According to an article in the New York Times, Johnson & Johnson has reached a tentative agreement to settle a multitude of lawsuits resulting from flaws in Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) hip replacement devices made by its DePuy Orthopaedics division.

It is believed that the settlement could total $4 billion, with each plaintiff receiving an average of $350,000. Reports indicate that only patients who have had to undergo revision surgeries to remove and replace the DePuy ASR implants would be eligible to participate in the resolution, an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 cases of the 12,000 lawsuits filed.

Other reported elements of the settlement were revealed to Bloomberg News by individuals close to the deal:

  • 94 percent of eligible plaintiffs must opt into the settlement, or Johnson & Johnson can withdraw
  • The $4 billion settlement will compensate to plaintiffs based on factors such as the patient’s age, extent of injuries, and whether a patient underwent one or more surgeries to replace defective implants
  • The deal provides additional compensation to patients who suffered “extreme injuries” from the device’s failure, or endured long hospital stays after revision procedures
  • The company will set aside funds to reimburse Medicare and other insurers for claims paid on behalf of hip-implant patients, compounding the value of the settlement by hundreds of millions of dollars

As noted in earlier Sommers Schwartz Blog posts, some 500,000 U.S. patients have received metal-on-metal hip implants, including 37,000 who received the ASR model. The failure of the metal-on-metal design occurred when friction and wear between the components produced metallic debris that damaged surrounding tissue and resulted in significant injury to the patient. While several artificial hip implant devices last 15 years or more, the ASR design began to fail after just a few years, and the company’s own projections forecast a 40 percent failure rate in five years – eight times higher than other devices.

The settlement is expected to be announced next week in federal court in Toledo, Ohio, where U.S. District Judge David Katz is coordinating federal litigation. Though the deal, if Judge Katz approves it, would effectively end litigation involving the DePuy’s ASR device, Johnson & Johnson continues to face thousands of lawsuits involving another all-metal hip design marketed under the Pinnacle name.

Sommers Schwartz represents dozens of plaintiffs injured by the ASR design and other artificial hip implants. If you have been injured by a defective medical device, please contact us immediately to discuss your case and your right to receive compensation.