DePuy Faulty Hip Replacement Court Case Sees Further Delays

Further delays have hit the multidistrict litigation DePuy faulty hip replacement court case in Ohio after Judge Katz agreed to a two-week postponement to allow additional time for discovery to take place.

The first of the DePuy `Bellwether` trials – McCracken -v- DePuy Orthopaedics Inc – had already met with delays after Anne McCracken replaced the original plaintiff Faye Dorney-Madgitz in July. At the time, the faulty hip replacement court case was scheduled to begin on September 9th, but it has now been rescheduled to commence on September 24th.

Ann McCracken (57) from Rochester in New York made her claim against DePuy Orthopaedics in March 2011; alleging that she had suffered a dislocated hip due to metal particles discharged from her DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Hip Replacement System which was implanted in August 2009.

She claims that when her orthopaedic surgeon removed the DePuy metal-on-metal hip replacement system in January 2001 he saw evidence of metallosis which had killed healthy tissue around the implant, which caused the dislocation of her hip.

Ann had to undergo further operations in October 2011 to implant a device which restricts the movement of her hip and which has decreased her mobility further. This restrictive device will also result in her present hip replacement system wearing out quicker than normal, meaning that Ann will have to undergo further revision surgery in the future.

Ann´s faulty hip replacement court case is also to be decided without reference to the August 2010 recall of the DePuy ASR hip replacement systems. Judge Katz ruled that Ann´s injury “began with the initial implementation” and agreed with DePuy´s lawyers that mentioning the recall during the faulty hip replacement court case might deter other voluntarily recalls of potentially harmful medical devices in the future.

The ‘Bellwether’ trials will be used to determine the relative strengths and weaknesses of the plaintiffs´ claims and DePuy Orthopaedic´s defence. The motive for consolidating 7,800 claims against DePuy Orthopaedics is to discover if an acceptable yardstick can be determined for the settlement of compensation claims against DePuy Orthopaedics and their parent company Johnson & Johnson.

If no yardstick can be established – or negative verdicts are returned by the jurors – the outstanding claims will be remanded back to the U.S. District Courts in which they were originally filed. Each faulty hip replacement court case would then have to be heard individually; delaying the outcome of the claims and potentially inflicting financial hardship on the plaintiffs.

This would also be the case in Ireland, where plaintiffs who have served notice of cases against Johnson & Johnson, DePuy Orthopaedics and the Health Service Executive may not receive an offer of compensation and will have to pursue their claims against the alleged negligent parties through the Irish court system.