It was recently announced that the pretrial filings for DePuy ASR hip replacement lawsuits have been consolidated to the Northern District of Ohio. The lawsuits have been assigned to the Honorable David A. Katz for supervision during the early stages of the litigation. Judge Katz is based in Toledo, Ohio, and he will be responsible for overseeing discovery efforts and pretrial motions made by DePuy ASR hip implant litigants.
With over 150 federal lawsuits pending against DePuy, it was necessary to consolidate the DePuy ASR hip replacement pretrial actions to just one judicial district in the interests of simplicity and judicial economy. According to the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, these numerous federal lawsuits all contain common issues of fact and law. Therefore, the pretrial actions only need to be considered in one consolidated court proceeding.
Once the pretrial phases of these lawsuits are completed, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will transfer the actions back to the federal court districts they originated from for further litigation in the plaintiffs’ respective home districts.
The consolidation of DePuy hip implant pretrial litigation will streamline the exchange of evidence between the multiple plaintiffs and DePuy. Because some commentators predict that thousands of plaintiffs may end up filing suits against DePuy for complications experienced as a result of receiving a defective DePuy ASR hip implant unit, it is critical that redundancies and duplications of evidence and motions are avoided in the earliest phases. Consolidation to the Northern District of Ohio should facilitate this goal.
DePuy, a division of Johnson & Johnson, announced a nationwide recall of its ASR hip implants in August 2010 after a significant number of patients were forced to endure revision surgery to correct complications suffered from defective ASR units, including metallosis and loss of mobility. As many as 12-13% of patients were adversely affected. Experts estimate that billions of dollars in damages are at stake. Consequently, complex litigation and negotiations are expected in order to justly compensate plaintiffs’ claims for the pain and suffering they’ve experienced. And because product liability litigation is only just beginning against DePuy, the recent consolidation action will set the foundation for future litigants and forthcoming litigation.
This blog will continue to keep you posted on legal developments surrounding the DePuy hip implant recall as they materialize.
In the meantime, if you feel you have been harmed by the DePuy hip implant recall, contact the Berniard Law Firm for a free initial consultation today. The pretrial consolidation described above does not foreclose new plaintiffs from filing a lawsuit against DePuy at this time. Indeed, the Berniard Law Firm is pleased to represent new DePuy litigants as they emerge.