Two weeks before a trial was set to begin, Johnson & Johnson settled a bellwether case in coordinated litigation in California. The case involved injuries allegedly caused by the company’s ASR metal-on-metal hip implants. The terms of the settlement agreement are confidential.
The trial had been scheduled to begin on Oct. 15. The next bellwether trial is scheduled for early 2014 in Los Angeles. Johnson & Johnson and subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. face thousands of lawsuits at the federal and state level regarding the ASR implants. In March, a Los Angeles jury ordered DePuy to pay $8.3 million in damages to a retired prison guard who said he was injured by the device, the first such trial against the orthopedic company. A month later, an Illinois jury sided with DePuy in an ASR case, finding against a registered nurse implanted with the device in 2008.
Robert Ottoman, the Plaintiff in the case that settled, underwent a total hip replacement using an ASR device in August 2008. It was alleged that the implant caused him severe pain and made it more difficult for him to walk. He had revisionary surgery in November 2011, allegedly as a result of the device’s failure.
Johnson & Johnson and DePuy knew that the ASR devices were failing at a high rate for the five-plus years they were on the market, including prior to Ottman’s initial surgery. Johnson & Johnson recalled the implants in August 2010. The first bellwether trial in the multidistrict litigation over the device was supposed to begin in September, but an Ohio federal judge continued it as a result of unresolved discovery issues. The plaintiff is represented by Brian Panish and Peter Kaufman of Panish Shea & Boyle, a firm located in Los Angeles.
The case is Ottman v. Johnson & Johnson in the Superior Court of California, San Francisco County. The coordinated litigation is DePuy ASR Hip System Cases in the Superior Court of California, San Francisco County.
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