A woman who claims she was seriously injured by a recalled DePuy hip replacement has been granted a new trial, after an Illinois state court judge found that testimony by one of her expert witnesses was wrongly excluded.
Carol Strum had been implanted with DePuy Orthopaedics’ ASR XL hip replacement system in 2008, only to have it replaced three years later. Strum alleged that the ASR’s defective metal-on-metal design caused the artificial hip to shed large amounts of metal debris, resulting in its premature failure.
DePuy announced a hip replacement recall for ASR implants in August 2010, after data from a registry in the United Kingdom indicated the devices were associated with an unacceptable rate of early failure.
Thousands of people in the U.S. have since filed hip replacement lawsuits over complications allegedly associated with ASR metal-on-metal hip implants. In November 2013, DePuy Orthopaedics announced a $2.5 billion hip replacement settlement to resolve clams stemming from the ASR recall.
Strum’s case went to trial in 2013, with a jury finding for DePuy Orthopaedics and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson.
Strum was granted a new trial on September 19th, after Cook County Circuit Judge Deborah Mary Dooling found that the decision barring the testimony of a joint replacement researcher caused enough prejudice to deny Strum a new trial.
“The court in its pretrial ruling defined the relevant scientific community as the metrology and tribology scientists; however, that ruling was incorrect because that community designation was too restrictive,” Dooling wrote “Here, the relevant scientific community includes all the scientists, experts, practitioners and surgeons in both the scientific and medical field associated with the implant industry.”
Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Orthopaedics are also facing thousands of lawsuits over a metal-on-metal version of the Pinnacle hip implant system that utilizes the metal-on-metal liner.
The majority of these cases are pending in a multidistrict litigation now underway in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas. Among other things, plaintiffs involved in this litigation claim that the all-metal Pinnacle suffers from the same design defects that resulted in the ASR hip recall, and question why DePuy and Johnson & Johnson have not issued a similar recall for the Pinnacle device.
In May 2013, DePuy Orthopaedics did announce that it would phase out metal-on-metal hip implants, including the device named in Pinnacle hip replacement lawsuits. In doing so, the company cited slowing sales, as well as the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s changing regulatory stance on metal-on-metal hip implants.
The fourth federal bellwether trial of a DePuy Pinnacle hip lawsuit is currently underway in the Northern District of Texas, and involves six consolidated cases filed on behalf of five New York residents.
The litigation’s third trial ended in December 2016, when six Pinnacle recipients were awarded more than $1 billion. That judgment was later reduced to $543 million in order to comply with Texas law governing punitive damages.
In March 2016, five plaintiffs were awarded a total of $500 million at the conclusion of the second DePuy Pinnacle trial. However, the judge overseeing the case ultimately reduced that award to $151 million.
The litigation’s first trial concluded in October 2014, with a verdict for DePuy and Johnson & Johnson.