Tuesday, March 13, 2012

DePuy ASR MDL Update: ASR Implant Developer And DePuy Executives To Be Deposed

Excerpts from an article published by Bernstein Liebhard Law firm

Bernstein Liebhard LLP reports that a series of depositions of DePuy Orthopaedic executives as well as one of the developers of the ASR hip replacement system were recently noticed in In re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. ASR Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation ("MDL No. 2197"), which is currently underway in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.* In addition to the deposition of Dr. Thomas Schmalzried, who developed the ASR hip system, several DePuy executives were noticed, including: the Manager of Hip Product Development, the Vice-President of U.S. Sales, the Vice-President of World Marketing, and the Product Director. These depositions are scheduled to take place between March and May 2012.

These upcoming depositions will cover a range of topics including: the design, sale, promotion and marketing of the ASR hip implants, as well as communications relating to complications, post market surveillance and recall of the devices. The DePuy executives have also been asked to produce documents, notes, outlines, presentation materials, testimonies and oral proposals prepared or given to them that reference or relate to the ASR hip systems.

On March 5, 2012, the Honorable David A. Katz, who is presiding over the consolidated litigation, vacated a status conference scheduled for March 15, 2012. According to the order, the conference was vacated because "discovery is proceeding apace which negates the necessity."**

Hip Implant Developer Expected To Testify On A Variety ASR Related Topics
In addition to being credited as one of the main designers and developers of the DePuy ASR hip implant, Dr. Thomas Schmalzried also provided the company with a wide range of consulting services.*** According to Bloomberg Businessweek, he was paid more than $3 million "in royalty income for intellectual property and/or product development" in 2009 and 2010. Bloomberg reported that in addition to receiving payments for product development, Dr. Schmalzried attended DePuy meetings in support of the ASR products and actively promoted them to his peers. Moreover, a February 28, 2012 article published in the British Medical Journal revealed that Dr. Schmalzried not only assisted DePuy's marketing efforts, but also authored a paper entitled, "Setting the record straight on metal hypersensitivity," which was used by DePuy's sales teams to deter safety concerns raised by other orthopaedic surgeons regarding the ASR hip implants.**** According to Bloomberg, Dr. Schmalzried is a named defendant in patient lawsuits against DePuy. As reported by Bloomberg, a complaint filed by a California man, alleges that "Dr. Schmalzried and the DePuy representatives assured the orthopedic surgeons during these meetings that the ASR System was safe, was the best product on the market, had an excellent track record and a low and acceptable failure rate."

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