MONTGOMERY, ALA. – It was announced this weekend that federal cases involving defective hip implant parts manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, will be consolidated in federal court in the Northern District of Ohio under U.S. District Judge David A. Katz. The hip implant parts were recalled August 26 after research indicated patients who received the parts required a much higher than usual rate of revision surgeries. The recall affects 93,000 people and it is expected that thousands of lawsuits will be filed on behalf of people injured by the defective parts.
"As expected the Multi-district litigation (MDL) judicial panel selected Judge David A. Katz in the Northern District of Ohio to oversee all federal court cases involving the DePuy hip implant recall. Since counsel for several plaintiffs, along with counsel for DePuy and Johnson & Johnson specifically requested Judge Katz to preside over this litigation, I think that he was a good choice for the DePuy MDL," said Beasley Allen Shareholder Navan Ward, who is investigating hundreds of cases on behalf of clients injured by the defective hip implant. "Based on Judge Katz's experience with other MDLs, we expect that he will do a good job of pushing these cases along, whether it be by settlement or trial. Any existing cases filed in various federal courts around the country will likely soon be transferred to his court in order to begin litigation in his court," Ward said.
Consolidating cases into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) allows the committee overseeing the process to focus on moving the case forward in a consistent way. Lawyers will coordinate the litigation and work together on issues of discovery. A similar process was instituted in the BP Oil Spill litigation, with thousands of cases consolidated in New Orleans under U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier. Beasley Allen attorney Rhon Jones is serving on the Plaintiffs Steering Committee (PSC) for that MDL.
The recall involves the ASR XL Acetabular and ASR Resurfacing systems. Patients who received the defective hip replacement parts from DePuy may experience symptoms including pain, swelling and trouble walking. These symptoms may indicate serious problems such as the hip implant loosening from the bone, fracturing the bone to which it is attached, or dislocating. However, even people who are not currently experiencing symptoms may be at risk. The recalled part uses metal-on-metal parts to reduce wear. However, the friction between these parts may release particles of toxic heavy metals into the tissue and bloodstream, causing metal poisoning. This can result in serious injury, including tumors, neurological problems and heart failure.