Michael A. Colbach
Personal injury lawyers often handle product liability cases. Product liability and dangerous or defective products are other ways that these types of law cases are referred to. In recent years, the Toyota Prius has been the subject of many product reliability cases. Consumer products are often recalled, from pharmaceuticals like Fen-Phen to child car seats, bicycle parts, and hip and knee replacement orthopedics cars like the recent Prius lawsuits, Ford van rollover cases, or the infamous Pinto; the list goes on and on. Now, the Depuy hip replacement recalled ASR implant and the not yet recalled Depuy Pinnacle implant have been referred to as,"the biggest disaster in the history of orthopedics." [Dr. Thomas Joyce, a biomedical engineering professor at Newcastle University (United Kingdom)]s
The number of hip-joint lawsuits against J&J pales beside the tens of thousands filed against Merck & Co. over the painkiller Vioxx, withdrawn from the market in 2004, and the myriad suits filed over the years against asbestos makers. But the litigation could expose the New Brunswick, N.J., health-care company to $1 billion-plus in potential liability and other costs, according to a Wells Fargo analyst.
A spokeswoman for DePuy declined to comment on the liability issue, except to say that J&J boosted its reserves for product-liability costs, for products including the recalled hip joints, by $570 million last year. In addition, J&J, which had 2010 sales of $61.6 billion, has put aside about $280 million to cover surgeries and other medical care for patients with those joints. [..]
The outcome of the ASR lawsuits may hinge on when DePuy learned the devices were faulty. A suit Mr. Taschner filed on behalf of hip-replacement patient Maurice Brigham accuses DePuy and J&J of knowing two years before the recall that the devices failed "early in a high percentage of patients."
Recently, the USA FDA approved the Depuy Pinnacle hip implant despite a growing number of lawsuits and litigation over it, even though it has not been recalled, "New DePuy hip implant gets FDA approval amid lawsuit over old one"
Amid lawsuits concerning its Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics won U.S. Food & Drug Administration clearance for its next-generation Pinnacle ceramic-on-metal hip implant.
Patients who received DePuy Pinnacle implants have reported a variety of symptoms, including, pain, popping or grinding in the hip joint, elevated levels of Cobalt and Chromium in their blood, cysts filled with fluid under the skin, soft tissue necrosis, loosening of the hip implant, dislocation of the hip implant infection, bone fracture, and the need for revision surgery. People who received the Depuy ASR hip implant are suggested to have more followups with their doctor to ensure the hip replacement remains in good health, and the FDA has made similar suggestions for the Depuy Pinnacle hip replacement.
Many patients have reported the growth of cyst-like formations under the surface of the skin. When biopsied by medical professionals, these cysts have been found to contain high levels of metal ions. In addition, the surrounding tissue is often gray or black instead of a healthy pink color.
Britain's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has warned that metal-on-metal hip implants can produce metal shavings. This metal debris forms when the metal socket and the metal ball of the hip implant come into contact. The agency says this metal debris can kill soft tissue in the body and adversely impact the effects of a hip revision surgery.
Moreover, Britain's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has set forth specific recommendations for those patients who have had metal-on-metal hip implants.
If you have received either of the recalled DePuy hip implant systems, you may be asked to contact DePuy to establish a claim. You are not required to file a claim with DePuy to pursue your legal rights. In addition, you should not sign any documents purporting to release DePuy from its legal responsibilities.
In some cases, DePuy is offering to pay some portion of a revision surgery expense. However, DePuy will not pay medical expenses in all cases. In addition, the amount covered by DePuy is limited to what DePuy independently determines is reasonable. DePuy will not compensate you for your lost wages, your pain and suffering or your future medical needs.
However, in stark contrast to the Depuy offer of only paying some portion of your revision expense, the law allows you to seek the total billed amount of your medical treatment, the full amount of your lost wages, the total value of your future medical needs, as well as pain and suffering damages.
If you have been told that you require revision surgery, contact The Colbach Law Office today to protect your legal rights and talk to attorney Michael Colbach one on one about your situation. Consultations are free and there is no obligation.
At The Colbach Law Office, we have protocols in place to protect your legal rights during your revision surgery. We will ensure that DePuy does not deprive you of your right to maintain possession of valuable evidence in your case. We will fight DePuy for you, always putting your interests first.