It came as no surprise today that Johnson & Johnson has announced a $2.5 billion settlement to end thousands of lawsuits brought by patients who allege that the company’s DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip implants are defective.
The news was first reported last week, "J&J Reported To Reach $4 Billion Settlement," by Bloomsberg and other media outlets, with the settlement thought to be worth around $4 billion. Today, Johnson & Johnson – the company behind the DePuy Orthopaedics Inc subsidiary – officially announced the details of the agreement that will put an end to some 10,000 lawsuits filed in federal and state courts.
DePuy ASR Metal-on-Metal Settlement Details:
- Patients who needed surgery to have their hip implants removed will qualify for a base award capped at $250,000. Some patients may receive less than the $250,000 base award because of certain health-related factors such as BMI and tobacco use.
- Patients who needed multiple revision surgeries or have experienced otherwise extraordinary circumstances may qualify for an additional award.
- The settlement does not cover plaintiffs who had their hip implants replaced or removed after August 31, 2013. The settlement also doesn’t cover those who have not had their implants removed; however, reports suggest that a second round of settlements will address these patients’ claims.
- J&J will pay additional costs for “most health care insurance liens for medical costs that are directly associated with the revision surgery.”
- The settlement will be implemented only if 94% of those eligible to enroll do so before the cut-off date of April 1, 2014.
The agreement remains subject to court approval. It’s reported that $2 billion has been set aside by the company for base awards – with around 8000 patients expected to take part in claims – and $475 million earmarked for supplemental awards.
Following a bellwether trial in October, DePuy reached a settlement as part of coordinated litigation in California. Loren Kransky, the plaintiff in the case, alleged the company’s metal-on-metal implants could erode and weaken, leading to injury and product failure. The settlement saw more than $8 million awarded to the plaintiff after a jury found that DePuy’s ASR was defectively designed. He was also awarded more than $330,000 for medical expenses, although he received no punitive damages after the jury ruled that the company’s negligence did not cause the injury.
The bellwether trials for the multidistrict litigation were originally scheduled to begin in September, before a delay was announced following problems with discovery.
Today’s news does not prevent future lawsuits being brought against the company by those who have been fitted with a DePuy ASR device.