Several years ago a medical device recall was issued that has grown into the largest and costliest such recall in history. In 2010, after months (perhaps even years) of pressure from safety groups, two versions of a hip implant system were recalled by a company called DePuy Orthopaedics. DePuy is owned by the largest medical products company in the world, Johnson & Johnson.
As we frequently discussed in the several years since the recall, various problems were identified with the metal-on-metal design of the systems. Metallic particles were suspected of flaking away and entering patient bloodstreams. All told. thousands of patients who received these products ultimately had them “fail.” Many of those patients required revision surgery and countless individuals suffered permanent damage as a result of defective devices.
Eventually, thousands of involved patients filed suit against the responsible company seeking accountability and redress for their losses. Over 11,000 such cases have since been filed.
Not unexpectedly with large and complex litigation like this, the cases have taken years to work out. However, a few of the matters have already gone to trial. In some of those cases juries have awarded a significant amount of money to plaintiffs as a result of their injury.
Recently, several news outlets reported on new developments in the hip recall case which may finally signal an end to the prolonged legal battles.
Potential $3 Billion Settlement
As discussed in a Market Watch report from late last month, some insiders leaked a report that Johnson & Johnson was considering a multi-billion settlement to resolve the thousands of cases pending against it as a result of the DePuy hip recall. Specifically, the report suggests that the company was close to offering $3 billion in settlement funds, which would work out to around $300,000 per patient.
However, even then, that is not to say that all cases will end with that figure being paid to patients. A more likely outcome is that a few variables will be agreed upon, with the exact level of compensation adjusted based on the details of each case, including the severity of the injuries, scope of extra medical care needed, age of the patient, and so forth.
Also,it is unclear how close the two sides are to actually reaching a settlement. There has been no confirmation of the $3 billion potential total. Instead, the pending cases are still moving forward with more trials set soon.
Regardless of what happens, it is important for all local families to remember that they do not have to accept any large multidistrict or class action settlement that they do not deem fair. Each individual patient who filed a lawsuit following the DePuy hip recall will be able to reject the settlement amount and continue toward a trial and ultimate jury decision. At all times your attorney will be able to provide specific advice and perspective to explain a likely outcome in a civil trial and the fairness of any proposed settlement.
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