Several lawyers involved in the case said the plan would most likely appeal to patients who did not have any complications after the device’s removal, a group presumed to comprise the vast bulk of claimants.
One such patient, Paula Laverty of Cape Elizabeth, Me., said the basic payout seemed to be reasonable. “I have been fortunate in my recovery,” Ms. Laverty wrote in an email.
That has not been the case for other patients like Ms. Laney. The operation to replace her A.S.R. set off a series of procedures that have left her disabled, unemployed and struggling to walk with a cane, she said. In the process, she lost her health insurance.
“I am in pain 24 hours a day,” said Ms. Laney. “My main concern is my health.
Lawyers say that the $475 million pool in the settlement will be used to supplement the basic payouts to patients like Ms. Laney. Along with patients who had to have repeated operations, extra payments will also be available to patients who developed infections, experienced joint dislocation or had other problems related to a procedure like a heart attack or a blot clot.
The size of such payments will be determined by how many patients qualify for special funds, a group that plaintiffs’ lawyers estimate at 10 percent of claimants. Also, the estimated value of the settlement — $2 billion for basic payouts and $475 million for the special fund — is predicated on 8,000 patients taking the deal.
The size of both pools is prorated based on patient participation. For example, the values will fall by 12.5 percent if 7,000 patients take part in the settlement and rise by 12.5 percent if 9,000 patients do.
Roughly 4,000 A.S.R. patients who have filed claims against Johnson & Johnson but have yet to have a replacement procedure will not qualify for the plan.
Johnson & Johnson can walk away from the settlement if fewer than 94 percent of eligible plaintiffs participate.
Patients like Ms. Laney who are unhappy with the plan may have few alternatives. They are unlikely to see a courtroom for years, if ever, and there are no guarantees that Johnson & Johnson will settle their claims for more money, lawyers said.
Ms. Relkin said she anticipated that 96 percent to 99 percent of the several hundred claimants her firm represents would participate in the settlement. However, another lawyer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that he planned to recommend that clients who had potentially high-value claims stay out of the settlement and take their chances, either in court or in separate deals with Johnson & Johnson.
“I think that is about 10 percent of my clients,” that lawyer said.