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Statutes of Limitations Could Jeopardize Some DePuy ASR Hip Implant Claims

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A statute of limitation could put some DePuy ASR hip implant claims in jeopardy, a potential relief to beleaguered Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, DePuy Orthopaedics.

If states and judges intend on upholding a two-year statute of limitation on filed claims, some patients may find themselves out of time to file lawsuits against DePuy over its ASR hip implants, said Mass Device. The recall’s two-year anniversary just passed this month.

No judges ordered a halt, said Mass Device, and rules do vary state-to-state; however, plaintiffs’ attorneys are warning that DePuy might argue for the two-year statute, which would deny any future claims. At least one attorney did point out that the statute is not only dependant upon the state in which the surgery occurred, the circumstances surrounding the patient’s injury also play a part.

NewsInferno has explained that DePuy is the maker of both the ASR and is other controversial, metal-on-metal Pinnacle implant; both have been blamed for thousands of injuries. The ASR was recalled in August 2010 over a significantly high early failure rate and DePuy is facing massive legal problems over alleged defects in its metal-on-metal implant line and related components. In fact, thousands of patients have suffered what NewsInferno described as catastrophic problems related to the DePuy implants.

The ASR failure rate is estimated to be at least 13 percent within the first five years of implantation and was touted to younger recipients who would not have typically been candidates for device implantation due to the need for more than one such surgery in their lifetimes, noted NewsInferno. Sadly, many ASR recipients have had to undergo replacement surgery over the high failure rate and the device shedding metal fragments into patients’ bodies, which can lead to toxic accumulation of cobalt and chromium, both dangerous metals. Tens of thousands of patients are potentially impacted.

DePuy is also being blamed for pushing the metal-on-metal implants through its 501(k) fast-tracking process in which these metal-on-metal hip implants were presented as significantly similar to its custom-made medical devices.
With more than 96,000 DePuy hip implant recipients worldwide, it’s not surprising that lawsuits are also being filed globally. In the United States, where approximately 36,000 patients were implanted with the faulty devices, 6,000 lawsuits have been filed, noted Mass Device. Most of these cases are pending in a consolidated action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio under Judge David Katz. More than 1,100 have been joined in a multi-district litigation, consolidated in Texas under Judge James Kinkeade. Also, hundreds of Australian patients joined a class action lawsuit that Mass Device said may exceed $200 million in damages.

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