Metal-on-Metal Hip Replacements

Are Metal-To-Metal Hip Replacements Dangerous?

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has agreed to pay more than $4 billion to settle thousands of DePuy hip replacement lawsuits. DePuy Orthopaedics, a unit of J&J, withdrew its ASR XL Acetabular metal-on-metal hip replacement on August 24, 2010, following nearly 300 complaints from people undergoing hip replacement.

The ASR hip replacement is a metal-on-metal device believed to have a design flaw that has resulted in many patients needing follow-up hip revision surgery to replace the device soon after implant. Some patients also claim the implant leaves metal particles embedded in surrounding tissue as it wears down. The ASR is considered by a number of orthopedic experts to be a defective product, and DePuy hip replacement lawsuits are currently pending.

But the deal might not be a definitive solution. It is believed to leave J&J open to further suits from patients whose hips fail in future. J&J paid compensatory damages of $8.3 million after the jury ruled that the ASR was defective by design and that DePuy had acted negligently. Documents came to light during the trial that indicated that surgeons had told the company that the hip was defective two years before it was recalled, and this prompted an investigation by the U.S. government.

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According to reports by Bloomberg and The New York Times, the settlement, which should effectively cover some 7,500 outstanding Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) state and federal lawsuits against J&J, will be the largest settlement for a medical device in U.S. history.

If approved, J&J will pay an average of $300,000 per surgery. Further, the agreement will also reportedly cover future surgeries required by people whose ASR hip replacements have not yet failed. Effectively, this means there is no cap to the settlement in terms of total value, sources say. The settlement is expected to be announced next week in federal court in Toledo, Ohio.

These accounts concerning how much DePuy is willing to pay ASR injury victims might seem confusing. In determining the amount of compensation you might be entitled to in a DePuy settlement, it is helpful to consider two things: the general types of damages available to people injured by defective products and a comparison of DePuy's settlement offer with the results of a landmark hip implant settlement.

Don't Delay — Call Our Experienced Lawyers Today

The attorneys at the Willumsen Law Firm, P.C., are available to answer questions you may have. To set up your FREE consultation, contact us online or call 800-346-0139. As with any case involving defective medical products, we work on a contingency basis — meaning you will not pay attorney's fees unless you receive monetary compensation.