Nearly a year ago, the company DePuy Orthopedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, issued a recall of 93,000 DePuy hip replacement systems. Studies of the recalled systems indicated unacceptably high failure rates of 12% for the ASR Hip Resurfacing System and 13% for the ASR XL Acetabular system. Since then, the DePuy Pinnacle hip implant system, a predecessor to the ASR system, has also drawn attention.
Litigating cases related to the DePuy products is complex and in order to handle the large number of similar cases, the Court system has been taking steps to streamline and consolidate the cases. Some recent developments related to the two cases include:
DePuy ASR Litigation
In December, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict litigation consolidated and centralized in Multi-District Litigation (MDL) 2197 in the Northern District of Ohio all pending cases in federal courts related to the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Hip System. The Judicial Panel found that the cases shared common factual issues related to “whether DePuy’s ASR XL Acetabular Hip System…was defectively designed and/or manufactured and whether DePuy failed to provide adequate warnings concerning the device.” The consolidation of the cases is intended to assist with and streamline the discovery and pre-trial phases of litigation. Judge David A. Katz is overseeing the this particular MDL.
Since MDL 2197 was created, that litigation has advanced with the establishment of initial procedures to begin consolidating the cases and facilitate the filing of new cases. In addition, in January, the Court designated those attorneys who will serve as lead counsel and act on behalf of the parties in the course of the litigation. As of April, the Court had established a short-form complaint procedure to further facilitate and expedite the filing of complaints that involve the ASR Hip system. The case is now entering into the discovery phase.
DePuy Pinnacle Litigation
On May 23, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict litigation ordered that all cases related to the DePuy Pinnacle hip implant currently pending in federal courts—a total of 57—be consolidated and centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. In creating the Multi-District Litigation (MDL 2244), the Judicial Panel found that the individual cases all share the same central “question as to whether the DePuy Pinnacle Acetabular Cup System was defectively designed and/or manufactured and whether the defendants failed to provide adequate warnings concerning the device.” The MDL will serve to streamline discovery and pre-trial matters across all cases, avoiding duplication as well as inconsistent rulings. Judge James E. Kinkeade will oversee the MDL.