New DePuy ASR XL Acetabular Hip Replacement Lawsuit Filed by New York Woman

A New York woman is the latest recipient of DePuy Orthopaedic’s recalled ASR XL Acetabular Hip Replacement System to file a DePuy lawsuit because of her alleged injuries. Annie O’Neil claims that shortly after receiving a <"">DePuy hip replacement in 2009, the implant detached from the acetabulum, causing her severe pain and inhibiting her ability to walk.

In August, DePuy issued a worldwide recall of the ASR XL Acetabular System, a hip socket used in traditional hip replacement, and the ASR Hip Resurfacing System, a partial hip replacement that involves placing a metal cap on the ball of the femur. Only the ASR XL Acetabular System was approved for use in the US. The DePuy recall was issued after data from the National Joint Registry of England and Wales showed that 1 out of every 8 patients (12%-13%) who had received the recalled devices had to undergo revision surgery within five years of receiving it. A hip implant should last for 15 years or so.

DePuy was already phasing out the ASR hip implant system when it finally acknowledged in March 2010 that the device was prone to early failure. By that time, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) had received hundreds of reports describing premature failure of the DePuy ASR hip implant system. Still, it would be months before the DePuy ASR hip implant system was finally recalled.

O’Neil’s, who is from Gadiner, New York, filed her lawsuit in San Francisco, California. The complaint accuses DePuy of designing, manufacturing, and selling a defective hip implant. O’Neil received her ASR XL hip replacement in May 2009. By November 2009, clunking noises started to emanate her left hip. As time passed, the clunking proved so disconcerting, and Ms. O’Neill’s hip so painful, that a revision surgery was necessary, which was performed on July 26, 2010, the lawsuit says.

“I went from an active, flexible, and tireless outdoor hiker, rock climber and nature enthusiast to a cautious, careful walker using hiking sticks to negotiate any surface or grade,” O’Neil said in statement released by her attorney. “I could no longer do the activities that gave me so much pleasure. To get back to the condition that allowed these activities to take place now takes effort and persistence.”

A number of similar lawsuits have been filed against DePuy Orthopaedics in federal courts around the country. The lawsuits allege that DePuy, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, failed to adequately test the metal hip implant and failed to immediately issue a recall when it became apparent that users were experiencing a higher-than-expected failure rate.

In September, plaintiffs’ attorneys motioned the US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to consolidate all such federal cases in a multidistrict litigation before Judge Susan D. Wigenton. DePuy, however, wants the claims heard either in federal court in the Northern District of Indiana at South Bend or the Northern District of Ohio at Toledo; both of which are near its Warsaw, Indiana, headquarters. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has scheduled oral arguments on a motion to centralize all federal DePuy ASR recall lawsuits for November 18 in Durham, North Carolina.

A multidistrict litigation would allow all DePuy ASR hip implant lawsuits to be coordinated under one judge for pretrial litigation to avoid duplicative discovery, inconsistent rulings and to conserve the resources of the parties, witnesses and the court. When lawsuits are consolidated as a multidistrict litigation, each retains its own identity. If the MDL process does not resolve the cases, they are transferred back to the court where they originated for trial.

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