DePuy hip settlements
Last week, Harris Martin reported that an ASR hip lawsuit scheduled for San Francisco Superior Court in September was also quietly resolved before a court hearing. The MacDonald case was going to be the first of the coordinated New Jersey cases to go to trial. The others – Coughlin and Gullo – are to be tried together soon, with a case management conference scheduled for November 21.
Details of the DePuy ASR hip settlement amount were not released, but Bloomberg News reports that Johnson & Johnson is looking to resolve as many as 11,500 U.S. cases by early next year, weighing a total settlement amount exceeding more than $3 billion. Under this agreement, plaintiffs would receive around $300,000 each.
DePuy spokeswoman Lorie Gawreluk told Bloomberg News that “reports about a possible resolution of the litigation are premature and speculative, including any estimates of resolution amounts.” But she did say that the company has spent $993 million on medical costs and patient information about the ASR recall of 37,000 devices in the U.S. The 2010 recall came shortly after a report indicated that over 12% of the devices failed within five years, causing damage in the body from metal debris, replacement surgeries and pain.
DePuy ASR hip settlement negotiations a better deal for J&J?
Back in March, J&J lost its first trial over the ASR device in California Court and had to pay plaintiff Loren Kransky an $8.3 million award. Jurors concluded that the device was defective and that the company didn’t properly warn patients and doctors of the risks, but did not rule for punitive damages against the manufacturer.
Six weeks later, a Chicago jury ruled in favor of DePuy and rejected a defective device claim made by an Illinois nurse in Strum vs. DePuy Orthopaedics. Defense attorneys successfully argued that Ms. Strum had a hypersensitivity to the implant and that she received no pain relief when it was replaced with a different device. Charles Adeyanju, one of the jurors involved in the case said that there were “a lot of unanswered questions” and that the case “wasn’t substantial enough.”
What’s next for the DePuy hip settlements?
Upcoming trials are scheduled for state courts in West Palm Beach, Florida in November; Chicago, Illinois in December; Hackensack, New Jersey in January; and Los Angeles, California in January. In addition to the state court cases, U.S. District Judge David Katz is overseeing at least 8,457 federal cases consolidated in the Northern District of Ohio under MDL 2197.
Lawyers involved in the litigation say that it will be fascinating to see how the mass-tort implant cases will unfold, given the complexity of the various injuries and the substantial amount of money involved. Factors like age, extent of injuries, the number of surgeries performed to correct the defect, and the medical evidence of the case will all be weighed against the defense counsel’s argument to determine whether these cases actually make it to trial, as well as the amount of the settlements or awards if plaintiffs are successful in making a claim.
It’s believed Johnson & Johnson will look for a way to negotiate a grid to reach a DePuy ASR hip settlement based on five or six variables that can be plugged in and altered to determine the value of each claim. They will need to overcome obstacles such as the number of years they’ll be held liable for paying claims; whether they will need to reimburse Medicare for claims paid; and the amount of compensation owed for extreme medical cases that involve long hospital stays and multiple surgeries.