DePuy Hip Trial Postponed, Settlement Rumored
Walter Eisner • Mon, September 9th, 2013
The first federal DePuy ASR metal-on-metal hip trial that was supposed to start on September 9, 2013, has been postponed to September 24, 2013. The case is Ann McCracken vs. DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., et al.
On September 6, U.S. Federal District Judge David Katz ordered the postponement after conferring with the parties. He determined that because of the delayed designation of the trial, which occurred in July 2013, additional discovery and consideration of additional legal matters requires a two week continuation.
The trial, originally scheduled to begin in July 2013, was first adjourned to September 9, according to court documents (In re: DePuy Orthopaedics Inc., ASR Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation; MDL-2197, U.S District Court for the Northern District of Ohio).
There have been two prior trials in state courts. One in California this spring resulted in an $8 million award for the injured hip patient and a verdict for zero this summer in Chicago. DePuy has not paid the $8 million award and is appealing to a higher court to try to reverse that judgment.
The federal trial is the first of eleven thousand federal lawsuits involving the ASR metal hip implant. This first case is designated as a “bellwether” case by the court to test the value of these cases. “Obviously, DePuy cannot have eleven thousand jury trials to determine the payment on these cases. There will have to be some kind of settlement of most of them. Since DePuy does not want to pay what the lawyers for the injured hip patients think DePuy should pay the judge has scheduled some trials to ‘test the waters’,” wrote Joseph Saunders, a personal injury lawyer from Florida on his blog.
The cases selected for trial were selected as average cases to be representative of most of the cases in the litigation so that the jury verdicts will be helpful in trying to value the rest of the cases.
“If this first federal ASR trial is going to take place, then it is in everyone’s best interest that the parties be fully prepared to present their proofs, in which case the additional preparation time is a good thing,” said Rochelle Rottenstein, an attorney representing some of the plaintiffs. “There is also the possibility that the parties will settle the matter out of court in the two weeks. We’ve heard that Johnson & Johnson wants to settle the DePuy ASR cases, and if that’s true, then it almost certainly will want to settle them all before even one goes to trial. If the first plaintiff wins, it could make it more difficult—or more expensive, anyway—for J&J to settle the pending cases.”
A rumored $3 billion dollar settlement has been reported by Bloomberg.