DePuy Faces Product Liability Lawsuits Following Hip Replacement Recall

Numerous DePuy hip replacement lawsuits were filed by victims of the recall mainly due to the company’s ability to avoid necessary clinical testing of its hip implants because of the 510(k) approval process loophole. Subsequently, the company did even more harm by delaying the recall as long as possible instead of acting in an appropriate and timely manner at the first sign of trouble. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had started receiving about 300 complaints as early as 2008, with a report from the Australian National Joint Replacement Registry also showing that the same implants failing within five years of the original surgery in 12 to 13 percent of cases. Victims of the DePuy hip replacement recall can now start to question what legal options are available for them.

The two defective DePuy implants currently involved in the recall are the ASR XL Acetabular System and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System. Failure of these two hip replacement systems is due to a phenomenon identified as “edge-loading”. This is a result from the friction between the metal components causing release of chromium and cobalt particles to be released and affected the immediate surrounding tissue. Consequently, the implant may weaken, fracture, and result in failure. Metallic particles in the bloodstream also cause a condition called “metallosis”, inciting an allergic, inflammatory reaction which may affect the cardiovascular system as well as cause neurological damage.

A product liability lawsuit may be filed if the plaintiff can demonstrate that the defendant’s product caused the plaintiff damage through (a) a defect in the design, (b) a manufacturing defect, or (c) failure to warn consumers of latent dangers the product causes. With regards to design defect, the plaintiff must show that DePuy utilized design methods that were significantly more dangerous than previous designs, and also that they did not properly test the product. With regards to product disclosure, it must be proven that DePuy was aware of the defects in the hip implant, but failed to initiate a recall in an appropriate and timely manner. These stipulations are applicable to the DePuy hip replacements since they present a design defect in the hip replacements and the fact that the company failed to warn consumers about these defects.

Patients believing that they may have a products liability lawsuit against DePuy should seek experienced legal counsel as they may be entitled to punitive damages. Information about ongoing litigation can be found on the DePuy hip recall website.

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