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J&J settles first three defective hip implant lawsuits

In 2010, Johnson & Johnson recalled a hip implant device after it was deemed a defective product. Unfortunately, the damage was already done for thousands of Americans who underwent hip replacement surgery. Many of these victims ended up filing suit against J&J, charging that the company knew or should have known that the metal hip replacements could cause patients harm.

Last week, it was reported that the first settlements were reached between three plaintiffs and J&J for about $600,000. The exact details of the settlements were not disclosed, but sources familiar with the litigation said the company agreed to pay about $200,000 per plaintiff to resolve the lawsuits before they were scheduled to trial.

Still, there are about 8,000 more lawsuits pending against J&J regarding its DePuy ASR metal hip implant. Nearly 6,000 of the cases filed in federal court were conciliated and are now been overseen by a Toledo, Ohio, U.S. district court judge. Another roughly 2,000 cases are pending in state courts.

The plaintiffs in the cases say they suffered pain and many other side effects including immobilization, joint dislocations, infections and bone fractures after having the hip device implanted in their bodies. The plaintiffs charge that metal debris break off from the hips and cause tissue death around the joint. They say the metal particles also pose a danger in the bloodstream.

In 2010, J&J’s DePuy unit recalled 93,000 ASR hips worldwide after determining that 12 percent of the devices failed within five years. In January, the company claimed that it had spent about $800 million on the recall over the past two years, but would not say how much it was likely to spend on product liability settlements.

A business professor at the University of Michigan who follows the pharmaceutical industry guessed J&J could spend as much as $2 billion to resolve all litigation. He said J&J can probably expect to pay between $200,000 to $500,000 per case, so the initial three cases appeared to have settled on the low end.

Source:, “Johnson & Johnson to pay $600k to settle suits over recalled hip implants,” Aug. 21, 2012