FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.
- Aug. 23, 2013
-- Johnson & Johnson seeks to resolve nearly 12,000 implant lawsuits in the U.S. and is considering paying more than $300,000 per case. This would represent one of the largest mass tort settlements in U.S. history, exceeding $3billion should most plaintiffs accept the settlement terms. The company is hoping to resolve the cases by early next year according to persons familiar with the negotiations and Bloomberg News. J&J’s DePuy unit recalled more than 37,000 units in the U.S. after a significant number failed within the first five years. This failure rate is climbing along with suits by patients claiming injury from the cobalt and chromium debris for pain, metal poisoning and replacement surgeries.
Although counsel from both sides claim the reports of settlement resolution are premature, J&J has previously offered $200,000 per claim to resolve the DePuy ASR hip implants. There are seven upcoming trials, which will assist lawyers for both sides to frame questions over liability and damages. The first case is scheduled to begin on September 9 in federal court in Cleveland. U.S. District Judge David Katz is presiding over this case as well as overseeing about 8,000 federal cases consolidated before him for the pre-trial collection of evidence. Another 2,000 cases are pending in California before Judge Richard Kramer in San Francisco. Five other trials are scheduled in state courts around the country between October and January.
With negotiations ongoing, plaintiffs’ counsel and J&J have agreed on a broad outline of the potential global settlement. The settlement agreement would compensate plaintiffs based on such factors age, extent of injuries and subsequent surgeries. J&J’s plan is to propose a grid to settle each claim, which can be adjusted up or down based on five or six variables. There are however, several obstacles to a settlement, which still must be overcome, including the number of years J&J would be required to pay out claims, whether the settlements would include Medicare reimbursement and how to handle extraordinary injury claims.
J&J lost the first trial concerning the DePuy ASR hip implant resulting in an $8.3 million verdict, which it is appealing. Just six weeks later, a jury ruled in favor of DePuy rejecting a defective design claim by an Illinois nurse. The settlement should be fascinating due to the complexities of the injuries and the amount of money involved and may well set the stage for future implant resolutions. Ennis & Ennis, P.A. continues to offer free, nationwide, confidential consultations to anyone who received any metal-on-metal hip device including the DePuy Pinnacle, DePuy ASR, Stryker Rejuvenate, ABGII and Accolade, Wright Conserve and Profemur and Biomet M2A Magnum by calling toll free 1-800-856-6405 or by going to www.ennislaw.com and completing an online case evaluation form.