the cases in Ohio, the court rejected the plaintiffs’ suggestions of consolidation in Texas and Alabama and chose a federal court which attorneys for DePuy had suggested.

Consolidation of the DePuy hip recall litigation before one judge as part of an MDL is designed to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid contradictory rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the court, witnesses and parties. While the pretrial management of the cases in an MDL is often managed similar to how a DePuy ASR class action lawsuit would be handled, each claim will still remain an individual lawsuit.

If a DePuy hip recall settlement agreement is not reached following pretrial proceedings and any bellwether jury trials, each of the consolidated cases would be remanded back to the jurisdiction where they were originally filed for trial.

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